Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Life Inside the Cave

Cave Salamander
There is life inside of Bridal Cave, but much of it is rarely seen.  When you walk through one of mid-Missouri's most scenic cave tours, you are only viewing a small portion of the vast cave that lies beyond.  Biospeliology is the study of organisms that live in caves.  These scientist have provided us with lots of information about the living organisms that live both in and around caves in Missouri.  


Biospeleologists seperate the things that live in caves into three categories:  

  • Troglobites - Organisms that would not be able to survive for very long outside of the cave. (white and blind cavefish, millipedes, crustaceans (crayfish, isopods, and amphipods) and planaria)
  • Troglophiles - Those that live in caves, but are not restricted to them. (pigmented amphipods, isopods living in cave streams and cave pools, fish that move up streams into caves and many insects)
  • Trogloxenes - Anything that spends a large portion of life inside of a cave, but could not survive their entire life in one. (may use a cave to hibernate, as do bears, pickerel frogs and certain moths, or they might roost in caves during the day and exit the cave at night to feed, as do bats and cave crickets)
Pickerel Frog
Some living things choose to live in or near the mouths of caves.  It offers them protection from the weather.  Birds sometimes build nests here, and snakes like the cool air coming from the cave on very hot days.  The low light and cooler air makes it a great place for mosses and walking ferns to grow also.  

A bit deeper into the cave is referred to as "The Twilight Zone."  Light diminishes quickly the further that you go.  Some of the animals that like to hang out in the entrance will venture this far inside of the cave. 

The cave walls are filled with proof of things that lived there in the past.  Bedrock fossils in the walls once lived in the ocean that covered what is now Missouri.  If you look closely, you may see fossil corral, brachiopods (shelled creatures), and crinoid (sea lilies.)  Criniod are actually Missouri's state fossil.  In the past, explorers have even found skulls from extinct saber-toothed tigers and giant lions in our Missouri caves.  When there were more black bears in the area, there would be claw marks, paw prints, and beds where they hibernated inside the caves.  

Crinoid Fossil
Even deeper into the cave, this is called the Dark Zone.  The majority of a cave never sees any light at all.  Different living organisms can be found in here, and they generally choose their habitat between the dark zones with fluctuating temperatures and the dark zones with constant temperatures.  

Eastern Pipistrelle Bat
Bats are well-known for living in caves, but they are not restricted to them.  They can also live in barns, forests, belfries, and many other areas.  The bats inside of caves can be found roosting alone, or they can be found in a cluster that is made up of 100's of bats per square foot of the cluster! 

A telltale sign that bats are roosting in a specific part of a cave is the guano (bat droppings) underneath them.  Since food inside caves is scarce, this bat guano provides nourishment for many smaller organisms.  Some species of bats only live in caves in the summer, others only hibernate there in the winter, while still others stay inside of the cave all year long. 

The deepest, darkest areas of a cave contain animals that have never been in the light.  They are usually pink or white because their skin has lost the ability to produce pigment.  They are often blind too.  Over the thousands of years that these species have lived in the cave, they have adapted to their environment. Other sensory structures have become more developed to compensate.  The things that you find inside the cave will have longer antennae and longer legs than their surface-dwelling counterparts.  



There are many different types of life to find inside of a cave, but you really have to look closely to see it.  Most animals live outside where they can more easily find food to survive.  Bridal Cave is an interesting place, full of mysteries that have been discovered by some biospeleologists, and many more that we are yet to uncover.  Life inside of a cave is exciting.  The next time you tour our Lake of the Ozarks cave, keep a close watch on everything that you pass.  You never know what you may find.  




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


Monday, December 21, 2015

Recycle Your Old Christmas Tree at Bridal Cave

We care deeply about nature here at Bridal Cave and Thunder Mountain Park. Any opportunity that we have to take care of wildlife and the natural resources that make the Lake area so beautiful, we are all for it.  This holiday season you can join us in our efforts by recycling your Christmas tree after you take it down for the season.  


