Where what’s at, you may ask? All the fun of course! The Polar Caves in NH were a lot cooler (pun intended!) than I’d expected. I know, I’ve been talking about a whole lot of rocks lately and a whole lot less about writing. My reasoning: It’s summer. People are taking more trips on the weekends, including myself. Why not review them?
After my disappointment visiting America’s Stonehenge, I went into my trip to the Polar Caves with a bit hesitation. I was convinced that I’d walk out saying, “Man, that was a waste of a day. That was just a pile of more rocks.”
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Even if you aren’t interested in caves, they have a fantastic gift shop filled with goodies for everyone. If that’s not enough, there is even a small zoo area. This may have been my favorite part, not to pull attention away from the caves, but I just adore animals.
The first exhibit you walk past (at least I walked past since I’m a bit old for it) is a mining exhibition, which is designed moreso for children. You can pick up clumps of rocks at the gift shop and take them to this exhibition to sift through and find gems and nifty rocks. Cute idea for the kids, but not so much us adults.
Then comes my favorite part! A small area is devoted to cages filled with goofy pheasants of various breeds. A variety of deer are caged up in a large pen with bars wide enough for tourists like myself to stick there hands in and feed them corn kernels. Here’s my buddy:
The fawn of the bunch! He was too skittish to eat from anyone’s hands though, but I couldn’t resist his adorable face. If you like nothing else, you’ll have fun feeding the deer, their tongues slobbering all over your hands. Their enthusiasm is enough to make you laugh.
Ducks waddle all around the ground area around the deer pen, even endangering themselves in the process. I found this unfortunate, coming across this funky duck pheasant type animal stepped on by a little boy. Granted, the boy didn’t do it intentionally, but I wanted to take the little guy into a safer area. He was hopping around the ground, which just seemed odd.
Pull yourself away from the animals for a moment and actually proceed along your path to the Kissing Bridge. Bring a loved one to get a photo of the two of you kissing on this cute covered bridge. If Valentine’s Day wasn’t in the middle of February, when the Polar Caves aren’t even open to the public, this would be perfect for a date. If you are going to stop on the Kissing Bridge and want a picture of you and your significant other kissing, I recommend asking someone else to take the photo. Trust me, we failed to get a good photo.
If you can tear yourself away from the Kissing Bridge, the next portion leads to the caves. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a fan of this section of the park. You walk through what I would call Rock Gardens. If I was into geology, it’d be a bit more entertaining. But looking at Granite upon Granite *yawn*. I only recommend checking out the largest glacial rock, which is something ridiculous like 50,000 tons or something. I stood beneath this rock thinking “If this fell down right now, I’d dissipate into dust.”
Proceed to the caves! There are 8 caves at the park, each with their unique shapes and sizes. I wouldn’t recommend making a trip to them in the rain though. It was a bright and clear day and I was slipping in the first cave. Of course, this could be due to the fact that there was ICE at the bottom of it.
I suppose that’s where they got the name “Polar Caves.” Temperatures vary greatly walking from cave to cave, and then inside of the caves. You’ll feel bursts of cold air, which are refreshing on a hot day like the day I went. The caves are all relatively short in length from entrance to exit. You never know if you’ll be ducking or squeezing into caves. They’re all of differing shapes. If Ice isn’t cool enough to entertain you, see if you can squeeze through Fat Man’s Misery.
I dare you to take the hard way as you make your way up and through the caves. What does this entail? 80 steps to the top of the park to a cave where Satan lives.
Ok, Satan doesn’t live there, but it’s one of the steepest caves out of the eight. I appreciate that the park is set up to lead you through the smaller caves to start, working your way up to larger and more intense caves. It keeps you moving forward with anticipation and excitement.
Needless to say, the caves were a blast to go through. I wouldn’t recommend them if you’re claustrophobic. If your claustrophobia is minor, the first few caves are fine, but the later ones may be a bit too intense for your phobia. The caves aren’t too intense for people who aren’t used to extreme circumstances, like myself. It’s an average-joe type adventure with just enough edge to make it exciting.
Once you’ve gone through the caves, the rest isn’t all that entertaining. You can stop by the Sugar House and catch up on Maple Syrup history at the end of your trip. Or you can just stop in to shop. There aren’t as many gifts in the Sugar House compared to the gift shop, but it’s still a cute place.
Overall, I’d give the Polar Caves a 4.5 out of 5. I deducted a half simply for the disappointing lead up to the caves (i.e. the Rock Garden). If you’re looking for a cheap ($15 admission), active and different trip for the weekend, make a trip to Rumney, NH to visit the Polar Caves. Got kids? There are additional activities for them aside from what I mentioned.