Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Experiencing Nature Can Improve Your Brain

Touring Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park is fun, improves your brain, and makes you better looking! Well, we exaggerated that "good-looking" part, but the other two are really true. Scientists have performed research to prove the benefits of enjoying the outdoors, and the results are extremely favorable. Here are a few ways that you can benefit from a visit to our Lake of the Ozarks scenic attraction


Nature Is Good For You, Naturally
People today spend a lot of time rushing here and there, worrying and stressing over every little detail of their day-to-day existence. A lot of time is spent in front of one type of screen or another (phone, tablet, computer, television, etc...) as much as 12 hours every single day! The more time you spend like that, the more likely you are to be worn out and overwhelmed. Getting outside and away from all of that stuff is good for both your body and your mind. 

Improved Mental Health
After studying the brain activity, heart rates, and many other factors of people that spent a good amount of time outdoors, some interesting things were discovered. Something about the serenity of nature caused people to slow down and pay more attention to what was going on in that moment rather than focusing on future events and tasks to be done. 

One study discovered that natural settings fired up opioid receptors connected to the brain's dopamine reward system. This causes a reduction in stress, which also increases a person's feelings of empathy, and can even aid in concentration, creativity, and problem solving skills.  

Improved Physical Health
Less stress is always a good thing for a body, allowing it to relax, and often decreasing blood pressure. Another study found that even a good view of nature through a window caused patients to recover faster, have fewer complications after surgery, and need less pain medication.

Hiking a trail in the park or touring an underground cave is not only relaxing, but it's also great exercise. Any exercise is always a good thing for improving your physical health. 

Improved Levels Of Fun!
The fresh air paired with the beautiful things that you can see and discover when you take yourself outside is a great reason to do it. Once you are out there, there are all sorts of adventures just waiting to be discovered. 

Here at the Lake of the Ozarks, Bridal Cave offers you the chance to see breathtaking formations that have been building for hundreds to thousands of years. Our knowledgeable tour guides can even fill you in on all of the amazing history and details about life inside the cave walls. Thunder Mountain Park allows you to enjoy the beauty of the lake area, amazing and serene lake views, and excellent trails to explore.


What Are You Waiting For... Get Outside!
These simple facts are a wonderful reminder to make the effort to get outside and experience nature. You can read even more about this interesting subject in the USA Today article that inspired this blog - "Why parks matter: Nature improves your brain." 

Our suggestion, though, is to just do it! Get outside and experience all of the incredible benefits yourself, and share the awesomeness with everyone that you know! There is still plenty of time in the day to check your emails and text your friends, but take a little time away from that every day to get some fresh air. It's a great activity to do alone, or with a group, and it's a perfect type of family fun... the way it should be! 


One of America's most scenic 
cave tours.

Visit us at www.BridalCave.com
Like us on Facebook.
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526 Bridal Cave Road
Camdenton, MO 65020
(573) 346-2676

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Get the Family Out of the House This Holiday Weekend

This Thursday, many families will be getting together to celebrate Thanksgiving. Lots of them will be traveling from far away, and you will need something fun to keep everyone entertained while they are in town. There are lots of entertaining Lake of the Ozarks attractions still open this time of year. In addition to Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park, there are lots of things to do in the area that the entire family will enjoy.


Get Outside!
Don't just sit around munching on leftovers all weekend long. Even if it's too chilly to get outside, there are still lots of warm ways to get the family out of the house and active.

  • Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park - The trails are always open for you if the sun is shining enough to be outdoors. If not, Bridal Cave remains a constant 60° inside, so it's a great nature activity, no matter what the weather! In addition to the exciting cave tour, our gift shop is filled with lots of unique items for everyone on your list. You can also break your own geodes in our special machine. Here are a couple of Facebook reviews from recent visitors.

"Took my family and had a great time. Our guide was very down to earth and was about having a fun time while telling about the cave. I would recommend it to anyone that wants to do something with their family."
~Patricia Chapman

"It was a great experience for us all. All the way from a 10 month old to her grandparents! Such an amazing time."
~Danielle Galarza


  • Miner Mike's Indoor Family Fun Center - This fun play place and arcade will be open Friday-Sunday over the holiday weekend. You'll be indoors out of the cold, and the kids can get rid of some of their extra energy. There is a concession stand to grab a bite to eat, and it's conveniently located right across from the Outlet Mall if you want to take turns doing a little shopping while another adult watches the kids.

