Penn’s Cave – Travel Thursday

This post is part of our summer Travel Thursday series.

Last summer while we were visiting my in-laws we took a day trip to Penn’s Cave. Penn’s Cave is a limestone cavern with a tour entirely by boat.

Penn’s Cave Boat Tour

The Penn’s Cave Boat Tour is the only way to see the cavern, so you should definitely plan on taking the boat tour. It takes about 45-50 minutes. The tour boat seats about 20 people, so you will be with other groups.

Penn's Cave Boat Tour- Descending Steps to the Tour

During the boat tour, portions of the cavern will be illuminated to see fun stalactite and stalagmite formations. 


On the boat tour, you will also hear the legend of the Seneca maiden Nita-nee and her French trapper lover. The boat tour also includes a trip on Lake Nitanee. This legend is the origin of Penn State’s mascot, the Nittany Lion.

Penns Cave Boat Tour- Lake Nitanee

Penn’s Cave Farm-Nature-Wildlife Tour

The Penn’s Cave Farm-Nature-Wildlife Tour is an open-air bus that takes you through the property to see various farm and wildlife animals. Highlights of the trip are the black bear, wolves, and mountain lions.


Penn's Cave Farm-Nature-Wildlife Tour - Bison

Other Attractions at Penn’s Cave

The Boat Tour and the Wildlife Tour are the two main attractions at Penn’s Cave. They also offer a couple of other options that we did not participate in.

Two fun activities for families are Gemstone Panning and the Miner’s Maze. My daughter has panned for gemstones before. We considered the Miner’s Maze, but we have done corn mazes which are similar 

The Cave Rock Mountain Tour is a guided two hour off-road adventure. The tour is given in Jeeps driven by trail guides and have a minimum age of 8. The tour is also not recommended for anyone who has had recent surgery or is pregnant. Tours are limited and need to be reserved in advance.

Tips to Enjoy Your Visit

  • The boat tour is not handicapped accessible. To reach the boat tour you need to walk down a steep path followed by 48 steps. 
  • Bring a sweatshirt/jacket in summer. The cavern is 52 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.
  • The Wildlife Tour is on an open-air bus. Dress for the weather.
  • Limited food options are available at the Cave Cafe with their counter service menu.

Visiting Penn’s Cave


Penn’s Cave is near State College (home of Penn State). They are just 18 miles from State College and only 30 minutes from I-80. They would be a great add-on if you are visiting Penn State or even if you are looking for a stop along I-80.


Combo prices are available that include multiple attractions, or each attraction can be purchased individually. Be sure to check online for the full updated, pricing list.

  • Super Combo – Boat Tour, Farm-Nature-Wildlife, and Miners Maze
    • $35.99 Adult
    • $19.99 Child age 2-12
  • Regular Combo – Boat Tour, Farm-Nature-Wildlife
    • $31.99 Adult
    • $17.99 Child age 2-12
  • Boat Tour
    • $17.99 Adult
    • $9.99 Child age 2-12
  • Farm-Nature-Wildlife 
    • $21 Adult
    • $12.99 Child age 2-12
  • Miners Maze
    • $5.99 Adult
    • $2.99 Child age 2-12
  • Cave Rock Mountain Tour (Advance Registration only)
    • $89.99 Adult
    • $49.99 Child age 8-12 (no younger children permitted)

Children under 2 are free at all attractions except the Cave Rock Mountain Tour. Senior Citizens (age 65+ receive a $1 discount on all rates) except the Cave Rock Mountain Tour.


The hours of the Penn’s Cave attractions vary by the season and they are closed in January. During April-October, boat tours begin at 9a and end at 7p June through August and 5p in April/May and September/October. They are only open on weekends in December and February. The Wildlife tour only runs from April through November with varying frequency during the day based on predicted crowd levels.

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One comment

  • Avatar Jessica

    We just went there in May and really enjoyed it. My kids loved the boat ride. My pictures look almost identical to yours ?

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