Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Ride (Yes, I said “Underground Boat Ride.” How cool is that?)

July 2, 2013
Happy July, you guys!

In an effort to catch you up on all the awesome trips I’ve been taking this summer and haven’t had the chance to tell you about yet, I’m going to try out something a bit different this month.

I won’t be doing my usual thing where I write one super-duper long post of fifty-bajillion words about ALL THE THINGS I did and saw and ate while on a trip. It’s summer, guys! Ain’t nobody got time for fifty-bajillion words!

Instead I’m going to be writing shorter, more focused posts about each individual thing I did and saw and ate while on a trip and spreading those posts out over the week. Because I wouldn’t want to leave out any of THE THINGS, you guys.

This week, I’m going to be talking about my trip to Lockport and the Erie Canal last month. Prepare yourself for all kinds of canaly goodness. (And, yes, canaly is totally a word. So there.)

I do not like caves.

Not even a little bit.

In fact, caves are on my list of things that scare the bejesus out of me. And, yes, I do have a list.

Well, it’s more like a Pinterest board.


Don’t you have a Pinterest Board of Fears? I thought that was what Pinterest was for, you guys.

So I was a bit apprehensive when Niagara Tourism and Convention Center invited me to Lockport to check out the Erie Canal and go on the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride among other things.

But it wasn’t like I was going to turn them down. I mean, FREE TRIP, you guys! Sure, maybe it would turn out to be a FREE TRIP TO THE CAVE OF DOOM. But, still, FREE TRIP!

When I showed up at my tour, I was greeted by my tour guide, Clancy, who promptly serenaded me using a piano which just so happened to be standing by.

He probably does that for all the ladies who are freaked out about going on the cave tour. But I’d like to think this was extra special and just for me.

Clancy, the serenading tour guide, and his piano.

Clancy, the serenading tour guide, and his piano.

(Note to all of my future tour guides: I will expect you to serenade me. On a piano, preferably. But I will also accept ukulele serenades. Please and thank you.)

After the impromptu serenade, Clancy took us on a walk around the Lockport Locks and along the towpath towards the cave’s entrance. While we walked, we were given a brief history of the Canal, the locks and the cave.

Walking along the Canal.

Along the Canal

As it turns out the cave is not actually a cave, but an old hydraulic tunnel built back in the mid-1800’s to provide power to a number of nearby factories.

All of this made it sound a lot more civilized and a lot less CAVE OF DOOMY, so I was starting to feel pretty good about my chances of survival.

That is until we showed up at the entrance of the cave. Which pretty much looked like the entrance to every nightmare I’ve ever had EVER.

Welcome to all your nightmares!

Welcome to all your nightmares!

Inside the cave was pretty how you’d expect a cave to be – big and dark and drippy. Except with a lot more corrugated steel bits and lights.

Also, because it’s not technically a cave, there are absolutely no bats. Not that I’m complaining. Because bats also happen to be on my list of things that scare the bejesus out of me. Or, err, Pinterest board, as the case may be.

Yay! No bats!

Yay! No bats!

In fact, as far as underground lairs go this place was pretty classy.

It felt kind of like a big huge wine cellar of some crazy, eclectic millionaire.

I could even imagine throwing some pretty fun parties down here. If I were the type to throw parties in dark, drippy underground lairs. Which I’m not, but, hey, a girl can dream, right?

This is totally where I would put the dance floor.

This is totally where I would put the dance floor.

My favorite part about the tour was definitely the part with the boat. Because UNDERGROUND BOAT, you guys. I mean, seriously, how cool is that?


The part with the boat

The boat ride felt surprisingly peaceful — in a drippy, dark cavey kind of way.

After this trip,  it’s possible my entire opinion of caves has changed.

I may even have to take caves off my Pinterest Board of Fears.

Or, at least, move them on to another board —  the Pinterest Board of Stuff That’s Pretty Awesome As Long as There Are Boats and Not a Single Bat Involved.

Are you a cave-lover or hater? Have you taken any cool cave tours?
P.S. Thanks to Niagara Tourism & Convention Center for arranging my trip and to Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Tours for an awesome tour.

I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On July 2, 2013 at 9:13 am nicole said:

    You can put it on a Pinterest board of “Loves” instead of “fears.”