Bridal Cave, Lake of the Ozarks, Camdenton, Christmas Tree recycling


The best family attraction at the Lake of the Ozarks has the perfect thing for you to do with your tree after all of the decorations are packed away.  Bring it to us and we will turn it into a fish habitat.  Not only does this offer a happy home for the fish, but it's a great way to attract fish to specific spots in the lake to improve fishing.  It's a wonderful way to make sure the tree is put to good use after the holidays, and it's also a great lesson for children about recycling and caring for wildlife. 

Most Missouri landfills do not accept Christmas trees, leaving people with a big, bulky tree to get rid of and no place to take it.  Greg Stoner, a Fisheries Management Biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation , said, "This is a  win-win situation.  It will help keep discarded trees from along the lake's roadways and provides much needed cover for fish at the lake."  



Bridal Cave, Lake of the Ozarks, Camdenton, Christmas Tree recycling
      

This year you can drop off your old Christmas tree with all of the decorations removed from 9 am - 4 pm daily at Bridal Cave & thunder Mountain Park at 526 Bridal Cave Road, just north of Camdenton.  Used Christmas trees will be placed in the Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks to provide much needed habitats for the many species of fish that live in our lake.

Steve Thompson, General Manager of the Thunder Mountain Park, stated, "It seemed like an ideal opportunity to help recycle the old Christmas trees as we have the room on our parking facility to collect the discarded trees, are located right on the lake, and have the shoreline to place the beds."  Bridal Cave will be thanking everyone that helps us with this project by dropping off their tree with a coupon good for 25% off admissions anytime during the 2016 season


Once you are finished enjoying your Christmas tree this year, bring it on over to our Lake of the Ozarks attraction and let us take care of the rest.  You are welcome to drop them off any day during business hours until January 10, 2016, except for New Year's Day when Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park are closed.  If you would like more information, please contact Steve Thompson at 573-346-2676 or info@bridalcave.com.            




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

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Rocks, Minerals, and Gemstones

All kids love rocks, and the best of us are truly kids at heart.  Recently, Bridal Cave's general manager, Steve Thompson, had the youthful joy of spending some time in warehouses full of rocks and minerals from around the world.  One of the best features of our Lake of the Ozarks gift shop is the wide variety of incredibly beautiful and interesting rocks, minerals, and gemstones that we have for sale.  




Steve traveled to Orlando, Florida to meet in person with the direct rock, gem, fossil, and mineral importers that Bridal Cave purchases our high-quality items from.  Traveling to meet these direct importers lets us hand select every item that we offer you.  

Orders have been placed, and by February 2016, our rock and mineral shop will be fully stocked with popular items such as:  

  • Himalayan Salt
  • Amethyst from Brazil
  • Highly Banded Onyx from Pakistan
  • Geodes from Morocco.  

We will also be featuring many items from newly found deposits from around the world.  These are just a sampling of the exciting items coming:           

  • Rare Black Amethyst
  • Spirit Quartz, Black Selenite
  • New Snowball Himalayan Salt Lamps
  • Peruvian Pyrite, Chalcopyrite Pyrite
  • Gemstone Skulls and Masks.  


Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park, Camdenton MO, Lake of the Ozarks,
Amethyst Churches


Amethyst

A semiprecious stone that can credit its beautiful color to irradiation, iron impurities, and the presence of trace elements.  Its name's origin might surprise you- it comes from the Ancient Greek:  a ("not) and methystos ("intoxicated")  Greeks used to make drinking vessels adorned with this stone believing that it would keep them from becoming intoxicated.  Amethyst is also believed to bring about:  serenity, peace, courage, happiness, pain relief, enhanced psychic abilities, and much more.  The Amethyst Churches in our gift shop make a stunning addition to any room. 


Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park, Camdenton MO, Lake of the Ozarks,
New Pyrite Eggs

Pyrite

You may know this better as "Fool's Gold."  Pyrite is the most common of the sulfate minerals, and this name also has Greek origins, coming from their workd pyrites ("of fire" or "in fire")   




Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park, Camdenton MO, Lake of the Ozarks,
Citrine


Citrine

Citrine is considered a wealth stone in feng shui.  It has been referred to in the past as the "merchant's stone." Citrine got its name due to its color, which can range from a deep shade of golden yellow to greenish-yellow, brownish, or orange.           
Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park, Camdenton MO, Lake of the Ozarks,
Cobalton Calcite


Cobalton Calcite

This is a carbonate mineral.    It can be found with no color, or shades of white, gray, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown, or even black when it is charged with impurities. Cobalton Calcite is sometimes called the "stone of love."  It encourages positivity and dispels negative energy.  
    



Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park carry only the highest quality specimens at the very best prices.  Semis loaded full of our new inventory will begin arriving in mid-January, stocking our rock and mineral shop just in time for February 14, 2016 and our annual Renewal of Vows for Free event.  We've still got plenty of last year's inventory for you to choose from for everyone on your holiday gift-giving list.  Stop by soon and see for yourself the beautiful and amazing rocks, minerals, and gemstones that we have to offer.    





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, December 8, 2015

Happy Holiday Fun at the Lake of the Ozarks

The holidays bring families together, but sometimes it's difficult to figure out what to do to keep everyone entertained.  The Lake of the Ozarks is busy with activity during this season, offering up lots of wonderful ways to keep everyone happy and in the holiday spirit. 



One excellent activity is to enjoy one of America's most scenic cave tours. (That's our favorite thing to do!)  Here is Bridal Cave's list of a few of the many family-friendly things to do this month.  

Visit Bridal Cave

A lot businesses shut down for the winter around here, but not us!  Bridal Cave is the only major attraction at the Lake of the Ozarks that stays open throughout the winter.  You can escape the commercialization of the holidays for an hour or two by exploring nature at its best.  The cave is always a comfortable 60 degrees inside, and it's fun for all ages.  This is a serene, beautiful experience that is a nice change from the hustle and bustle of crowded stores.  For a bit of warm winter fun in the middle of a cold, hectic holiday, bring the entire family in for a tour of Bridal Cave.  

Watch a Parade

The Lake of the Ozarks "Christmas Magic" parade will take place across the historic Bagnell Dam Strip on Saturday, December 12 beginning at 1:00 pm. Following the parade at 4:30 pm, people will meet at Eagle's Landing to caravan to a Holiday Bonfire below the dam.  There you can share hot chocolate, coffee, and other refreshments with Santa, along with some Christmas caroling.    

Celebrate an Old Tyme Christmas


Also on Saturday, December 12 on the other side of the Lake area, the Camden County Museum and the City of Linn Creek are presenting an Old Tyme Christmas.  This will feature a breakfast with Santa, historic home tours, Christmas caroling, a sock hop, and more.  You can find the full day's schedule online or call 573-346-7191 for more information.  


Go Ice Skating

The Lake of the Ozarks has its very own outdoor ice rink at Old Kinderhook in Camdenton.  You can free-skate all winter long, and they have special days and times to play pond hockey and broomball.  On weekends until Christmas, they are featuring a special Christmas Village with s'mores around the fire pit, carolers, horse drawn carriage rides, Santa, and elf storytelling.    

Take a Cruise

Celebration Cruises is once again hosting their annual Deck the Docks cruise to benefit the Dogwood Animal Shelter.  You will get to view beautifully lit docks and lakefront homes in the area, all while enjoying appetizers and entertainment donated by local restaurants and musicians.  Reservations are required, and they always book up fast.  You will find dates and reservation information on their website.  

Catch a Show

The Main Street Music Hall is performing a special Christmas show full of live music and comedy.  You can get show dates and ticket information from their website or call 573-348-9500.  There are also performances scheduled all over the entire Lake area by the Lake Area Community Orchestra and the Lake Area Concert Chorale.  The Lake Arts Calendar of Events has the full list for you. 




There is an entire list of fun-filled things to do with your family while everyone is visiting for the holidays.  The Lake of the Ozarks is a great place to enjoy all year long, not only in the summer.  You can explore the Lake of the Ozarks best family friendly attraction almost every day of the year.  We are only closed 3 times each year:  Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.  The rest of the time, we are here, ready and waiting to welcome you and your family to Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park.  Wishing you, your family, and your friends all a wonderful holiday season.  We hope to see you soon.        




