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The popular cave exhibit is finally reopening at the Cincinnati Museum Center

boy in headlamp touches a cave wall
Cincinnati Museum Center
The Cave reopens Sept. 2.

The Cincinnati Museum Center is finally reopening a popular exhibit. The Cave in the Natural History Museum has been closed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

"It's a very close quarters space, it's hard to clean because of the materials of the walls, so out of abundance of caution, we kept it closed," says Cody Hefner, vice president of marketing and communications. "As we prepared to reopen, we noticed that there were some aspects of it that needed to be repaired. There were some plumbing updates that we had to do on the back end of things. We've been working on those over the past month or two and are now ready to reopen it for people to come through to explore, to re-familiarize themselves with all the twists and turns and nooks and crannies."

Hefner says museum staff will still monitor numbers in the cave to keep traffic flow moving since it can be a tight enclosed space.

It officially reopens Friday, Sept. 2.

The cave exhibit first opened in 1967 at the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History on Gilbert Ave. It's reportedly modeled from Mammoth Cave and other caves found in the Tri-State region. It covers two levels with two trails and 500 feet of caverns.

The Museum Center says the cave exhibit repeatedly ranks as a favorite among visitors, and staff have fielded a lot of questions during the pandemic closure.

Hefner says this type of immersive exhibit resonates with people.

"This is as close as some people will get — or have gotten — to having that caving experience," he says. "It sticks with people. It feels like you are truly in these tight passageways; that you're walking among stalactites and stalagmites. It feels like you're there."

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.