Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fishing is Big Family Fun at the Lake of the Ozarks

There are lots of exciting activities to enjoy when you're looking for family fun at the Lake of the Ozarks. One of these happens to be fishing, and our great big gorgeous body of water offers some of the best fishing in the nation. From bass to catfish to sun perch, there is a fish for everyone's liking. 


Great Fishing, All Year Long
The Lake of the Ozarks contains over 64 billion gallons of water and covers more than 54,000 acres. That's a lot of room to hold lots and lots of fish! Whether you are an experienced angler or a newbie to the sport, you can find tons of incredible fishing spots in and around the lake. 

The fish have plenty of natural habitats to thrive in, and local residents do their best to provide artificial ones too, giving the fish an assortment of places to live. As a matter of fact, every January Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park collect used Christmas trees and distribute them into the lake, helping to keep fishing in the area plentiful. 

Spring and summer might seem like the most popular seasons to fish at the Lake of the Ozarks, but it can actually be enjoyed all year long. In the fall, the fish are still lively and biting, plus the scenery all around the lake area is truly a site to behold. You'll need to bundle up well if you want to get out on the water in the winter, but it's not unheard of. If you're lucky, you will find one of the enclosed, heated fishing docks that some resorts in the area offer. 


Competitive Fishing
More than 500 professional and amateur fishing tournaments take place at the Lake of the Ozarks every year, and there's big money to be won doing it. One of the most popular competitions is coming up next month. The Big Bass Bash is happening April 22 & 23, 2017, and it is the largest amateur bass tournament in the nation. No pros are allowed, so it's a great one for anyone to give a try that normally fishes just for fun. The biggest bass caught that weekend will earn someone $70,000!        

Family Fun
It's not always all about competition when you fish on our lake. The activity is great for spending a relaxing day on the water with a bunch of good friends, and it's a great thing to do as a family. Fishing is a wonderful activity for any age, and your best tips and tricks can be passed down from generation to generation. 

You do need a fishing license if you live in Missouri and are between the ages of 16-64. For out-of-state visitors fishing in Missouri, you need a license if you are 16 years or older. Permits can be purchased at different places in the area, including many convenience stores and bait shops. You can also order them online, by phone, or through the MO Hunting app on your mobile device. Visit www.huntfish.mdc.mo.gov for more information.   

If your family isn't excited about catching the fish in the lake, you can enjoy feeding them from the dock at Thunder Mountain Park instead. There's always a group of giant grass carp hanging around, looking for a handout, and we offer free fish food to all children that ask for it.    


Show Us Your Big Catch & Win Bridal Cave Passes!
We've decided to host a fishing contest with a family pass to our Lake of the Ozarks family fun attraction as the prize! All you have to do is submit a picture of your big catch on our Bridal Cave Facebook page for a chance to win a pass good for 2 adults and 2 children to tour Bridal Cave. You've got until Friday, March 31 to get your pictures to us, and we'll announce a winner on Saturday, April 1. (No fooling!) 

Sometimes the weather doesn't cooperate when you want to go fishing, and other times those finicky fish simply don't feel like biting. Anytime you find yourself in one of those situations, that's the perfect time to explore Bridal Cave, the lake's all-weather attraction. It's a great place to stay warm and dry on cold or wet days, and the perfect place to cool off on the hot ones, since it's always a lovely 60° inside. No matter what you decide to do, you always know the Lake of the Ozarks offers plenty of Family Fun... As It Should Be!     


One of America's most scenic 
cave tours.

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

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Original Opening of Bridal Cave

A popular question from visitors to our scenic family attraction at the Lake of the Ozarks is "What was the first thing built in Thunder Mountain Park?" They are usually surprised to find out that the first structure built was actually the boat dock. As a matter of fact, it was one of the very first boat docks on the Lake of the Ozarks. (According to Union Electric, dock #527, to be exact!)