    But seriously, that’s an awesome tunnel and boat ride. Boat rides don’t get much more scenic than that (well, they might). But, that one looked amazingly educational and fun! =D
    nicole recently posted..That Time Starfish Taught Us Literature in Singapore

  2. On July 2, 2013 at 9:48 am Beth said:

    I’m not a big fan of caves either… probably because when I was little I was taken to Mammoth Cave and it freaked me out.

    Pretty sweet that there was a boat on your tour though!

    Not sure any cave tours will be in my future– although I’d make the exception to go see the glow worm caves in New Zealand.
    Beth recently posted..S#!T My Hong Kong Students Say

    • On July 2, 2013 at 8:09 pm Sally said:

      I don’t know what Mammoth Cave is but that sounds terrifying. And, yes, I do believe exceptions should be made for glow worms.

    • On July 3, 2013 at 3:36 am Leslie in Portland, Oregon said:

      Good call, Beth…the glow worm caves in New Zealand well deserve your exception: they are absolutely beautiful, awesome (in the truest sense) rather than frightening.

  3. On July 2, 2013 at 12:22 pm Amanda Halm said:

    This looks pretty cool. I mean, I don’t fear caves, but I am not fond of them either. Chance of bats = high, plus I fear the whole nasty cave ceiling falling on me. Ok, maybe I am afraid of caves.

    Really liked this and the funny way you write. Let’s be friends.

    • On July 2, 2013 at 8:09 pm Sally said:

      Well, the really good thing about this cave was that since it wasn’t technically a cave and didn’t have any cave creepie crawlies, there were no bats. And the few stalactites that existed were seriously an inch long. Best. Cave. EVER.
      And, yes, FRIENDS. Let’s!

  4. On July 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm Selly said:

    This post made me laugh. Do you know why? Because I suddenly remembered a funny story from when I was about 8/9. I was part of a youth club back then and we were creating a kids friendly map of my hometown. The local government and the tourist centre totally backed us up and while we wanted to map every playground in the city and rate them, the tourist centre thought it would be cool if we get to visit a cave underneath our fortress. Initially a cool idea and to our amazement the tourist centre got the TV station of our federal state to sponsor us and film it all. Now, when I saw the cave it looked pretty cool but when I was supposed to go inside I started bawling my eyes out, protesting and point black refused to go inside – ALL ON NATIONAL TELEVISION. And no you can’t see the tape!!!

    • On July 2, 2013 at 8:07 pm Sally said:

      Omigosh. I NEED TO SEE THAT TAPE. And I love that everyone thought that this was a good idea — let’s send these kids down into a cave! They’ll love it! Seriously, had they MET kids?

  5. On July 2, 2013 at 6:56 pm Maria said:

    It’s always a little creepy but the cool factor outweighs everything else when touring caves.

    Now spelunking would be a whole different experience and I’d like to try that some time.
    Maria recently posted..Come in from the Rain: 9 Accommodation Tips Save Money

    • On July 2, 2013 at 8:19 pm Sally said:

      Spelunking both intrigues me and freaks me the heck out. I think I’d need to go on some kind of major medication before I tried it.

  6. On July 2, 2013 at 11:25 pm Kali said:

    I love bats! When are you going to conquer that fear? 😀
    Kali recently posted..Encounters of the scaly kind

    • On July 3, 2013 at 6:34 am Sally said:

      Ummm, never. I actually have a very valid reason for hating bats. When I was a kid, a bat snuck into my room at night and tried to kill me. Okay, I’m not sure about the last part, but it did sneak into my room and totally freak me out.

  7. On July 3, 2013 at 1:50 am Katherine Belarmino - Travel the World said:

    I love caves and bats! This looks like a lot of fun. Was the boat riding on a river of chocolate by chance? You would hate the cave tours I’ve done in Belize and Costa Rica I’m afraid.
    Katherine Belarmino – Travel the World recently posted..The Best and Worst of Portland with Portland Walking Tours

  8. On July 3, 2013 at 1:52 am Priya said:

    Hmm… It’s not a cave unless bats are involved.
    Priya recently posted..Quarter-Life Crisis: My Very First Smartphone (AKA My Smartphone Makes Me Look Stupid)

    • On July 3, 2013 at 6:33 am Sally said:

      It’s the TRUTH, I tell you. Or something like it. It was all explained to me — except I can’t quite remember it all. Something about since it’s not a cave it can’t support life like your regular cave so bats don’t want to live there since there isn’t a whole bunch of creepie crawlies to eat.

