The only thing traditional about this tour is its name.
A new era began for Howe Caverns on April 19, 2007 when the 220 shareholders of Howe Caverns, Inc. sold the company to two local men, Charles M. Wright and Emil J. Galasso. Both men vowed to invest several million dollars in improvements to Howe Caverns over the coming years.
Mr. Galasso is also the founder of the Cave House Museum of Mining & Geology on the site of the original Howe's Cave located on land adjacent to Howe Caverns. The vision for the future of these properties includes joining the present Howe Caverns to Lester Howe's original cave on the site of the museum so that visitors may see the natural wonder as they did in the 19th century.
The new owners continue to fulfill their vision for a renewed Howe Caverns to expand the tour beyond the current Lake of Venus. Eventually, this work will unite the entire cave system as it was found when Lester Howe discovered it in 1842. Walkways, lights and bridges will need to be installed. The 875 feet of cave destroyed by mining in the early 1900's will need to be recreated.
Since 2007, visitors can now view the Cave House Museum at various times during the year.
The Cave House Museum is a restoration project and is expected to take several years for completion.
Today, Howe Caverns is the largest show cave (those open to the public) in the Northeast, with about 160,000 visitors each year. It is the second most-visited natural attraction in New York State, with Niagara Falls taking the number one spot.
Since Howe Caverns re-opened to the public in 1929, it has been the scene of over 650 weddings - a tradition born when Lester Howe's daughter, Harriet Elgiva, married Hiram Shipman Dewey in an 1854 publicity stunt. There is a sense of pride and tradition as well-trained guides provide tours steeped in the lore of this land carved by water throughout millions of years.
While Howe Caverns marked its 80th anniversary of re-opening to the public throughout 2009, the year also brought with it plans for the future.
A new re-branding program was created by Smith & Jones of Albany for the Caverns that invites everyone to Go Underground! It was named one of the top 100 re-brands in the world by Rebrand 100 Global Awards. The new video of Howe Caverns, produced in conjunction with the 80th anniversary, captured an Award of Excellence in the 2009 Videographer Awards. The video, which features the reminiscences of former local employees, is available on DVD in the Howe Caverns Gift Shop.
Howe Caverns greeted television crews, including one from American Choppers. Orange County Choppers’ Teutul family created a cave-themed bike for Howe Caverns. Paul Teutul Sr., Paul Jr. and Michael visited the Caverns for the program that aired on the Learning Channel. The History Channel also filmed at Howe Caverns, with footage to be used in a special called, "The Real Face of Jesus?", which aired just before Easter in 2009.
One more television show featuring Howe Caverns included in an episode for Rachel Ray’s Vacation, which depicted the making of our homemade fudge in our Sweet Shop.
HOWE HIGH ADVENTURE ARRIVES
In 2011 - 2012 our new Howe High Adventure Park opened a four tower Zip Line, Sky Trail Ropes Course, a 26 ft climbing wall and air jumper. These new attractions are seasonal, May-Oct and offer guests the opportunity to stay longer and do more. In addition, a new 6000 sq ft Gemstone Mining building opened allowing year-round gemstone panning for semi-precious minerals. Adjacent to our Gemstone mining building, is a 250 seat three-season Pavilion that may be reserved for events.