Missouri Cave's Bucket List - Part 2

Our cave at the Lake of the Ozarks is a must-see attraction when you visit the Lake of the Ozarks! After visiting Bridal Cave, you may find yourself wanting to visit even more great Show Caves in Missouri! Missouri is known as, "The Cave State" so visiting more Missouri Show Caves is easy because we have a lot of them! Last week, our blog, Missouri Cave's Bucket List - Part One, featured 8 scenic caves to visit in Missouri and this week we plan to feature 9 more Missouri Caves to add to your bucket list!

#9 Mark Twain Cave 

Located in Hannibal, The Mark Twain Cave Complex boasts America’s Oldest and Newest Show Caves. Mark Twain Cave is Missouri’s first Show Cave. The cave was first shown in 1886 and is a Registered National Natural Landmark. Experienced guides will escort you on the 55-minute tour of Mark Twain Cave where the walkways are level and smooth, and there are no steps. Because of the natural state of our cave, it is not wheelchair accessible. As always, boys and girls can whitewash the fence just like Tom and his friends, Mark Twain Show (maybe you can ask him questions about Tom), New Lantern Tour which will take you off the regular tour path – begins Memorial Day weekend at 8 PM (Fridays and Saturdays only), Haunted Tours are offered on select weekends in October at 6 PM, Christmas Tours are offered around the Holiday Season.

#10 Marvel Cave 

Located in Branson inside Silver Dollar City theme park evolved around the entrance to one of nature’s greatest wonders, Marvel Cave. Marvel Cave is a wet limestone cave, complete with formations that are still alive and growing! To begin, you will travel 300 feet below the surface and enter the Cathedral Room. The breathtakingly beautiful Cathedral Room is the largest cave entrance room in the United States. The visitors’ trail consists of stairs and ramps. The tour lasts approximately 60 minutes, with most of that time spent climbing nearly 600 stairs. The strenuous nature of the tour requires us to not recommend the tour for visitors with heart or lung conditions, bad backs, weak knees or ankles. information call.

Photo Credit: www.silverdollarcity.com/theme-park/attractions/rides/Marvel-Cave.aspx

#11 Meramec Caverns 

In Sullivan beneath the fertile rolling hills of the Meramec Valley, lies a complex of mineral formations and color as rare and unique as they are beautiful. These jewels of nature which took thousands of years to grow are preserved in the spectacular sights of Meramec Caverns. Guided tours by trained rangers are conducted along well-­lighted walkways. Meramec Caverns is the largest commercial cave in the state of Missouri. Meramec Caverns also offers a number of new and unique attractions, filling your day with wholesome family fun and memories that will last a lifetime. Some of the activities available to guests are canoeing, zip lining, riverboat rides, panning for gold and much more. 

Photo Credit: https://americascave.com/plan_your_visit.php 

#12 Onandaga Cave 

In Leesburg descend into the depths of Onondaga Cave State Park and drop into a world of wonder: towering stalagmites, dripping stalactites, and active flowstones help make the cave a National Natural Landmark and illustrate why Missouri is often called “The Cave State.” Visitors can take guided tours into the underground wonderland. But if you prefer the surface, the park’s Vilander Bluff Natural Area provides a panoramic view of the Meramec River. Trained guides will lead you over electrically lighted paved walkways and provide information about geologic wonders such as the King’s Canopy, the Twins, and other unusual speleothems. With an interesting history and a river flowing through the cave, Onondaga Cave is a spectacular registered National Natural Landmark. Onondaga Cave tours leave from the visitor center. They are walking tours, just less than one mile long, and last about one hour and 15 minutes. 

Photo Credit: https://mostateparks.com/park/onondaga-cave-state-park

#13 Ozark Caverns 

Visit Ozark Caverns in Lake of the Ozarks State Park and discover what lies beneath the surface! It is a walk into an environment where geologic processes can proceed unhindered by many of the erratic, erosive forces that shape the surface landscape. In the protected cave environment, dripping and seeping water can redeposit carbonate materials in the form of soda straws, helictites, stalagmites and a host of other geologic wonders that can be seen in Ozark Caverns. There is also much to see on the surface. Coakley Hollow Trail, which is a one­ mile, self­ guided interpretive trail, begins and ends at the caverns parking lot. This trail crosses a variety of habitats including a glade, fen, and an Ozark spring branch. It is also a good place to see spring wildflowers. Trail booklets are available at the visitor center. 

Photo Credit: https://mostateparks.com/page/54199/cave-tours

#14 Round Spring Cave 

In Van Buren lies Round Spring Cave which is part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, one our our national parks. It has been a national park since it was donated in 1964. Park Rangers conduct two hour lantern tours for the public of this beautiful natural cavern. These somewhat strenuous “underground hikes” are limited to the first 15 people. Wear sturdy shoes and bring a jacket or sweater, as it is cool in the cave. Tours are offered daily, at 10:00 and 2:00, during the summer months. 

Photo Credit: www.nps.gov/ozar/planyourvisit/round-spring-and-round-spring-cave.htm 

#15 Smallin Cave 

Located in Ozark, Smallin Cave was the first documented cave in the Ozarks. It was written about at great length in Henry Rowe Schoolcraft’s journal in 1818. Schoolcraft was a significant explorer in the United States. Smallin Cave was considered to be noteworthy enough that it was cited by major publications, including the 1923 National Geographic and 1948 issue of the Ecological Society of America. The town of Ozark was a centralized location of union activity during the civil war. There is strong evidence that Smallin Cave was used for war related activities. Smallin Cave is open year round and seven days a week. The cave will be closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter holidays. Visitors to the historical cave are treated to an almost one hour long tour that consists of about one­ half mile of walkways and inclines, no stairs, guided tour through the cave. Off Trail Wild Tour, Historical Civil War Tours and Civil War Christmas Tours are 3 of the specialty tours available at Smallin Caves. These tours vary in length and price according to the tour chosen.

#16 Stark Caverns 

Stark Cavern is located in Eldon, Mo. Hours: March - Labor Day 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., September – February 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Call to ensure the cave is open if the area is experiencing severe inclement weather. 

#17 Talking Rocks Cavern 

Located in Branson West, Talking Rocks Cavern is a “must see” attraction located just minutes from Silver Dollar City in Branson West, MO. Talking Rocks Cavern has been a vital and long­standing part of Branson’s history. Explored by over a million adventurers, the beautiful landscape of glistening crystals is not only a gift of nature but was also considered an engineering marvel due to man ­made embellishments made in the late 1920’s, such as the concrete steps along the pathways and the creative lighting installed to enhance the dramatic scenery. 

If you have had the chance to visit our scenic Lake of the Ozarks attraction, then you have some idea about the wonders that are in store for you when you visit the rest of Missouri's show caves. While similar, each of these has something unique to see and learn about. Bridal Cave is a great place to start your adventure, but we hope that the information in this blog series inspires you to keep exploring all of the wonders of our cave state. This type of outdoor activity is always family fun... as it should be!

One of America's most scenic 
cave tours.

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


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