After three months of closure, the Moaning Caverns Adventure Park began their gradual reopening.

The park will start having weekends available to guests, and then slowly open more days of the week, Don Barth, operations manager, said.

Due to the COVID-19 safety guidelines, the park has limited what is available for guests and has implemented more frequent sanitary protocols.

Many of the attractions remain closed for now, like the climbing wall, expedition tour, zipline and rappelling activity. The spiral tour, gift shop, and panning for gemstones have reopened.

Hand sanitizer has been placed at the surface for the spiral tour, right before descending, and at the bottom of the spiral staircase. Facial masks are recommended at the surface and at the chamber’s ground level, but are required to pull down while on the staircases for breathing and vision safety.

Capacity has been reduced from 40 people per tour to 20, and everyone is asked to keep 6 feet from each other on the stairwells. Only 10 people are allowed in the gift shop at a time.

Plexiglass has been placed at the ticket booths and the cashier’s desk in the gift shop, along with red rope to limit the amount of contact between guests and staff.

Benches have been spaced out and bathrooms are sanitized after every tour.

The tours have been getting fully booked, Barth said, but because of the limited space available, reservations are highly recommended.

There was a lot of encouragement from the staff about coming back after the shutdown, Barth said. The off-season staff came back to work without hesitation.

Overall, employees are happy to be back and working again, Barth said.

His wife, Serena Barth (and also a Moaning Caverns employee), said that three months away was a hardship for the park and the employees, but personally she believes everyone should still stay safe, even after the reopening.

Even with the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Calaveras County, guest Monica Johnston, of Clayton, said she was not hesitant in bringing her family to attend the tour.

“We assumed that if it was open, they were taking precautions,” Johnston said.

The Johnston family was confident that the park adhered to safety guidelines for tours and said they would return, even throughout the pandemic if it remains open.

“It’s great, especially to bring kids,” Chad Johnston said. “They can’t bring technology. They can explore a different part of the world.”

Rocco, one of the youngest boys in the Johnston family, said his favorite part of the tour was when Barth related the images of the cavern walls to images in the real world, like “The Lion King” and “Jaws.”


Holly has an associate's degree in anthropology and a bachelor’s degree in English, with an emphasis in creative writing. She has moved to the area from southern California and shares her life with a Siberian husky and three rescue cats.

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