Monday, June 29, 2015

Missouri State Park Adventures: Onondaga Cave

Last summer our family participated in Cakeway to the West -- a fun way to celebrate St. Louis' 250 anniversary and an excuse to visit many landmarks and museums that we had never been to before. This year, we are extending our love for learning about the Show Me State by visiting as many Missouri State parks as we can before the kids return to school.

On Saturday, we began our tour with a trip to Onondaga Cave State Park.  Located about 60 miles from St. Louis, the cave is a national natural landmark and truly an underground wonder.  Our adventure began in the visitor's center with a five minute introductory video.  Next, our trained guide led us on a 90 minute tour over lighted, paved walkways as he explained the history of the cave and pointed out unique geologic formations such as "cave bacon".

Metal railings made the nearly one mile trek easier as we traveled down slippery paths to reach depths of 180 feet below the surface and trudged up steep inclines to view the "lily pad room" located just 15 feet below the surface. It was a really enjoyable trip for all of us and we look forward to visiting the park again as they host many unique events throughout the year including; hummingbird banding, flintknapping demonstrations and an underground music series.

Fun fact: Missouri has more than 6,000 caves (second only to Tennessee which has 10,000+).

Natalie puts her hand on the "touch rock" the only place you may touch while in the caves as the oils from our skin greatly affects the formations.

An unusual sight - a tiny plant growing in the caves.

Noah and Nat in the Lily Pad room

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