Explore Columbus: Venture into the Olentangy Indian Caverns
School’s out, but education is a year-long endeavor at the Olentangy Indian Caverns.
New programs are to debut in the caverns within the next two years, starting this summer, seeking to both entertain and enlighten visitors.
As the caverns’ new manager since March, Dick Brulotte’s new undertaking has him embarking on a two-year plan to improve the caves and to gain traction in this recreational destination.
“We’re doing a lot of new things and I’m trying a lot of new things,” Brulotte said. “So far, attendance is up.”
A familiar childhood destination for most people in central Ohio, Brulotte aims to provide more opportunities to people of different interests by running special promotions through the caverns’ Facebook page and working with third parties to coordinate activities. These upcoming activities include a 3 to 4-hour nature photography session, a class conducted by a watercolor painter who specializes in landscapes, and a “haunted woods” segment with the Columbus Children’s Theatre featuring Edgar Allan Poe as lead ghost.
“I like to collaborate with other groups, and if I can do that, and bring somebody else in, it not only allows me to get somebody new in, but that somebody new has more contacts and they can bring along other people,” Brulotte said. “So, it’s bringing in twice as big of an audience.”
These projected ideas are in addition to the nature trails, mini Native American museum, miniature golf, gem mining and cave tours already available at the caverns. The Delaware location also hosts birthday parties and school tours that cater mostly to children.
While the caverns own the 42-acre land in which it stands, much of the space has yet to be explored due to budget restrictions. However, with the continuous changes Brulotte has set out to make within the already-tapped area, he asserts that the caverns have seen an increase in attendance.
“Right now, we’re in the high season of having all the schools come,” Brulotte said. “Sometimes we have as many as 300 kids per day that come through here and it’s a wide variety of stuff that they do.”
To Brulotte, a visit to the caverns is an opportunity for the children to learn and see for themselves the things they may or may not have been taught in school, including local history, cavern formations, and geological compositions.
Thought to be used by the Wyandotte Indians until the early 1800s, the caverns opened to the general public on July 4, 1935. Today, composed of three levels, visitors descend the 58 steps from the main entrance to get to the general cave area. The rooms are typically 50 to 54 degrees all year round, with only one room to strangely average at 46 degrees, according to Brulotte.
Cavern tours can be self-guided or led by a cavern representative.
The Olentangy Indian Caverns is open 7 days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1779 Home Rd.
For more information, visit www.olentangyindiancaverns.com.
All photos by Nen Lin Soo.
Columbus Underground is kicking off the summer with Explore Columbus Week! From June 2nd to June 8th, we’ll be sharing unique places to visit and experiences to have all throughout the region, sponsored by our friends at the Gallerie Bar & Bistro. Gallerie Bar & Bistro proudly embraces Ohio’s rich agricultural heritage and remarkable craftsmanship by featuring items from local farmers and artisans who maintain sustainable practices in the creation their products. Starting July 10, on the second Thursday of each month we are offering a monthly Supper Club for our city to experience creative coursed dinners from the kitchen of Chef Bill Glover and his team matched with unique pairings of wine, spirits, and beer. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit www.galleriebarandbistro.com.