Friday, May 27, 2016

A Breathtaking View from Thunder Mountain's 80-foot Observation Tower

If you think you have seen everything here at the Lake of the Ozarks, but you have not yet climbed the observation tower in Thunder Mountain Park, then we've got an amazing lake view in store for you. This bird's-eye-view of the entire park, as well as the gorgeous lake, is a site that no one visiting our Lake of the Ozarks scenic attraction should miss. 


The observation tower at the top of Thunder Mountain is operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation and completely open to the public. This fire tower is 100-feet tall, with a viewing platform at 80-feet. 


The History of Missouri's Fire Towers

Due to the abundance of forests in Missouri, the state began putting up these fire towers on ridges and hilltops. They allowed people to see for miles, keeping a lookout for lines of smoke that would indicate a forest fire. These wooden fire towers began going up as early as 1927 in state parks, but there were not a lot of them.  

The federal government got involved in the 1930's. They put the Civilian Conservation Corps to work building over 50 towers made of steel in Missouri's national forests. This was a great improvement, but there was still much land, both in the state forests and private areas, that was not visible. 

In 1939, money became available from the federal government that was allowed to be used for fire protection outside of national forests. The Missouri Department of Conservation started buying land to put new fire towers on. They eventually erected 31 state fire towers. 

A lot of these new towers had to be made from wood, due to the limited availability and restrictions on steel because of World War II. The fire tower above Bridal Cave was one of the first two of these built in the Lake of the Ozarks area. It was completed in early 1942.   



There was a small, 7-foot square cabin at the top of these fire towers. The were only big enough to hold a small heater, since most fires happened in the dry, colder months, a stool for the tower man to sit on, and on Osbourne Fire Finder. The Osbourne device is what the tower man used to determine the location of a possible fire. He then had to climb down the tower to phone a dispatcher with that location. The phone was located in the tower man's house at the base of the fire tower. 

Eventually, steel replaced the wood. The new towers would arrive as kits that had to be bolted together and mounted on concrete footings. In the mid-1980's, many fire towers were no longer necessary. Airplanes could cover much more ground. Once the pilots spotted a smoke line, it was easy to radio the location to the local fire department quickly. Still, on days that the planes are unable to fly for one reason or another, the fire towers that are still standing come in handy. 

Stop by & enjoy the view!

The fire tower at Thunder Mountain Park is one of the few remaining in the lake area. Visitors are invited to climb to the observation deck and enjoy the breathtaking view that it offers. The next time you are planning to be in the Camdenton area, we highly recommend taking a trip to the tower. This is just one of the many unique reasons that our fun, family attraction at the Lake of the Ozarks stands out among the rest. 



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, May 20, 2016

See What Our Visitors Have To Say About Bridal Cave

Every week we share the wonders and beauty of our scenic Lake of the Ozarks attraction with you in our words. This week, we decided to show you Bridal Cave through the experiences that a few of our visitors shared on different review platforms about us. Here is what they had to say.



~Dexter G., Facebook review
"My wife and took our first tour of this Cave today and absolutely loved it. Our guide was a young lady, she was very knowledgeable and funny. While this was our first tour of the place we have been to the park several times and I will tell you that they have the nicest employees of anyplace I have ever been."

~Alexander M., Google review
"What a beautiful place to explore and see the wonderful sights that nature has to offer!"



~Cindy N., TripAdvisor review
"Bridal Cave is a beautiful spot! Great examples of geologic wonders. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and fun! We took a family member just in from Turkey. He thought it was a fantastic tour!"

~Adam D., Facebook review
"Bridal cave is one of the most beautiful attractions Missouri has to offer. Over looking the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks, this natural wonder is gorgeous. Courteous and helpful staff make the experience one you won't soon forget."

~pennyless2013, TripAdvisor review
"Bridal Cave is a must see when visiting the Lake of the Ozarks. The tour is an easy walk and provides all of the features found in the local caves. The guide allowed us to travel at our own pace and answered our many questions. Great tour and would do it again!!"


~Mikey M., Facebook review
"Joel the guide was very personable and brought the experience to life and even entertained our less serious questions. It's clear that he genuinely likes his job. Great trip."

~Brenda S., TripAdvisor review
"Tour guide is friendly and very informative. She provided the history and some great humor. We had a small toddler with us and he did a great job because everyone was happy and entertained. I would definitely recommend this tour."

~Paulette S., TripAdvisor review
"I have been to Bridal Cave several times and I enjoy my tour each and every time. It is fascinating!! I have gone with friends, family and children. Everyone of all ages enjoys this tour!! Beautiful area of the lake as well. You can take some amazing photos of the area around the cave."


First of all, we would like to thank everyone that has taken the time to leave feedback for us about their visits to Bridal Cave and Thunder Mountain Park. We are thrilled that so many of you enjoyed your visit, and that you were happy with the wonderful people that we have working here with us. 