  • Old Kinderhook Ice Skating - The outdoor ice skating rink at Old Kinderhook is just the beginning of the fun. They also host a "Christmas Village" on the weekends featuring s'mores, fire pits, carolers, gingerbread house making, horse drawn carriages, elf storytelling, and even Santa! 

  • Holiday Light Displays - Funlake.com has a list of the many different holiday light displays in the lake area on their "Lake Events" page, and most of them open this weekend! Bundle up the family, load them in the car, and see how many different spots you can visit during the holiday weekend. There are even a few tickets still available for the Deck the Docks holiday lights cruise on the Celebration, but they go quickly!


Start a new holiday tradition!
Our family fun Lake of the Ozarks cave tour is an excellent Thanksgiving weekend tradition to begin with your family. While we are closed on Thanksgiving day, we are open nearly every day of the year. Your plans will never have to be canceled, because regardless of the weather (warm, cold, rainy, snowy, etc...) you know that the weather inside Bridal Cave never changes. It's a wonderful way to get everyone out of the house, active, and enjoying something together. You know, family fun as it should be!   



One of America's most scenic 
cave tours.

Visit us at www.BridalCave.com
Like us on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.
Follow us on Google+
Follow us on LinkedIn

526 Bridal Cave Road
Camdenton, MO 65020
(573) 346-2676

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The First Ever Biological Inventory of Bridal Cave

The inside of our mid-Missouri scenic underground cave contains a very unique ecosystem. The animals and bugs that live in Bridal Cave have adapted to the climate of this cave system in some very interesting ways.


Some of the creatures you are most likely aware of are the tricolor bats, salamanders, and even frogs. What you may not realize is that there is an entirely different ecosystem in addition to those that can only be seen under a microscope. For the first time in the history of Bridal Cave, we are conducting a survey to find out exactly what types of small creatures exist inside the cave. 


One of our incredible tour guides, River Wise, has a wonderful fascination with all bugs and animals. When his Science Research Class at Camdenton High School discussed doing a biological inventory, River immediately brought up Bridal Cave as the perfect site to conduct this class project. We are thrilled that his teacher agreed! 


With permission from general manager Steve Thompson, and under the direction of the Camdenton R3 science research teacher Chris Reeves, the biological inventory of our invertebrate fauna began. It started on November 5 and will continue each Saturday throughout November. The goal of this project is to determine the species, areas of location, and if time allows, the population of each species.  

Ben Coleman, from Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park's maintenance department, is helping with the study, and so is Eric Hertzler. Mr. Hertzler is well-known in caving circles for his important work in mapping and cave photography, plus he is also a past tour guide of our very own Lake of the Ozarks cave. He is providing the scientific resources and serving as a general advice consultant for this project. 

So far the results have been very exciting. Some of the tiny creatures that have been found are featured in this blog's photos. The group is now in the process of identifying each and every one of the specimens they are finding. Who knows? Maybe they will even find a brand new species that has adapted to the unique habitat of Bridal Cave and cannot be found anywhere else in the world! 


We'll be sure to keep you posted as more information is discovered. The entire study should be completed by the end of January, and we will make sure to let you know all of the details when it is done. We would like to thank River, the Camdenton R3 School, Ben Coleman, and Eric Hertzler for their desire to help us better understand the extremely special cave life that resides at Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park.

Studies like this are the perfect way to make our already exciting Lake of the Ozarks attraction even more interesting. Everyone that visits gets to learn all sorts of educational information, all while having a good time. An excellent day out, plus you get to learn something new. Family fun as it should be!  



One of America's most scenic 
cave tours.

Visit us at www.BridalCave.com
Like us on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.
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526 Bridal Cave Road
Camdenton, MO 65020
(573) 346-2676

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Family Fun... As It Should Be

Think back to your childhood for a moment. You probably have fond memories of playing outside, enjoying an "unplugged" life. Fewer electronic devices and more one-on-one time with family and friends. Most likely you have loving memories of some family outings or vacations that put a smile on your face. Our family friendly attraction at the Lake of the Ozarks is the perfect spot to make some new memories with your own children. 

Bridal Cave, Thunder Mountain Park, family fun, Lake of the Ozarks

What are some of those family outings that you remember most? It may be a camping trip, a special fishing trip where you caught a fish that was "this big," or possibly you didn't catch any at all, but still had an amazing time! Some people love thinking back to a time when the whole crew went hiking together, in the forest or up a mountain, while others got to enjoy skiing down mountains full of snow. Another awesome outdoor activity is skiing the lake, or floating down a mid-Missouri river. 

Some memories don't involve a big trip, but simple fun like digging in the sand box, playing on a swing, or exploring a cave with your parents or grandparents. There is something extra-special about spending time with the family in the great outdoors. Maybe it's just family fun... as it should be! 

Bridal Cave, Thunder Mountain Park, family fun, Lake of the Ozarks

Touring a show cave like Bridal Cave, or heading out for an adventure amidst nature in Thunder Mountain Park, can create memories that last a lifetime and inspire your kids to make new memories like that with their own children. Enjoying one of America's most scenic cave tours is easy to do any time of the year because show caves are always open, no matter what the weather. 

Once inside, it feels warm in the winter and cool in the summer due to the constant 60 degree temperature. Bridal Cave is an ideal place to expose your family to some of Mother Nature's best handiwork, and one of our cave tours is an event that is enjoyed by all ages, from 1-100. 

Bridal Cave, Thunder Mountain Park, family fun, Lake of the Ozarks

Don't you think it's about time to make some family memories with nature? We've been graced with extremely gorgeous weather in the lake area this fall season, allowing enjoyment of the local parks for longer than usual. Soon, everything could change and become too cold to be outside enjoyably for long periods of time. That's when Bridal Cave will still be warm, comfortable, and the perfect way to enjoy nature with the family instead of begin cooped up indoors. Here, we're always open and always family fun... as it should be!


One of America's most scenic 
cave tours.

Visit us at www.BridalCave.com
Like us on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.
Follow us on Google+
Follow us on LinkedIn

526 Bridal Cave Road
Camdenton, MO 65020
(573) 346-2676

Thursday, November 3, 2016

7 Safety Tips For Going Caving

One tour through Bridal Cave may give you the "caving bug." No, that's not some type of illness, but the desire to see more of the beauty that you have witnessed inside of our Lake of the Ozarks attraction. As long as you have a guide, they will make sure that you stay safe. If you choose to explore a cave on your own, there are things that you need to be aware of so that you do not get lost or hurt. 


"Spelunking" is the term that is used to describe the hobby of exploring wild caves. By "wild," we mean non-commercial caves where there is no set trail or guide to take you through it. To make sure that you enjoy your caving experience and get out of it safely, use the following tips.

Never Go Alone

You should never attempt to explore a cave alone. They are easy to get lost in, and there are lots of ways to get hurt. The buddy system is your best bet. Groups of four or more are ideal. That way if someone does get hurt, one caver can stay with them and the other two can go for help. Also, children should always have an adult with them every time they explore a cave. 

Have Permission 
If the cave is on private property, make sure that you ask the owner's permission to go inside. They may also be able to clue you in on any dangers that they are already aware of. 

Know Your Limits
Don't try to do more than you are capable of. Spelunking takes a lot of energy, know-how, and strength. If you aren't sure of your skills, practice before attempting something dangerous in the wild. Also, pay attention to how fatigued you are. You will need as much energy to get out of the cave as you used getting into it. Keep a close eye on the energy level of everyone in your group too. Look out for each other. 

Be Prepared

Once you are deep inside a cave, it's not always a quick trip back out. You will want to prepare for any possible situation before heading in. Here is a list of items that you should have with you, and make sure that you have a way to keep them dry. 
  • 3 different light sources
  • extra batteries
  • first aid kit
  • high energy food
  • fresh water (cave water could be contaminated)
  • hard hat
  • knee & elbow pads
  • gloves (not just to protect your hands, but to also protect the cave from the destructive oils in your skin)
  • sturdy shoes for climbing
  • trash bag (for warmth in emergencies)
  • something to mark your path

Stay Warm
Bridal Cave stays a constant 60° which is not unusual for caves. Being underground results in cooler temperatures. These spaces are also generally damp, so the chance for getting wet is high. Make sure that you have enough clothes to keep your body warm, and something water-resistant is helpful. Dressing in layers is a good idea. 

Tell People About Your Trip
Always make sure that someone on the outside is aware that your group is going into the cave, and also the time that you expect to return. That way if something happens to your team while you are in there, your contact will be aware to send help. 

Watch the Weather
Many caves have underground streams or springs inside of them. A heavy rain could cause flooding, blocking your way out. Be aware of this possibility before it surprises you. 
Spelunking can be a lot of fun, but you need to know what you are doing and where you are going before attempting it. Do some research and prepare yourself before making your first attempt at a wild caving adventure. You might even want to hire a pro to go with you until you learn more. 