  9. On July 3, 2013 at 9:05 am Christy@SweetandSavoring said:

    Ooh, I’m so intrigued by Lockport now that I just clicked on the link and looking into camping rates, haha. I’ve lived in NY my whole life and have mostly contained my adventures to within an hour of the Hudson- for shame! I’d love to explore Western NY and this is giving me such inspiration.

    Oh, and I love caves. We visited the super touristy Howe Caverns last year, but *found* caves are a whole different entity- strange puddles, darkness, bats. It’s creepy but cool at the same time!
    Christy@SweetandSavoring recently posted..My Recent Kitchen Creations

    • On July 3, 2013 at 8:08 pm Sally said:

      This was actually my first visit to Lockport & the Erie Canal (that I can recall) and I was really really blown away by how cute the town was and how many cool things there were to do and eat there. You should definitely come visit!

  10. On July 4, 2013 at 6:04 am Heather said:

    I grew up in Virginia where there are a lot of caves, and as a kid I thought they were super fun. But a few years ago, I stupidly agreed to watch a gruesome movie with my husband involving spelunkers and carnivorous cave people. Talk about having the bejesus scared out of you! I haven’t enjoyed caves since. I also haven’t watched another scary movie. I don’t need any other locales to be ruined!
    Heather recently posted..A Brief Introduction to Mahjong

  11. On July 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm Brittany @ Paws for Beer said:

    I’m a fan of caves and if there is a cave tour nearby I’m on it! The boat tour seems like an awesome way to view the cave (although it reminds me a little of the Disney ride Pirates of the Caribbean… minus the pirates of course!)
    Brittany @ Paws for Beer recently posted..Trip Rewind Nebraska: Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha Nebraska

    • On July 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm Sally said:

      OMIGOD, when I got on the boat, I was like, “This is just like that Disney Ride!” But I couldn’t remember what ride it was and everyone was looking at me weird and I thought maybe I had it all wrong and that wasn’t actually a ride at Disney but something I’d made up in my head. Glad to know I’m not delusional. Or at least totally delusional.

  12. On July 8, 2013 at 3:42 am Victor Tribunsky said:

    I like caves very much and have visited one in Italy recently: Grotte del’Angelo; with underground boat too, but without piano. It was forbidden to take a photo inside, but I made some decent shots. If it is interesting to somebody, have a look, please:

    I will appreciate your comments. Thank you.
    Victor Tribunsky recently posted..5 World Famous Sights in One Place: Spanish Segovia

  13. On July 15, 2013 at 12:21 am Morgan said:

    How cool!! Despite the eery entrance (yes, it does look like the entrance to a complete nightmare), the inside is spectacular and the perfect spot for a dance floor 🙂 Great find!
    Morgan recently posted..Travel Scams: Are You Prepared?

  14. On August 1, 2013 at 2:47 pm Montecristo Travels (Sonja) said:

    Claustrophobic so ….AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAK!!
    Montecristo Travels (Sonja) recently posted..When Travel Plans Go Belly Up!

    • On August 3, 2013 at 10:58 am Sally said:

      I am too, but this wasn’t that bad. But I do have to say that after 1 hour, I was like, “Okay, we need to get OUT OF HERE.” Luckily, we did.

  15. On August 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm Ceri said:

    Dark underground cave boat ride? Girl, didn’t you ever see Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory? “There’s no earthly way of knooowiiiing … which direction we are goooiiiing…”
    Ceri recently posted..NY Bucket List: #7 – Catch a Yellow Cab/Use the Subway

  16. On October 25, 2013 at 3:45 am Steve Bye said:


    See the Van Horn Mansion Haunted Candlelight Tours. A tour of a place that is haunted for $5.00 in Burt NY.

    I am a friend of the Van Horn Manson, I do not work for them.


    Official Publication below.


    Steve B.


  1. Sweet Sixteen Cafe in Lockport, NY
  2. The Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruise
  3. Walking 15 Miles on the Erie Canal

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