Bridal Cave, Thunder Mountain Park, Lake of the Ozarks

Why a Boat Dock First?
When the excavation of Bridal Cave's entrance started in the spring of 1948, there were no roads in the area yet. Two separate crews worked simultaneously to get the park opened. The first crew started their work at the old highway 5, where the built a road and parking lots, and also installed power lines. 

The second crew was hired to excavate the cave entrance, but the only way for them to reach the cave was by boat. Without that initial boat dock, they wouldn't have been able to get to work each morning. 

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

Opening the Cave
Since the first crew was still working on putting up power lines, all of the initial work done to open up the cave entrance was performed by the light of lanterns. The original entrance was very small, only 18" X 36." In the beginning, it had to be dug out by hand. 

The workers in charge of that were also responsible for building wooden walkways and wiring the cave for electric lights. Bridal Cave was one of the first cave tours to have electric lights. The original development of the cave took 6 months to complete. It was opened to the public for tours on October 16, 1948. 

Bridal Cave, Thunder Mountain Park, Lake of the Ozarks

The Weddings Begin
Soon after the opening of the cave to the public, inquiries began coming in about hosting weddings inside of it. While there were originally no intentions of holding weddings here, the continuous requests prompted Bridal Cave to host its first wedding on June 1, 1949, less than a year after its opening date. 

Mr. & Mrs. Basil Cole from Sedalia, MO had the honor of being the first couple married inside Bridal Cave in modern times. To this day, over 3,547 couples from all around the world have exchanged vows in our stalactite adorned underground bridal chapel, a very unique wedding venue at the Lake of the Ozarks

Bridal Cave, Thunder Mountain Park, Lake of the Ozarks

Look At Us Today
Over the past 69 years, Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park have continued to expand with the addition of more parking lots, the rock and mineral shop, the sportswear shop, nature trails, the picnic pavilion, and the gemstone sluice. (Which was just doubled in size recently! See our "Calling All Rock Hounds" blog for more about that.)

We've become one of the best attractions at the Lake of the Ozarks, visited by thousands of people from all over the world every year. Sometimes it hard to believe that it all started with a dock on the lake! We're certainly glad that someone had the vision to make this place a reality so that people from everywhere can visit us for 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, March 9, 2017

Spend Your Spring Break at the Lake of the Ozarks

It's time for Spring Break! You don't need to travel to some sandy beach to get away from everything. Our scenic Lake of the Ozarks attraction feels lucky to be located in the center of some of the most natural beauty in America. There's no need to travel any further than right here, the Midwest's Coast! 

There are buds on the trees and the flowers are beginning to bloom, the fish are biting, and the lake is calling out to us all! Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park are even extending our hours to kick off Spring Break, and we'll be open daily from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm beginning March 11, 2017. In addition to spending a day or two exploring all of the amazing things to discover at the park, there are plenty of other things to do at the lake to keep you entertained all week long. 



St. Patrick's Day Festivities
The Lake area loves to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, and this year celebrations are happening both the weekend before and the weekend after the holiday. The Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade on the historic Bagnell Dam Strip in Lake Ozark is Saturday, March 11 at 1:00 pm, but spectators always begin lining up long before that! After the parade, there will be live music and Irish food specials at many of the bars and restaurants along the parade route. 

The following Saturday, March 18, the other side of the lake is having their big parade, but this one's a St. Patrick's Day Parade on the water! You can decorate your own boat and join the fleet, or enjoy the show from the Celebration Cruise or Tropic Island boats. It begins and ends at Captain Ron's in Sunrise Beach, with boat's taking off at 10:00 am. Later that evening, you can join the St. Patrick's Day Short Bus Shuffle. A $10 wristband buys you a safe ride on the short bus to participating bars and restaurants featuring live entertainment plus food and drink specials.  

photo from Funlake.com 

Seasonal Restaurants
Right around this time of year, many of the seasonal waterfront restaurants open their doors and gear up for another incredible season. Many of your favorite spots are excited to get a new year started, and you can enjoy it all with delicious food, refreshing drinks, and that amazing lake view. 

