|Map courtesy of the Missouri Caves Association website|
A Show Cave is a cave that is open to the public for tours. Often they possess features like constructed trails and lighting to make tours easily accessible. Wild Caves are not so easy for the general public to make their way through, and sometimes impossible. Exploring these caves can be extremely dangerous and should only be done by a trained professional.
Show Caves are actually considered to be one of Missouri's first tourist attractions. Public lantern tours began in the early 1800's. You can hear stories about all kinds of fun and exciting history when you tour a Missouri Show Cave. Some tales include famous wedding legends (Bridal Cave), Jesse James' hideout (Meramec Caverns), Mark Twain's writing inspiration (Mark Twain Cave), caves used during the Civil War (Smallin Cave), hidden speakeasy's (Fantastic Caverns), and underground Dance Halls (Fantasy World Caverns).
During the Cold War, Missouri caves were officially designated as Civil Defense fallout shelters. Today, many show caves are used for storm shelters during bad weather.
We love our caves so much in these parts, there is even a "Cave State" license plate that Missouri residents can purchase. Funds collected from the sale of these plates are used to promote Missouri as "The Cave State," enhance educational programs, and support cave conservation programs. If this sounds like a great idea to you, visit the Missouri "The Cave State" license plate page to get your own.
The highest concentration of Show Caves in the state are actually located right here in the Lake of the Ozarks area. You can visit 5 different Show Caves that are all within 30 minutes of each other. That would make a pretty incredible weekend outing for anyone seeking an adventure!
Here are a few websites that you can visit to find out more about different caves in Missouri.
A tour of our Lake of the Ozarks year-round attraction is an excellent way to get out of the house and enjoy nature. Caves are incredible outings in any season because the inside of a cave remains a constant temperature. A trip inside of Bridal Cave will always be a comfortable 60 degrees, no matter what time of year that you visit. Stop in and see us soon, and make it a point to visit many of the other amazing "Cave State" caves in the near future too.
One of America's most scenic
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526 Bridal Cave Road
Camdenton, MO 65020