Disclaimer: My family was given a VIP package from Fantastic Caverns in exchange for a review. All experiences and opinions are my own. Yours may differ.
On our way home from Branson we stopped in Springfield, Missouri to visit Fantastic Caverns – America’s only ride through cave! Getting to the cave is a bit of a drive through back country roads, but the signage is fantastic! They have every bit of the way marked and so getting lost isn’t an option.
When you arrive at Fantastic Caverns you go into a building that includes a gift shop, ticket counter and some pictures and artifacts to read about while you wait for your tour. While we were there it seemed tours were leaving every 30 minutes or so.
This jeep is an example of what is pulling a tram through the cave. We were lucky enough to get to sit in the back of the jeep instead of in the tram. You leave for the cave from the building, but it is just a drive around the corner to get to the entrance of the cave. The cave is 60 degrees year round so you might want a light jacket for the tour that takes about an hour. My kids brought jackets but my husband and I were comfortable in what we were wearing since it was such a hot day.
The temperature difference is immediate! The cave has converted to electricity so it is lit inside. The lighting is fantastic and really helps point out all the different formations you should be seeing. The first point of interest is a former mushroom bed where the previous owners would grow mushrooms. Selling these mushrooms is what saved them during the great depression. Also, right inside the cave a photographer is waiting to take a group picture. It was very fun to be able to have a picture of the group inside the cave!
Our tour guide, Chris, did a fantastic job! He was very knowledgeable and able to answer everyone’s questions. He made the tour very enjoyable, even for the children! As we rode through the cave and learned facts about the cave I was snapping pictures of everything. Enjoy some of these pictures I took:
We learned that some of the first people to explore the cave was a group of 12 women. The then owner of the cave, a farmer, put an ad in the newspaper asking for people to explore the cave. 12 women from Springfield answered the ad. A few years later one of the original women entered the cave and signed the names of the 12 women explorers. To our guide’s knowledge, this has not been touched up since it was written!!
One of my favorite parts of the cave is the auditorium room. Here a stage has been built since the cave used to house a speakeasy. There was so much fun history in the cave! If you go to the Fantastic Caverns’ website you can read all about the history of the cave!
There are several creatures that live in the cave such as cave crayfish, grotto salamander, insects and bats. We were lucky enough to see a little bat on our tour. It was very small and very cute!
We loved this awesome, educational, family friend attraction. Since it is so close to Branson it is an easy stop on your travels. We would definitely recommend this to anyone and hope to visit again soon!