If guided cave tours are the way you prefer to explore underground, then you're in luck. There are 18 show caves in Missouri, and one of America's most scenic cave tours happens to be located right here at the Lake of the Ozarks. Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park are open year-round, and cave tours leave regularly. Hours change seasonally, so check our website or give us a call before you head over. We love our cave, and we know that you will too. If you decide to go spelunking elsewhere, keep yourself safe.  



One of America's most scenic 
cave tours.

Visit us at www.BridalCave.com
Like us on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.
Follow us on Google+
Follow us on LinkedIn

526 Bridal Cave Road
Camdenton, MO 65020
(573) 346-2676

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Year's Worth of Exciting Cave Topics

Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park have been sending weekly blogs your way for a whole year now. Wow, that's a lot of cool caving topics! Caving isn't the only thing we've discussed over the past months though. There are tons of great things to learn about our scenic Lake of the Ozarks attraction. A look through our last 52 blogs are proof of that. 


Today we are going to recap a few of the topics that have been covered over the past year. If you see something you missed, there is a link to every single blog that we've written on the right-hand side of the web version of our blog. If you are browsing from a mobile device, you should see a list of blog links to scroll through when you go to www.BridalCave.Blogspot.com.

Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park
A lot of our blog topics covered all of the fun and exciting things to do and see at our family friendly Lake of the Ozarks attraction. The History of Bridal Cave was one of our first entries, and it has led quite an interesting life since 1856. We even gave you a few tips to Explore Thunder Mountain Park. There plenty of stories about why we are an excellent spot for A Great Field Trip for Kids plus a perfect place for family reunions and even business meetings.   

Weddings
There have been Decades of Weddings at Bridal Cave, both in our underground wedding chapel and outside amidst the beauty of nature in our lakeside pavilion. We were even named the #1 Breathtaking Wedding Location in America by About Style, and Glamour Magazine selected us as one of the Top 10 Unique Wedding Venues in America! One of our most-read blogs was all about our Annual Vow Renewals, which are completely free to participate in. We'll be doing that again this February, so keep your eyes peeled for the details.   


Park Improvements
We are constantly striving to improve on our already amazing Lake of the Ozarks attraction. A few of the blogs covered our most recent updates, like the brand new LED lighting and the New Improvements to Thunder Mountain Park that we made in the form of botanical gardens and a waterfall. There was a 2-part story about our historical Wedding Bell, which featured its history and the journey it took to be restored to better than new.   


Nature Topics
Missouri happens to be known as The Cave State, and we covered this topic in a couple of different ways over the past year. Our state has more caves than any other state, including 18 show caves that are open to the public for tours. We also talked about the difference between stalactites and stalagmites, and the type of Life Inside the Cave you may see on a tour. Outside the cave, we blogged about the hungry fish at our dock and the calm, breathtaking Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks that we are located on.  



Unique Gifts & Sales
The gift shop at Bridal Cave is filled with Unique Gifts that anyone would love to receive. There are also rocks, minerals, and gemstones from all around the world that our general manager hand selects every year to bring to you. When we have yearly closeout sales to make room for more, you'll hear all about those on our blogs!  Another popular thing to do when you visit us is to Break Your Own Geodes in our special, custom built pressure cracker. 

Lake Area Events & Information
There are tons of exciting things to do in our area, and occasionally we love to feature a few of the other Family Fun Attractions nearby. You will also find helpful information about many of the annual events that make our lake area so very special, such as the recent Pumkin Chunkin Palooza and last summer's Aquapalooza. 

Contests & Community Involvement
Occasionally we like to add to the fun that already awaits you at Bridal Cave by hosting our own events. We are right in the middle of hosting an Underground Opinion Poll to predict the new president of the United States, and we even gave away free family passes to anyone that could find the cave troll we planted in our virtual tour of the cave. This blog is an excellent tool for letting you know about those things, plus the services we provide to our local community, like Christmas tree recycling and how Wishes Come True from the funds we collect in our wishing well. 


What Else Would You Like To Know?
We absolutely love sharing all of the history, information, and awesome topics with you that we get to cover in the blog every week. There is a lot more where all of those blogs came from, and we look forward to sharing those with you soon.

What would you like to know more about at our Lake of the Ozarks natural attraction? Tell us what you like reading about most, what you don't care to read about, and anything that you would like for us to cover in the future that we haven't gotten around to in the past. Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park hold our visitors' opinions very highly, and we want to bring you more of everything that you love. Thanks for sticking with us so far, and please keep coming back for more! 


