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Step Inside Crystal Cave the World’s Largest Geode on an Island in Lake Erie

Tonya Prater, Owner

Step inside the world’s largest geode when you visit Crystal Cave on South Bass Island which is located on Lake Erie north of Sandusky.

Crystal Cave The World's Largest Geode found near Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island in Lake Erie

Ohio holds many surprises. I’ve shared a food item that has put one Ohio town on the map. Today, I’ll introduce you to a natural wonder that my family experienced a couple of years ago. You can go too, but I’ll warn you, it requires you to sail upon Lake Erie by ferry, ride in a golf cart or fun train, and sample wine. That doesn’t sound like fun at all, does it? *wink*

Our adventure begins at the Miller Ferry Dock in Port Clinton where you can purchase tickets to board the ferry to South Bass Island, home of Put-in-Bay. Once you arrive on the island, you have two options. You can:

If you choose option one, you’ll jump off the train at the Heineman Winery. If you choose the latter, you’ll drive yourself to the winery. The Heineman Winery is about a mile from downtown Put-in-Bay.

Both are great options and will get you to the same place, but for my family, one of the perks of visiting the island is riding and driving the golf cart.

Heineman's Winery on South Bass Island outside Put-in-Bay

Founded in 1888 by Gustav Heineman, a German immigrant, the winery has been producing wine and grape juice for five generations. The family produces more than 20 wines and two kinds of grape juice from wines grown on the island and in the surrounding Lake Erie Island region.

Once you arrive at the Heineman Winery, you may purchase tickets for a winery and cave tour. You can browse the gift shop or sample wine while you wait for your tour to start.

Sample Heineman's Wine while waiting for your tour.

We visited early in the season, so the winery was not bottling wine, but we were able to see the facility and hear about the wine-making process. After we had toured the winery, it was time to see Crystal Cave.

Taking a guided tour of the Crystal Cave at Put-in-Bay

Visitors to the cave descend 40-feet down into the cave via a steep set of stairs. You’ll marvel as you walk straight through the geode and observe crystals that range in size from 8 inches to a foot and a half long.

Touring Crystal Cave, the World’s Largest Geode

You’ll learn about the history of the cave, how workers discovered the cave in 1887 while digging a well beneath the winery and how tours of Crystal Cave single-handedly saved the winery during Prohibition.

The original cave was much smaller than what you see today. The walls are covered with strontium sulfate, a blueish mineral called celestite that is used to make fireworks. In the early days, the celestite was mined for this purpose but Mr. Heineman put a stop to the mining when he realized that the cave could be more beneficial as a tourist attraction.  

Squeezing through the Crystal Cave at Put-in-Bay

Crystals from the cave are on display in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington D.C.

Exiting the Crystal Cave

This attraction is what would be considered a tourist trap by some but it satisfied my family’s curiosity while fueling our love of all things roadside attractions.

You’ll find Heineman’s Winery, Home of the Crystal Cave, at 978 Catawba Avenue, Put-in-Bay. If you have questions, you may reach them at 419-285-2811. Visit their website for hours and admission costs.

Crystal Cave on Ohio's South Bass Island is known as the world's largest geode.

Dan young

Monday 21st of March 2022

Saw this cave about 35 years ago. We were amazed.

Tonya Prater

Saturday 2nd of April 2022

It's definitely a fun attraction to see when you're on the island.


Tuesday 5th of May 2015

My daughter is obsessed with crystals - she would love this! I had no idea this even existed - we're definitely going to have to check it out.


Tuesday 7th of April 2015

That cave ooks amazing. I have gone to a couple of caves and never saw one like that.

Carrie Butler

Tuesday 7th of April 2015

Fellow Ohioan stopping in to say hi! :) - Carrie Butler, A-Z Minion

Susan Oloier

Friday 3rd of April 2015

Sounds like an adventure I'd enjoy! Love the photos, too! Protection Status
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