Golf
There's plenty to do all around town throughout your Spring Break, and golfing is one of them. There are incredible courses all around the lake area. You can round out your weekend with the annual golf tournament at Osage National Golf Course in Lake Ozark on Sunday, March 19. The St. Patty's Open Golf Tournament is a 3-person scramble that includes brunch before and prizes after.   

Fishing
Fishing is another sport that is enjoyed on the wonderful Lake of the Ozarks, and it's also got a tournament happening on Sunday, March 19. The 1st Annual Twisted Cat Outdoors Catfish Tournament is for amateur catfish anglers to try their hand at catching the best catfish in the lake. Boats go in the water at Robin's Resort in Osage Beach at 7:30 am, and the tournament concludes at 3:30 pm.     



Shopping
If you consider shopping your sport of choice, all of the towns that make up the lake area are filled with intriguing stores, both large and small, to find all kinds of amazing things. Whether you are searching for clothing, local artwork, gourmet foods, home decor, souvenirs... you name it, the lake's got a store for that! Bridal Cave's gift shop is filled with lots of unique and exciting items too. At the center of it all is the Osage Beach Premium Outlet Mall, where you can spend an entire day (or two) power-shopping.  



The Beginning of Spring  
Spring officially begins on March 20, but the signs of it have already started peeking out everywhere that you look. Spring Break is a wonderful time to explore the many fantastic parks full of trails and unbelievable natural beauty to marvel at. The Lake of the Ozarks State Park, Ha Ha Tonka State Park, and of course, our very own Thunder Mountain Park are full of wonders to enjoy as you hike through them. Don't forget about the amazing things to see and learn about inside Bridal Cave, too! 



Join us right here on the Midwest Coast this year for Spring Break. There are lots of fun adventures waiting for you, and it's all centrally located so it's a fairly short trip for anyone in the Midwest to make for an amazing vacation. Don't forget that our Lake of the Ozarks family attraction is extending our hours for the season, so you can bring everyone here for a great time seven days a week from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. We'll be waiting for you to have some 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, March 2, 2017

Calling All Rock Hounds... The NEW Sluice Has Arrived!

If you have already visited our scenic family attraction at the Lake of the Ozarks, you saw a great big contraption next to the front door of the gift shop entrance. That was our sluice, which over one half million Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park guests enjoyed for the past 10 years. We say "was" because it is no longer there. Not to worry, though, because we've replaced this visitor favorite with an even bigger, even better sluice. 



What is a sluice?
Just in case you aren't familiar with what we are talking about, here is an explanation. A sluice is a water channel that is controlled at the head by a gate. When the gate is lifted, water flows from a tower through the sluice. Guests are invited to dump a sluice bag full of sand (and more) into the channel of clear, pristine water and pan for the gemstones which are hidden within the sand.      


Bigger and Better
This week, the crew of Sandy Creek Mining Company from Fostoria, Ohio delivered and installed our brand new, custom built sluice. Sandy Creek Mining Company is the premier sluice manufacturer in America, and they have installations at 450 locations in 20 countries around the world. 

Our new sluice is double in size of the old one we replaced. Now even more visitors can simultaneously enjoy the thrill of discovering the surprises waiting inside the sluice bags. With all of the additional spots available on our new sluice, there will be a lot less waiting around for a turn. 



New Sluice Bags Too
Over the past decade, Bridal Cave guests have enjoyed finding unique gemstones to take home from panning in our sluice. We will still have the usual selection of dazzling gemstone bags this season: Paydirt, Lucky Strike, and Emerald Bags. This year, though, we've added two more exciting choices. 

The first of these is Fossil  Bags, and our other new addition is called The Motherlode. The latter is a family-sized bag which includes all of the minerals and fossils that the other bags contain, but the Motherlode also has a large show piece specimen inside. This is sure to please any avid rock hound!  



