Napa Valley’s Geyser is a Daytrip Destination for Everyone
Old Faithful Geyser of California is undergoing major refurbishments to prepare for a busy tourist season. A popular Napa Valley landmark since the 1970s, the geyser has long been a spot where visitors could stop by to watch one of only three geothermal geysers dubbed “old faithful” in the world – attracting more than 100,000 visitors per year. However the renovations under way will soon make Old Faithful Geyser of California a complete destination of itself that the entire family can enjoy.
Acquired over a year ago by Calistoga Enterprises LLC, Old Faithful Geyser of California has been given a mindful branding overhaul, respecting the historic attributes of the site, and honoring the hard work and dedication previous owner Olga Kolbek had given to the property since the 1970s when she and her husband first bought the land and opened the geyser to the viewing public.
Part of the property renovations has been the installation of Old Faithful Gardens. It’s a massive circular garden area where more than 600 plants have recently been bedded, including trees that will one day provide lofty shade to sit under. The focal point of the garden is a cascading geothermal mineral water fountain – making the garden one of the only spots where visitors can touch the therapeutic local mineral waters, other than checking into a nearby Calistoga spa – highly recommended.
Cohesive, educational information boards have been placed throughout the property allowing visitors to take self-guided reading tours learning interesting facts about the geyser and its surroundings. The Old Faithful Museum will be opening May 2014 and will present an enrichment opportunity to learn facts about the earth we stand on, an explanation of geyser activity, volcanoes, earthquakes, and much more.
Slated for completion by end of May 2014, there will be new tables with elegant umbrellas sponsored by local wineries where visitors can sit and picnic, as well as outdoor fire pit areas to enjoy evenings under the stars. The garden, grounds and geyser will also be highlighted at night with accent lighting to illuminate the features and extend visiting hours until 10 p.m.
There are several more features being planned for the property, including an Old Faithful Culinary Gardens, Old Faithful Greenhouse, Old Faithful Treehouse, bike trail and much more.
Visitors can still see charming farm animals on the property, however the area has been restored and turned into an interactive petting zoo with information boards about the variety of animals living on the farm and food pellets to hand-feed them.
The grounds also serve as a natural habitat surrounded by concentrated walls of bamboo and lofty palm trees (the geysers often shoot water as high as the palms). The park-like setting attracts a variety of bird species throughout the year. If you look closely, you can even see small cobalt blue zebra fish swimming in the natural pond waters surrounding the geyser – interesting considering the highly concentrated minerals found at the site – the fish apparently thrive there.
While visiting, be sure to peek around the gift shop which has a variety of souvenirs, quick snacks, ice cream bars which are pleasant on hot Calistoga days, maps of other local attractions as well as informative staff happy to provide you with insight about the facility.
Old Faithful Geyser of California is located on the north end of the Napa Valley at 1299 Tubbs Lane, Calistoga. The park is open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. during spring. Admission is $14 for adults, $8 for kids age six to 12 (children under age six are free) and $12 for military or seniors. For information, call (707) 942-6463.