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

Friday, December 4, 2015

Unique Holiday Gifts from Bridal Cave

Christmas is coming, and finding that perfect gift can sometimes be a challenge. If you want to give the people on your list something unique and special, a visit to our Lake of the Ozarks gift shop should be your first stop.  Bridal Cave has an incredible variety of gift ideas for you to choose from.  


Bridal Cave, Lake of the Ozarks, Camdenton MO, gift shop


In Bridal Cave's gift shop, you will find home decor, beautiful rocks and minerals, gemstones, jewelry, candy, and so much more.  There are even some great books and educational materials for rock hounds of all ages.  One cool gift from here just may ignite a love of caving in a child or an adventurous soul on your shopping list.  Here are a few great choices to get you started. 





Onyx



Bridal Cave is world renowned for its onyx formations.  Onyx is a Calcite formation.  It takes millions of years to form this beautiful gemstone from water depositing minerals along the ceiling, walls, and floor of the cave.  Traditionally Onyx is one of the best gemstones for engraving and cameos.  Our Camdenton gift shop features unusual kitchen utensils, decorated vases, and paper weights adorned with onyx, as well as some amazing jewelry.  


Jewelry



Bridal Cave, Lake of the Ozarks, Camdenton MO, gift shop
There are lots of options when it comes to our jewelry collection.  An extremely popular item is our wire-wrapped jewelry.  This type of treasure is not mass produced because machines cannot do what hands can.  Each one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry from Bridal Cave is painstakingly handcrafted in Indonesia specifically for our gift shop.  Receiving this for Christmas is extra-special because no one piece is like any other.  



Himalayan Salt


Our rock shop stocks only the very best Himalayan Salt products imported from Pakistan, including fire bowls, candle holders, raw chunks, and salt lamps.  Salt lamps are excellent in a home because they are natural negative ion generators.  The unique combination of salt and heat from the lamp causes these negative ions.  The Himalayan Salt attracts water and the heat evaporates it.  Mold, bacteria, and allergens often carry a positive charge which can be neutralized by the negative ions produced from these salt lamps, making it a great gift for any home or office.    


Agate



No other gemstone is as creatively striped by nature than Agate.  It is a variety of quartz characterized by its fineness of grain and brightness of color.  Legend says that Agate has a lot of beneficial qualities for people:  improves memory & concentration, increases stamina, encourages honesty, prevents insomnia & insures pleasant dreams, enhances personal courage, protects one against danger, provides a calming influence, and improves perception & concentration. WHEW!  That's a lot to expect from one gemstone!  It is also believed to be especially helpful to people born under the sign of Gemini.  No matter what you believe about it, it is definitely a beautiful gemstone to give as a gift.  Some of the items that we carry are bookends, large and small slabs, and even lamps. 

Bridal Cave, Lake of the Ozarks, Camdenton MO, gift shop


That is just a very small sampling of the wonderful things that you will find when you visit our unique gift shop at the Lake of the Ozarks.  While you are here, journey through one of America's most scenic cave tours.  That trip may inspire you to pick up a few Bridal Cave gift certificates to stuff in those stockings. Enjoy the season, and happy shopping!  




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, November 27, 2015

Get Married in Bridal Cave!

Bridal Cave, Camdenton MO, Lake of the Ozarks, weddingsGetting married is one of the most important things that you will do in your lifetime.  Making the experience fun and unique will make it even more special. One of the most incredible places to get married at the Lake of the Ozarks at Bridal Cave.  

If you are planning a small wedding of under 100 people and you are a couple with a flair for adventure, then Bridal Cave may be the perfect wedding venue for you.  It is an absolutely breathtaking backdrop for your nuptials with a lot of history.  Over 3,000 couples from around the world have exchanged vows here with us.      



Get Married Any Time of the Year



Bridal Cave is a perfect place to get married, no matter what time of year it is. Our stalactite adorned chapel inside of the cave is available year round and can fit up to 50 people.  The temperature remains at a constant, comfortable 60 degrees, so you know exactly what to expect on your wedding day, no matter what the temperature is outside.  

