A new partnership initiative to promote kid-friendly Lehigh Valley attractions to local residents and visitors was launched Tuesday in the Crystal Chapel at Lost River Caverns in Hellertown, as snow fell outside and cave co-owner Bob Gilman quipped that the weather in the cave was a comparatively “balmy” 52 degrees (a temperature that remains constant year-round).
Lehigh Valley Kidsventure is being led by Allentown’s Da Vinci Science Center, and is described as “a regional partnership to help kid-friendly attractions and hospitality partners promote their experiences collectively to families.”
“We don’t take advantage of all the great things in our own backyards,” said Da Vinci CEO Lin Erickson, who said people tend to think about traveling to far-off destinations first.
A website created for the partnership features a downloadable “bookmark” that visitors can use to redeem discounts at participating attractions from April 1 through Oct. 31, 2015.
For example, visitors to the cave who present the bookmark will receive $1 off each adult admission and $.50 off each child admission.
Bookmarks will be available at partner locations beginning March 16.
Lost River Caverns co-owner Beverly Rosewicz said the partnership has been in the works for some time, and along with others who were present for the unveiling, expressed optimism that it will help increase exposure for many local attractions.
“We’re happy to have so many partners involved in this project,” said Mike Stershic, president of Discover Lehigh Valley. “It’s all about being a family-friendly destination.”
In addition to Discover Lehigh Valley, Da Vinci Science Center and the cave, other partners in Kidsventure include the Lehigh Valley Zoo, America On Wheels, the PA Shakespeare Festival, Dutch Springs, Cyber Quest, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown Art Museum, Hyatt Place, Holiday Inn, ArtsQuest, Comfort Suites-Allentown, Wildlands Conservancy, Kids Quest and the Crayola Experience. The initiative’s print partner is Raven One to One Marketing and its refreshment partner is Coca-Cola Bottling Company of the Lehigh Valley.
The Crystal Chapel at Lost River Caverns was once used as a venue for weddings, and before that it was a dance hall at the turn of the century, Gilman noted.
The cave itself has been open for tours since 1930–a year after the Gilman family purchased it.
“The cavern entrance was first opened to the surface in 1883 by quarry workers when they ignited a black powder blast to remove limestone from the cliff face,” according to a history posted on the Lost River Caverns website.
More information about the cave and its long history is available on its website.