I haven't visited enough caves to say how this one compares to others, but it did make this top-ten list and I recommend it highly. It's also a private business that sells tickets and souvenirs, not a public park that consumes taxpayer dollars. Luray Caverns may not be a model for balancing tourism and conservation at every natural wonder in the country, but it's probably a better one than most people realize. Americans can perform a lot of wonders on their own.His enthusiasm is understandable. I mean, they actually play Luray's stalactites with mallets! That's a wonderful example of the creative solutions you get when you unleash the power of the Free Market.
I'm assuming Miller has never been to Carlsbad Caverns, where they also sell tickets and souvenirs (just like most other national parks). As for consuming taxpayer dollars, that's a complex subject...but for whatever it's worth, a recent study claims that while Carlsbad Caverns has an annual budget of about $6 million, "the total impact of the park is almost 1,000 jobs and $17 million in income in the county."
That doesn't sound like such a bad deal to me, even if the caverns do lack spectral mood lighting, pipe organs, and an animatronic figure of Ronald Reagan welcoming visitors to the snack bar.
One can only hope that despite Miller's excruciating political correctness, his family managed to enjoy the cave for its own sake. My parents had their faults, God knows, but at least they didn't reduce the scenic wonders we visited to economic case studies.