Secondly, if you have been to our Lake of the Ozarks family attraction recently, we invite you to leave us a review on Google, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Facebook, or all of the above. If you haven't been to Bridal Cave yet, then take this as your formal invitation! We can't wait to show you all of the wonders that our cave tour and park have to offer. 



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, May 11, 2016

The New Gardens at Thunder Mountain Park Are Complete!

A couple of month's ago we wrote about the beautiful new improvements that were in the works for Thunder Mountain Park this spring. Well, we did it! The brand new botanical gardens and waterfall at our Lake of the Ozarks natural attraction are amazing, and they are ready for you to come by and take a look. 



The beginnings of this new landscaping project started last October with the removal of old plants and some dirt work. This was all in preparation for the addition of a dazzling waterfall. This new park feature has been highly anticipated by our staff and the many park visitors that witnessed the work in progress. We are all so excited that the wait is finally over.  



A special thank you goes out to John and the entire team at Doctor's Lawn & Landscaping from Camdenton, MO. They designed and installed the new gardens at Thunder Mountain Park. The work this spring started with the crew bringing in new black soil, compost, and mulch to fill the newly constructed beds around the waterfall. 

A new underground irrigation system was also included in the renovations. There is now a relaxing, meandering stream flowing off of the natural rock bluff. Last, but not least, over 20 different blooming flowers and shrubs were planted. These will provide beautiful, fresh flowers from April through October. 



The waterfall and garden are a wonderful addition that compliments the already scenic lakeside pavilion. Just imagine what a marvelous, picturesque backdrop it will make for a wedding at the Lake of the Ozarks! 

The pictures here don't convey the absolute beauty of a trip through this area. We will be taking some professional photographs of the new garden area soon to share with everyone. Don't wait for that though. Pay our wonderful Lake of the Ozarks family attraction a visit soon and see it all with your own eyes. We try our best to make sure that each time you visit Bridal Cave and Thunder Mountain Park that you discover something new and exciting.  
   



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, May 4, 2016

Break Your Own Geodes at Bridal Cave

When you visit our Lake of the Ozarks family attraction, the memories that you take home with you will be treasured forever. In addition to those memories, you may want to take home a physical souvenir to remember the day by too. Our Bridal Cave gift shop is filled with many unique and amazing items. One extremely fun one that you can not only purchase, but actually make yourself, is a geode. 


What is a geode?

The name geode is derived from the Greek word Geoides which means earthlike. They are mysterious, spherical rocks. We say mysterious because geologists have long debated just how they are formed. These round rocks have a hollow cavity in the center that may or may not contain crystals. If yours turns out to be solid, it is called a nodule.   



How to break a geode.

The rock shop at Thunder Mountain Park has one of the few geode crackers in the country. This custom built high pressure cracker is housed in a stainless steel metal containment with high strength Plexiglas viewing windows. 

Two hardened steel jaws, which can exert over 10 tons of pressure on the geode, offers some pretty impressive results. You get to pick out any geode that you like from our selection, we place it in the geode cracker for you, then we let you crack it. The viewing windows allow you to see the entire process, and your friends and family can witness it through the window on the other side. They can even film the entire, super-cool event.

Tips for picking the best geode. 

Our rock shop has an incredible selection of geodes for you to crack. While geodes can be found in northern Missouri and Iowa, they tend to be of low quality. We only offer the best quality rocks available. 

Our geodes are hand selected and even x-rayed to insure that 99% of them are hollow. The Tranca Geodes and Druzy Geodes from Chihuahua Mexico come from roughly 200 miles south of Juarez. Our Moroccan Geodes come from Sidi Rahal in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Here is the way to find the best one.

1. Start by holding it in your hand and feeling the weight. It should feel light for its size. If it's heavy, you may have a nodule and all your hard work will produce little results.

2. The rounder the geode, the better. Irregular shapes have less room for crystal to grow. 

3. Shake the geode next to your ear. Occasionally you may hear water sloshing around inside. If you find one of these, grab it! Those are extremely rare. 


Safety tips at home. 

You can crack your own geodes at home, but safety should be your number one priority. If you don't have a 10-ton geode cracker to handle the job, take some precautions. 

Kids, always ask your parent's permission first, and let them help you. Wearing safety glasses is a must, and a pair of old gloves can come in handy. Once all that is in place, it's time to crack. 

1. Place the stone in an old tube sock to keep any rock chips from flying.

2. Lightly tap the geode in the tube sock with a hammer, gradually increasing the force until the rock cracks. Hitting it too hard to begin with can result in a bunch of little pieces instead of a hollow cavity to admire. 


Cracking geodes is just one of the many fun things we have for you to do at Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park. The gift shop is filled with all kinds of cool stuff, and everyone loves mining in our sluice. There are trails to hike, the gorgeous lake view to enjoy, and of course, America's most scenic cave tour to explore. It's always a good day when you spend it with us. 



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