Spelunking is a fancy word for exploring caves, and what is considered one of the top spots in the state of Texas to do a little underground exploration is located 45 miles south of Killeen in the historic city of Georgetown.
Inner Space Cavern is a unique and family-friendly place for a cool — pun intended — summertime weekend getaway. Several guided tours are available to choose from, including the Adventure Tour, which follows a paved and lighted trail through the largest rooms and formations. Guides discuss the history and discovery of the cavern during the roughly one-hour tour.
Reservations are not required, and tours start every 20 to 30 minutes on a first-come, first-served basis. Officials recommend checking the daily calendar at innerspacecavern.com/tours for availability.
Also offered are the Hidden Passages tour and the Wild Cave tour, which are more physically demanding trips and include a number of safety restrictions. Visit the website or call 512-931-2283 for details and tour admission prices.
The cavern was discovered by a Texas Highway Department core drilling team during construction of Interstate 35 in 1963. Crews were taking six-inch core soil samples to test whether the ground was stable enough to support a large highway overpass. As they dug through the limestone, the drill bit suddenly dropped 26 feet. Initially explored by members of the Texas Speleological Society, the discovery was opened to the public three years later. Since then, hundreds of thousands have visited what is billed as “one of the best preserved caves in Texas.”
Along with the cave, there is also a playground, mining area, gift shop and displays of fossils that were found within the cave. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended, and cameras are allowed, but any kind of food, drink, candy, gum, backpacks, wheelchairs, strollers or tripods are not allowed.
Inner Space Caverns is located at 4200 S. I-35 Frontage Road in Georgetown. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 am. To 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Closer to home, a number of popular warm-weather attractions include:
Summer Fun Water Park, 1410 Waco Road in Belton, features multiple water slides, a lazy river, large swimming pool, and pavilions for parties. The park is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Admission prices: adults, $16; children three to 12 years old, $13; non-swimmers, $7; and seniors, free. The park offers discounted rates for admission after 3 p.m., and Sunday admission is $13 for all ages. Summer Fun also features teen and adult nights throughout the summer. Go to summerfunwaterpark.com for more information.
The Killeen Family Aquatics Center, 1800 E. Stan Schlueter Loop, includes a 10,360 square foot multi-use pool, a lap pool, bathhouse, three water slides, kid’s play area, shaded rest areas and more. Day passes range from $5 to $8 based upon age, with kids 3 years and under always free. The center is open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 6:30 p.m.
Hancock Springs Free Flow Pool is one of the last free-flowing spring-fed pools in Texas with water staying at a cool 72 degrees no matter how hot it gets outside. The spring is at Hancock Park, Highway 281 South in Lampasas. Adult admission fee is $3.50 per day and seniors and children are $2.50. The pool is open Thursday-Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m.
Belton Lake Outdoor and Recreation Center, at the intersection of North Nolan Road and Cottage Road, has a number of activities for families to enjoy. Camping sites, picnic pavilions, horseback riding trails, hiking, mountain biking, as well as a man-made beach complete with a downhill water slide and more are available. Military patrons pay $3 per car; all others are $10 per vehicle. Visit hood.armymwr.com for more information.