If you would prefer to get married with the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks for the backdrop, we also have an outdoor pavilion that has seating for up to 80 guests. A new waterfall and botanical garden are being prepared for the 2016 spring wedding season.  Even more gorgeous atmosphere to add to what is already here.    



Bridal Cave, Camdenton MO, Lake of the Ozarks, weddings



Award-winning Wedding Venue

You don't just have to take our word for it.  We have been given a few spectacular titles and awards over the years for our weddings at Bridal Cave.  



Bridal Cave, Camdenton MO, Lake of the Ozarks, weddings


Wedding Packages


We offer a couple of different packages to fit your wedding day needs. Reservations are taken with a minimum of 7 days notice.  If anyof your guests would like to take a cave tour before the wedding, we are happy to extend them a 25% discount discount on all admissions.     

Bridal Cave, Camdenton MO, Lake of the Ozarks, weddings


Bridal Cave, Camdenton MO, Lake of the Ozarks, weddings


Our wedding prices will be increasing slightly in 2016 (for the first time in a decade), but there is still time to lock in the 2015 prices for your ceremony.  If you book your wedding by December 31, 2015, we will honor this year's pricing, which is a savings of $95.00.  If you know for sure that you would like to say "I do" at Bridal Cave, give us a call and get your date booked.   

Getting married at the Lake of the Ozarks is a beautiful way to start your new life together as man and wife.  Having the ceremony at Bridal Cave is the perfect way to make the experience even more unique and special.  If you would like more information about weddings at Bridal Cave, please visit our website to view our brochure or give us a call at 573-346-2676.  




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 19, 2015

Caves Are Fun, No Matter What the Weather!

The days are getting colder outside and a lot of attractions around the Lake area have closed down for the season.  Well, the best year-round attraction at the Lake of the Ozarks is still open, and we will stay open, no matter what the weather.  It doesn't matter what's going on outside because Bridal Cave remains a pleasant 60 degrees all of the time.  

Bridal Cave has been in continuous, year-round operation since 1948.  It can be freezing in the winter and blistery hot in the summer outdoors, but our cave temperature remains at a comfortable 60 degrees.  This phenomena has a name - the "Mean Temperature."  If you add together the high temperature of each day for a year and average those, you will come up with 60 degrees.  Cool, huh! This constant temperature allows us to host a reliable and fun attraction to visit any day.      



COLD WINTER

If it gets below freezing outside, you might be tempted to hide in the house, all cozy and warm.  This is fine for a while, but soon you'll fell the desire to get out of there.  Imagine how nice it will be to step into Bridal Cave, shed that heavy winter coat, and feel like it's a cool, Fall day again.  It will feel downright warm after running through the cold from the car to the cave entrance.  



HOT SUMMER

Occasionally, summer days at the Lake of the Ozarks will be in the 90's.  Even if you stay cool in the lake or a pool, after a while that sun gets to be too much. A nice break from the constant heat is to take a tour through the cooler temps of the cave.  60 degrees on the hottest days in the summer is an unbelievable relief from the heat.    


RAIN & SNOW

If it's raining outside, the cave is the perfect place to duck out of the precipitation and still enjoy a little nature.  A day on the water isn't a lot of fun when the water is coming into the boat!  It's tough to get a game of golf in when it's pouring, too.  If the schools are having a snow day but you've got no problem getting out of your driveway, you're going to want to find something fun to do.  Exploring Bridal Cave keeps you away from the elements and entertained.  



You are welcome to visit us for a tour from 9 am - 4 pm nearly every single day of the year.  The only days that Bridal Cave will be closed are Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.  Celebrate with your family and friends on those three days, then bring the whole gang to explore with us the day after!

What we're trying to say is, Bridal Cave is fun, no matter what the weather! Warm winter fun, cool summer fun, dry rainy day fun...  We've got it all.  The next time you feel trapped in the house and need something fun to do, head on over to one of the most scenic caves in America.  You'll be glad that you did.     