What will YOU discover? 
You can join us at our exciting attraction at the Lake of the Ozarks right now and start panning for treasures. A special thanks goes out to the crew of Sandy Creek Mining Company for this new and improved addition to the park, and also to Catalyst Electric for installing the power to make it all work. The sluice is just one more reason among many that a visit to Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park is 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

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Myth, The Legend, and the Rare Book About It All

For the last three years, staff members at Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park have been conducting historical research on the cave and the surrounding lake area. This information is being put together for a brand new lantern tour of America's most scenic cave tour beginning this summer 2017. (Keep an eye out for more information about that soon!) 


Bridal Cave was named after a Native American legend which was detailed in the book "Indian Romances" published by Colonel R.G. Scott. Colonel Scott was once the owner of 5,400 acres of land in the lake area, including parts of what is now Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Bridal Cave, and Thunder Mountain Park.

Even though we were in possession of a copy of this Native American legend, in almost 70 years no one at the park had ever seen a copy of the actual book it was included in. It had been searched for over the years, but no one ever had any luck locating a copy of the book anywhere. Some even secretly began wondering if both the book and the legend ever existed or if they were just made up stories.  

Finally, someone had a little bit of luck! While doing a Google search on the cave and Col. Scott, an intriguing website fro the U.S. copyright office was found that listed a copyright for Robert Graham Scott in 1933 for a 141 page book titled "Indian Romances" to be published by Meador Publishing in Boston, Massachusetts. We now had proof that the existence of the book was quite possibly true. 


Further investigation found that Meador Publishing was no longer in the book business. Never ones to give up, our staff continued searching the web and came across a "book head hunter", so to speak. This is a person who searches for out of print, hard to find books. A mere 3 days after contacting this individual, he was able to find proof that the book did go to print, and even better, he located 3 copies! One copy is at the New York Library, another in the Mormon Library in Salt Lake, and the final copy was actually for sale by a rare book dealer in Springfield, OH. 

Bridal Cave immediately contacted the dealer to see if this was indeed the book we had been searching for, and that it mentioned Bridal Cave. Well, not only was it the right book, but chapter 11 is actually titled "THE Bridal Cave!" It includes the Native America legend that we are familiar with, plus an additional four pages of information about this region of the Ozark Mountains. An interesting footnote to this is that when the original cave developers, Mr Krehbiel, Mr. Banner, and Mr. Wilkerson, incorporated the company to develop the cave , the corporation was named "THE Bridal Cave Development Company Incorporated."

After a flurry of online communications, we are proud to announce that your favorite Lake of the Ozarks family attraction is now in possession of the only non-public copy of the book that gave our landmark attraction its name! If we are incorrect about that and you have information about another copy of the book, we would love to hear from you. 


Those of us here at Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park are currently researching whether or not this legendary book can be brought back into publication. It would make an excellent addition to our gift shop, allowing us to share this wonderful piece of historical literature with our visitors. We'll keep you posted if indeed it becomes available once again. 



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, February 15, 2017

Another Successful Wedding Vow Renewal For Valentine's Day 2017

As always, our FREE Wedding Vow Renewals at Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park were enjoyed by many happy couples. Every year this event is so very well received, you can bet it will be happening again and again for many years to come! Just in case you didn't have a chance to make it to our unique wedding chapel at the Lake of the Ozarks this past weekend, we've got a few of the highlights for you in today's blog.


Last Sunday, February 12, 2107, we helped 222 couples renew their wedding vows for an early celebration of Valentine's Day. Five different states were represented this year, including Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee. One of the couples that joined us were able to renew their vows on the 50th anniversary of their honeymoon at the Lake of the Ozarks. They even showed up with some old postcards and brochures from their visit as newlyweds.   

If you combine the years of marriage between every couple that attended our annual event, a total 4,133 years of marriage were represented last Sunday! The couple that had been married the shortest amount of time tied the knot just six months ago. The husband and wife that had been married the longest were married 60 years ago. 


Every couple that renewed their wedding vows received a goody bag full of all kinds of free treats, including a lifetime pass to Bridal Cave. This year we did something a little different and had an additional drawing for a grand prize, and the lucky husband and wife that won are Richard and Amy Caywood, Bridal Cave couple #3,426, from Osage Beach. Their grand prize contained two tickets to the concert of their choice at Ozarks Amphitheater, overnight accommodations at Old Kinderhook Lodge, and a limo ride to and from the concert. 

