An ecological marvel, the Crystal Cave is not to be missed on your next trip to Put-in-Bay. Located at the Heineman Winery, this unique treasure complements a trip to Put-in-Bay’s local winery and beautiful wine garden.
The Crystal Cave Details
Home to the largest geode in the world, the Crystal Cave includes gorgeous celestine crystals up to 3 feet in width. The walls are covered in strontium sulfate, a bluish mineral called celestite. These crystals can grow in size from 8 to 18 inches in length.
Tours of the cave and Heineman Winery are offered for $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 6 to 11. Tours can be taken seven days a week from early May until late September. Monday through Saturday, tours of the cave start at 11 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m. On Sunday, tours begin at 12 p.m. and continue until 5 p.m.
Make sure to pack a sweater since the temperature in the cave is always a little cooler than outside.
The History of the Crystal Cave
Discovered in 1897 by miners digging a well for the Winery, the cave was quite a discovery. They accidentally came upon the Crystal Cave. Originally the cave was used to harvest crystals sold for the manufacturing of fireworks. This harvesting expanded the cave to its current size.
The Crystal Cave also played an important role in saving the Heineman Winery during Prohibition. Prior to Prohibition, Put-in-Bay was home to many wineries making their own wines. Prohibition and the passage of the Volstead Act hit the island hard and all other 17 wineries closed.
Heineman Winery was lucky to have the entrepreneurial brain of Norman Heineman, son of founder Gustav, leading the way. Norman opened up the Crystal Cave to visitors, selling tickets along with unfermented grape juice.
When other wineries closed on the island, Norman Heineman, son of the founder Gustav had the brilliant idea to open the cave to the public. He sold tickets to the cave along with unfermented grape juice.
The Crystal Cave is located about a mile from downtown Put-in-Bay. Nearby attractions include Perry’s Cave and Family Fun Center, the Chocolate Cafe and Museum, and Saunders Golf Course.
Gustav Heineman, an immigrant from Baden, Germany, opened Heineman Winery in 1888. Baden is the grape growing region of Germany and Heineman came equipped with expert knowledge of wine making.
The Lake Erie Islands are ideal for wine making. The grapes are exceptional thanks to ideal soil conditions and a long growing season due to the tempering effect of Lake Erie. It is is own wine making paradise!
Heineman Winery makes all types of wine from native grapes on the island such as the Labrusca grape. They make every type of wine from red to white and their most popular wine, the Pink Catawba.
The Heineman Winery property consists of a beautiful wine garden and gift shop, which are both open the same hours as the Crystal Cave. Enjoy wine along with cheese plates and bring home bottles of wine and geodes after your summer on Put-in-Bay.