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 12, 2015

Explore Thunder Mountain Park

The most scenic cave tour in Missouri is surrounded by the natural beauty of Thunder Mountain Park.  This incredible Lake of the Ozarks attraction covers hundreds of acres.  It spreads over more than a mile of Lake of the Ozraks shoreline, a mile of highway frontage along Old Missouri Route 5, and all the acreage in between.  That is a lot of nature to be explored!


Establishing the park


Thunder Mountain Park was established in 1950 in order to protect the caves within it.  The amazing colors and incredible onyx formations inside of Bridal Cave are all formed by minerals from rain water that seeps into the ground. This is a process called deposition.  Preserving the natural state of the park above the cave prevents any changes to the surface area, which could have a detrimental impact on the deposition process.  Protecting the surface area protects the water quality, which in turn protects the cave.    
Aerial view of Thunder Mountain before 1950


A unique, rural attraction



Bridal Cave is just one of many caves inside of Thunder Mountain Park.  There are actually 11 caves here, including Bear Cave, which is found along a half-mile lakeside nature trail.  This trail offers unique rock outcroppings and spectacular lake views.  You can arrange to take a flashlight tour of Bear Cave as a part of our 2-hour educational field trip tour. (This is by reservation only for groups of 15 or more.)      

One very unique fact about this family attraction at the Lake of the Ozarks is that it is within a very rural setting.  Many of the local attractions at the Lake are surrounded my mini-golf courses, shopping malls, and restaurants.  When you visit Thunder Mountain Park, you are likely to pass houses with children playing in the yard and riding bikes instead of those other touristy things.  





Once inside the park area, you may catch glimpses of an abundance of wildlife.  Sightings are often reported of whitetail deer, bald eagles, turkeys, red foxes, squirrels, and groundhogs.  It is very accurate to describe a trip here as a back to nature experience that is reminiscent of the Ozark Mountains as they were decades ago. 

Thunder Mountain Park is full of complex plant and animal communities.  It contains glades and savannas. Depending on which part of the park that you are in, you will experience a variety of sights.  The south side gets the most sunlight, so it gets green the fastest in the spring, but dries up the quickest in the summer.  The north side gets the least sun exposure, so it stays moist much longer.  If you make your way down to the hollow, the temperatures will be just a bit cooler than elsewhere in the park.  These differences attribute to the particular plants and animals that choose to live in different sections of the park.




So much to explore


Thunder Mountain Park is a great day outdoors that can be visited many times for a wonderful day full of nature fun.  Its includes:


  • Bridal Cave tours
  • an underground wedding chapel
  • a lakeside wedding pavilion
  • a boat dock where you can feed the fish (no fishing allowed)
  • a lakeside picnic pavilion with seating for up to 80
  • a scenic lookout over the Big Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks
  • a working sluice where you can pan for gemstones
  • a souvenir shop
  • an extensive rock and mineral shop

  
In the center of Thunder Mountain Park is the Thunder Mountain Conservation Area.  This spot is operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation and includes: 

  • a visitors center
  • 3/4-mile nature trail
  • archery lanes
  • picnic facilities
  • a 100-foot tall fire tower, with a viewing platform at 80-feet  
Thunder Mountain Conservation Area 

The future


Plans are well-underway for improvements and additions to the park.  These include:
  • additional landscaping
  • new park benches
  • new picnic tables
  • a waterfall
  • a botanical garden

Thunder Mountain Park is already a spectacular place to explore.  The work that is currently being done on this amazing Lake of the Ozarks attraction is turning it into an even more incredible place to spend an eventful day.  Visit us soon to enjoy all that our park has to offer, and please come back often.  With all of the wildlife, natural beauty, and seasonal changes that the Lake area has to offer, you are sure to have a different adventure every time that you visit.  

      


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, November 6, 2015

The History of Bridal Cave

Bridal Cave has a very interesting past.  It's story goes back long before the Lake of the Ozarks was created.  As early as 8,000 BC, Native Americans were using caves in the area for shelter, and more than likely Bridal Cave was one of those used.  We will begin this tale with the first organized exploration over 150 years ago of what is now known as one the best attractions at the Lake of the Ozarks.