One of America's most scenic 
cave tours.

Visit us at www.BridalCave.com
Like us on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.
Follow us on Google+
Follow us on LinkedIn

526 Bridal Cave Road
Camdenton, MO 65020
(573) 346-2676

Friday, October 21, 2016

An Outdoor Meeting of the Missouri Caves Association at Bridal Cave

Have you ever been stuck in a meeting at work, looking out the window, daydreaming about being outside instead of stuck indoors? Well, the Missouri Caves Association (MCA) solved that dilemma for their members by holding their meeting in the lakeside pavilion at Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park


The MCA's annual fall meeting was held outdoors amidst the natural beauty of our scenic Lake of the Ozarks attraction on October 5, 2016. Owners and operators of showcaves from across Missouri and Arkansas were given a behind the scenes tour of the entire operation here. After the in-depth tour, the entire group gathered in the pavilion for a delicious lunch provided by The Butcher Shop in Camdenton. Following the meal, the meeting took place overlooking the breathtaking Lake of the Ozarks. 

Our lakeside pavilion is available for use for company meetings or picnics at no cost when a group tour of Bridal Cave is booked along with the reservation. If you group would be interested in more information about this, please contact Steve Thompson, the general manager, at 573-346-2676 or email Steve@BridalCave.com. 

Outdoor meeting in Bridal Cave's lakeside pavilion
You can find out additional information about Arkansas caves at www.ArkansasCaves.com, and learn all about Missouri caves at www.MissouriCaves.com. One interesting fact that you will discover there is the reason that Missouri is often referred to as "The Cave State." The following facts are from Missouri's site: 


Missouri – The Cave State

“The Cave Factory”
As you drive through the gently rolling countryside of Missouri, you would not suspect that nature was operating a factory beneath the road. Not just a factory, but also a complex manufacturing system all hidden underground. Below the surface of the state, a Cave Factory is operating at full capacity!

Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week for untold ages, this cave factory has created nearly 7,000 other caves in Missouri alone. The karst areas of the Ozarks—generally the southern half of Missouri—are a perfect place for this cave building process to take place.

Jerry Vineyard, who was then Missouri’s Deputy State Geologist, coined the term “Cave Factory” several years ago. He compares the formation of caves in the Ozarks to an automobile assembly line running at full capacity. The process of making caves never comes to an end. As soon as one is complete another one has started. Caves are created; they have a lifespan, providing habitat for some animals, and, possibly for humans; and eventually, if nature takes its course, the same forces that created caves will destroy them.

Caves begin as springs, Vineyard explains. When you see a large spring, what you’re actually seeing is a cave in its formative stages. “You’re seeing the cave factory at work,” he said. There are a number of large springs in the Ozarks. Big Spring, Bennett Spring, Alley Spring, Mammoth Spring and Round Spring are just a few.

The list of ingredients for making a cave is short. You need plenty of limestone, a mineral that can be dissolved in groundwater. Add plenty of rain to supply the groundwater. Finally, since water flows downhill, you need what geologists call “relief” – uneven land. There’s no shortage of that in the hilly Ozarks.

As it flows beneath the Earth’s surface, the groundwater chemically and physically eats away at the limestone. This dissolves and erodes the rock forming the cavities that become caves. The same action also produces cave formations such as stalactites, stalagmites and many others. Unless it’s interrupted, this process will continue throughout the life of the cave, until the cave finally deteriorates and is destroyed by nature. Sometimes there are remnants — a natural bridge or tunnel, perhaps — to indicate that a cave was once there.

The process that left the Ozarks honeycombed with caves, springs and sinkholes is an extremely slow one. According to Vineyard, “It is very difficult to determine the age of a cave because the rates of water flow and chemical activity vary widely throughout time. The caves of the Ozarks are very old, but we really don’t know how old”.  

Bridal Cave, Lake of the Ozarks

If you own a company, consider hosting one of your meetings in our lakeside pavilion. Your team will love the break and the change of scenery will refresh them for work. If you aren't the owner, share Bridal Cave's blog with your boss. Maybe it will inspire them to take us up on hosting their next meeting at this amazing Lake of the Ozarks attraction


One of America's most scenic 
cave tours.

Visit us at www.BridalCave.com
Like us on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.
Follow us on Google+
Follow us on LinkedIn

526 Bridal Cave Road
Camdenton, MO 65020
(573) 346-2676