Luray Caverns and The Great Stalacpipe Organ

2018-08-17 18:06:30

Luray Caverns in the Shenandoah ValleyLuray Caverns, in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, are the largest caverns ever discovered in the eastern United States. They're also home to the world’s largest musical instrument: The Great Stalacpipe Organ.

Luray Caverns have been amazing visitors with their stunning size and beauty since being discovered in 1878. It is tempting to wonder what it must have been like to stumble across those vast, cathedral-sized rooms and pillars of flowing stone.

Only you don't really have to wonder - you can come see them yourself.

Luray Caverns is open year 'round, with guided tours departing about once every twenty minutes. What will you see on the tour?

Enormous chambers, some with ceilings 10-stories high, studded with towering stone columns, shimmering draperies, and weird shapes. Crystal-clear subterranean pools and lakes whose reflective surfaces distort the true nature of their depths.

Even though the tour is along well-lit, paved walkways, you'll still feel like you're in another world!

Many of these natural wonders have names like Dream Lake, The Saracen's Tent, Fried Eggs, and Titania’s Veil. The most popular of them all, however, has to be The Great Stalacpipe Organ.

The Great Stalacpipe Organ

The Great Stalacpipe Organ in Luray CavernsWhat at first appears to be a long lost but otherwise ordinary organ in the caverns is, in fact, part of a gigantic lithophone. Instead of blowing through pipes to generate tones, lithophones tap on stone, in this case stalactites.

The Great Stalacpipe Organ is the world’s largest musical instrument, its hammers spread throughout the cavern. When this keyboard is played, the entire subterranean landscape is a musical instrument.

Leland Sprinkle, a mathematician and scientist, conceived of and built the instrument in 1954. It took him over three years and some 3.5 acres to locate and prepare all the formations necessary for a precise musical scale. Due to the resonant nature of the chambers, however, every note can be clearly heard anywhere in the cavern.

The Stalacpipe Organ is played live during each tour by an automated system. Manual concert performances on the organ only occur on special occasions.

Luray Caverns

101 Cave Hill Road, Luray, VA 22835
Luray Caverns are open every day of the year. Tours of Luray Caverns take about an hour and depart about every twenty minutes after 9am.
Learn more at the Luray Caverns website

Other fun things to do and see around Luray Caverns include:

  • The Car & Carriage Caravan Museum*
  • Luray Valley Musuem*
  • Toy Town Junction*
  • The Garden Maze
  • Gem Sluice
  • Singing Tower
  • Rope Adventure Park
  • The Stalactite Cafe
  • Heartpine Cafe
  • Luray Caverns Vineyard

*included with general admission to the Luray Caverns

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