Bridal Cave Visitors Center, 1968


1856 
The first organized exploration of portions of Bridal Cave is recorded.  B.D. Dodson is credited with this feat.  The next major exploration is done by S.W. Burke four years later.  

1894
Over 5400 acres of land is purchased by Colonel R.G. Scott.  That area is now known as Ha Ha Tonka State Park, and it includes Bridal Cave.  Colonel Scott is very impressed and wants to know how it got the name Bridal Cave, so he begins researching the subject.  He is credited for being the first person to publish the now famous legend of Bridal Chapel in his book, "Indian Romances."




1903
F.M. Snyder buys 2500 acres of the original Ha Ha Tonka tract.  Not only does this section include Bridal Cave, but six other major caves too.  

1922
Noted archaeologist Gerald Fowke states that "Formations within Bridal Cave are equal to those of Wyandotte and the Caverns of Luray."  High praise, because those are considered the two most scenic caves in America.   

BF Krehbiel - Developer and
Eddie Miller - First Manager


1929
Construction begins on Bagnell Dam, and in 1931 the Lake of the Ozarks begins to fill in.

1947    
Bridal Cave is purchased by B.F. Krehbiel and he decides to open it to the public.  He also plays key roles in the development of Ozark Caverns, Fantasy World Caverns, and Fantastic Caverns.  BF and Myrtle Krehbiel have two partners in the initial purchase and development of Bridal Cave - James H. Banner and R.L. Wilkerson.  Lee W. Farmer would join the ownership group in the late 1950's. Members of the Krehbiel, Wilkerson, and Farmer families are still involved in the ownership of Bridal Cave today.       

October 16, 1948
Bridal Cave officially opens to the public.  It takes six months to prepare for the opening of the cave entrance, including building a road from Highway 5.  

1949
The first couple (in modern times) is married in Bridal Cave Chapel.  Mr. & Mrs. Basil Cole of Sedalia, Missouri return every year on their anniversary for over 50 years.  

1968
A new visitor's center is constructed at the cave entrance.  Today it is used for the Bridal Cave souvenir shop.  

1981
Divers get a chance to explore the lake inside of the cave.  It is given the name "Mystery Lake" because of a very curious finding.  There is only one entrance to the cave that has ever been discovered, yet somehow wood debris made its way into the bottom of the lake.  It is a complete mystery how early explorers moved what looks to be old scaffolding or a raft so far back into the cave.  

1988
Plans are announced for constructing a tunnel to connect the lake section to the historic Bridal Cave section.  

1990
Noted as the first major cave opening in over 20 years, this new section of Bridal Cave is opened to the public.  



1993
The grand opening of the new visitor's center at Thunder Mountain Park takes place.  All of the original buildings were removed in 1992 for this update.  


1995
The newest addition to the park is presented to the public.  Thunder Mountain Mining Company is presented as a complete rock and mineral shop.    

2003
A group of four people venture into the far reaches of Bridal Cave.  It has not been traveled in for 22 years, since the exploration of Mystery Lake in 1981. This section is now fully mapped above water, and the exploration of the underwater portions seem promising.

2013
Bridal Cave turns 65.  It celebrates by hosting the National Caves Association Convention.  Over 150 cave owners and operators attend from all over the world.  

2014
Glamour magazine names Bridal Chapel one of the "Top 10 Most Unique Wedding Venues in America".  

2015
A record is set for 209 ceremonies being performed in Bridal Chapel in one day during the annual "Renew Your Vows For Free for Valentine's Event".  Bridal Cave also surpasses its 3000 weddings mark.  




TODAY
This past September, 2015, Thunder Mountain Park began an aggressive beautification improvement project.  Among the many improvements planned are additional landscaping, new park benches and picnic tables, a waterfall, and botanical garden.      

A lot of exciting things have happened over the years to make Bridal Cave the best family attraction at the Lake of the Ozarks.  We expect it to keep getting better and better.  Visit us soon, and visit us often.  There is a lot to discover and lot more tales to tell.  


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