By: Michael Ayo
The vast Ozark landscape is filled with many explored, and perhaps unexplored, caves. With all the shows and attractions constantly running in Branson, it may be easy to forget about the beautiful cave tours offered in the Branson area. There are three caves in particular that offer tours throughout most or the entire year.
Perhaps one of the most visited caves in Branson belongs within its most popular attraction. Silver Dollar City’s Marvel Cave actually predates the theme park, and is one of the first attractions to bring visitors to the area. With Silver Dollar City actually built around Marvel Cave, cave tours are complimentary with the price of admission to the park and operates around the same schedule.
A tour through this cave is approximately 60 minutes, and is considered strenuous for some. There are 600 steps to climb, but those who do will see sights such as the Cathedral Room which is the largest cave entrance in the United States. This wet limestone cave also features the Mammoth Room, which is a large cave room located to the right of the guest trail, along with a bat wall and a Spanish ladder left behind circa 1541.
One of the most intriguing caves to explore in the Ozarks resides at Top of the Rock, just south of Branson. Titled the Lost Canyon Cave, here you can enjoy a beautiful two and a half mile journey through the cave aboard an electric cart where you will get glimpses at dramatic natural rock formations and waterfalls as you pass over Amish bridges.
For the adults, Lost Canyon Cave is also home to the Bat Bar near the waterfalls where you can be served specialty drinks such as the signature John L’s Lemonade. Cave tours begin daily at 10 a.m. and run through one hour before sunset, weather permitting. The Bat Bar is open seasonally, starting at 11 a.m. each morning. Tickets for the tours are $20 for adults, $10 for children 4 years to 12, and children 3 and under are complimentary.
One other cave residing in the Ozarks is Talking Rocks Cavern. This cave is open year-round, and sits at a comfortable 62 degrees no matter the season. The cave is vertical in nature, but features concrete steps and handrails for people of all ages to walk on while touring. The cave tour is approximately one hour and guests learn all about the history and discovery of Talking Rocks. Tours begin at 9:30 a.m. on weekdays and run through 5 p.m., and go from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
Aside from being educated, people touring can see beautiful rock formations along with glistening crystals throughout. Once the tour is complete and you are back outside, Talking Rocks also has a mini golf course for you to enjoy at an additional cost. Tickets are $17.95 for ages 13 and up, $9.95 for children ages 4 to 12, and ages 3 and under are free. Mini golf is $7 for adults and $5 for children, though discounts are offered for those who tour the cave as well.
There are so many outdoor activities to experience in Branson, sometimes it may be hard to decide what to do. If you enjoy exploring and seeing beautiful rock formations, touring caves is just for you. You can’t go wrong with any of these three caves, and each has additional activities to try out along with their tours.
Article courtesy of ChooseBranson.com.