Going Underground

By Andrew Wright Dinosaur Park

For many of our guests, the National Showcaves Centre for Wales (also known as Dan-yr-Ogof) is a short detour off the M4 at junction 45 on their way home. Nestled on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, the attraction is surrounded by walking trails and outstanding views. 

The entrance fee covers a number of attractions on the site and provides access to the three show caves, Dinosaur Park, Shire Horse Centre, as well as several smaller exhibits including a museum, fossil house, stone circles and gold panning. 

First a word of caution, due to the natural layout of the site, occasional steps and steep gradients throughout, access may be difficult if attending with a pushchair or wheelchair. 

Show Caves

Three impressive caves are open to the public (with a further 16 miles of caves available to registered experienced cavers). The first of which is Dan-yr-Ogof itself, which was discovered over 100 years ago, audio guides are placed at key locations throughout the cave and provide an insight into their discovery and history. 

We visited with our boy who was celebrating his third birthday and experiencing his first visit to a cave (outside of batman); he kept on telling us how brave he was! 

Dinosaur

The next up (or under) is the Cathedral Cave, discovered in 1953, it’s breathtaking in scale and formation. Apparently the cave is also a popular wedding location and would certainly be a unique venue and a day that your guests would remember. 

The final cave is the Bone Cave (Ogof-yr-Esgyrn) and was a favourite of our son as he had to wear a hard hat to access the cave and it also sits above the Dinosaur Park. An audio/visual exhibition plots the history of the cave, including the discovery of 42 human skeletons, Roman pottery as well as hyenas, wolves and bears. 

Show Cave

Dinosaur Park 

Surrounding the three show caves are over 200 life sized dinosaurs, some which are animated. These provided the most fascination to our son who asked ‘What’s that one called?” Fortunately for a father who’s forgotten more than he can remember, handy signs around the park provide the name and useful information for each. 

The natural valley, leading to the Bone Cave has been filled with a miniature Jurassic Park with growling volcanoes and spurting geysers. 

Dinosaurs

Shire Horse Centre 

Sadly tiredness had set in by the time we headed to the Shire Horse Centre and the birthday ice-cream hadn’t yet set in. Therefore our visit was restricted to a brief walk around the Alpaca and Sheep which sit in the farm next to the entrance. 

With a sleeping birthday boy, we headed back to our car after two and a half hours at the site, within twenty minutes we were back on the M4 and our way home. 

For full details about opening, prices and special events, please visit: www.showcaves.co.uk

Categories:Activities

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