I saw billboards for this place several years ago when I had to go to Springfield for work. I’ve always wanted to go back and we finally took the chance. It actually worked out well as my son happened to be in Missouri for some training. This was a perfect place to meet and fulfill our desire to visit the Fantastic Caverns.
This place is not the easiest place to find but there are many well placed signs that all lead to this big sign marking that you found it.
This is billed as “America’s only ride thru cave”. This display is representative of the cars that pull trailers of people through the cavern. It is also a great photo op as we took a few family photos here before venturing down to the building entrance.
This cavern was discovered in 1862 and there have been tours given for a very long time as evidence of the electric car on display above.
The building to the left is the visitors center / gift store. You get your tickets inside and wait for the next tour to begin. They are a little pricey at $23.50 for adults and $16.50 for children but you get to ride through the cave in comfort for this price. They are open every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, & Christmas.
Unbeknownst to most is that the parking lot actually sits atop of the caverns.
Once you board your jeep-drawn tram you head towards the cave entrance.
Once inside you get to see many of the cave features that have been in the making for hundreds of years.
Here you find the names of the 12 women that explored the cave in 1867 – 5 years after the cave was discovered. They answered an ad at the time. They are preserved so well in the constant climate of the cavern.
Unfortunately the pictures cannot do the cavern justice. It is so large that they host many events inside during the year. It is a relatively comfortable 60 degrees inside year-round. So when the weather is really cold or really hot outside (as it gets in Missouri) this is a great time to take a tour.
The tour runs for about 25 minutes give or take. They take you through the large opening, over sinkholes, and all the way to the back before returning to the front again. At one point they will turn out the lights to show you just how dark it gets (hint: VERY dark) and also to take you back to the time when it was discovered and we did not have modern lighting.
Here is where you exit the cave.
At the exit the tour guide will point out the spot where an Ozark farmers’ dog ran into back in 1862. The dog was chasing a small animal and just disappeared into the small opening.
At the end of the tour your are offered a group photo. It’s a little pricey but a nice reminder of a family outing. It also shows you the tram.
Back in the visitors center they have all kinds of gifts available.
If you like this tour there are many more throughout Missouri as this display shows. My son had gone through another one and loved it.
This is a great place to visit as it can be seen by the whole family. This has appeal for every age and because you ride thru the cavern you don’t have to be hike for miles to see this place.
For more information visit their website at: