Missouri is known as The Cave State for good reason. About 6,000 caves have been discovered throughout the state thanks to the karst topography that covers a large part of the state. In the area surrounding Springfield, caves are plentiful with many open to the public for tours.
Perhaps the most famous is Fantastic Caverns, well-known for being one of the largest ride-through caves in North America. Guides stop throughout the cave and explain how the cave and its formations came to be, the group of 12 women who first explored it and how the cave has been used since it was discovered by a farmer’s dog in 1862. Its storied history includes being a speakeasy during Prohibition and a venue for country music shows in the massive part of the cave that provides perfect acoustics for musicians.
Formations in Fantastic Caverns in Springfield, Missouri.
Discovered in 1818, Smallin Civil War Cave features a breathtaking ten-story arch leads you into rich human history and rare cave life. Guests will often see the rare bristly cave crayfish, endangered blind cave salamanders, and various species of bats! The cave is open year-round for guided, half-mile walking tours tours and is accessible to strollers, wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
Smallin Civil War Cave in Ozark, Missouri.
A beautiful landscape of glistening crystals awaits at this vertical cave explored using concrete handrails and steps at Talking Rocks Cavern in Branson West. First named Fairy Cave because it looked like “a subterranean fairy land,” the tour showcases mineral deposits and other geological formations that will leave you awestruck and amazed.
Add Giboney Cave at Doling Park in north Springfield, Marvel Cave at the Silver Dollar City theme park near Branson and others in the area and there are plenty of subterranean adventures to explore.
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