Grand Prize Winners
Get Married At Bridal Cave
If the reason that you didn't join us this year is because you're not married, but soon will be, then Bridal Cave may be the perfect place for you to say "I do" to each other for the first time. Not only do we have our underground wedding chapel inside the cave available, but you may also get married at the Lake of the Ozarks in our outdoor lakeside pavilion. The cave can accommodate up to 50 guests standing, and the pavilion can hold up to 80 seated guests.

We have some wonderful wedding packages available that take care of many of the wedding planning details for you. If you don't see exactly what you have in mind, give us a call and we will do our best to help bring your wedding dreams to life. Reservations are accepted with a minimum of seven days notice. You can reserve your date or find out additional information by calling 573-346-2676


   
Join Us For Our 2018 Renewal Of Vows
Thank you to everyone that participated in this year's free vow renewals at Bridal Cave. We'd also like to say a special thank you to all of our sponsors. They help to make this wonderful event even better. 
  • Lindsey Webster Photography
  • Janine's Flowers
  • Ozark Amphitheater
  • KRMS 97.5 FM
  • 93.5 Rocks 
Next year's event is already in the planning stages. Mark your calendars now for Sunday, February 11, 2108. There is no limit to the amount of times you may attend our yearly renewal of vows at Bridal Cave. As a matter of fact, we'd be thrilled to see you back here every year. It's a wonderful way to keep the romance alive in your marriage, all set in the beautiful backdrop of our stalactite adorned underground wedding chapel. 



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, February 10, 2017

5 Reasons to Renew Your Vows

Just in time for Valentine's Day, we are hosting our annual vow renewal ceremony on Sunday, February 12th, 2017. To celebrate a special day with your love, plan to attend our most anticipated annual event at the Lake of the Ozarks! Since there are a TON of great reasons to renew your vows, take advantage of our FREE vow renewals!

1) Rekindle that Flame


No matter how long you have been married, you may need to recreate the spark that brought you together in the first place. A wedding is such an emotional and lovely occasion, and the perfect way to rekindle the flame between husband and wife!

2) Celebrate a Milestone Anniversary


A milestone anniversary is a BIG DEAL!  It does not matter if it is five years or fifty, it is important to honor your years of marriage. If you are reaching a major anniversary, celebrate your love for one another with a vow renewal!

3) A Fresh Start


Many times a marriage will hit a bumpy patch, if you and your significant other need a fresh start, renew your vows at Bridal Cave! We would be honored to help you remember what brought you together and celebrate how far you have come on our special vow renewal day.

4) Incorporate Family Who Missed the Big Day


Whether you have children and didn't before you were married or have family members who couldn't make it to your special day, recapture your love one another at our vow renewal ceremony. To help  cherish your love for each other and be a part of the new memory, it is important to renew your vows.

5) Because You Want To


Do you need any reason at all? If you and your spouse want to renew your wedding vows to one another, DO IT! You won't regret sharing time together, celebrating your love for each other at our vow renewal ceremony.

Who: YOU & that special someone in your life!

What: FREE Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony

When: Sunday, February 12th, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m.

Where: Your favorite cave at the Lake of the Ozarks!

Each couple will receive fresh flowers for the bride, from Janine's Flowers and Lindsey Webster Photography will take a wedding portrait, available online. You can also enter to win two tickets to a concert at Ozarks Amphitheater with overnight accommodations at Old Kinderhook, a goodie bag with gifts and discounts for area businesses, AND a lifetime pass to Bridal Cave!

Celebrate your Love at Bridal Cave!


Bring your loved one out for a romantic day in which you make new memories, together. Love will certainly be in the air at our annual vow renewal ceremony! No matter what your reasoning, renewing your vows is a lovely gesture to celebrate your love for one another.  Bridal Cave is the place to be for your wedding vow renewals at the Lake of the Ozarks!

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