Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Silver Dollar City's Marvel Cave! AWESOME!

I am going to let the Marvel Cave/Silver Dollar City website speak for this.  They can say it so much better than I can...then I'll share my thoughts at the end!  The pictures are 100% mine though!!!!
Cam will share his thoughts as well!  I will also put little tidbits in that are mine...you'll know those by the italics!
Cam, MaKenna, Major and I went as my husband just had back surgery and was afraid for the area where we would have to bend over for a bit....so he and Jake stayed behind.  Here is the link to the website....and here is what it says:

In the beginning, there was Marvel Cave.

Silver Dollar City theme park evolved around the entrance to one of nature's greatest wonders, Marvel Cave. In 1894, Canadian entrepreneur William Henry Lynch and his two daughters, Miriam and Genevieve, opened the cave as an Ozarks tourist attraction. For more than 50 years, Marvel Cave operated as a tourist show cave. In 1950, Hugo Herschend, a Danish immigrant from Chicago, his wife Mary and sons Jack and Peter, leased the cave. By 1960, the Herschends introduced their 1880s Ozark Mountain Village, Silver Dollar City theme park. The theme park was literally built around the entrance to Marvel Cave, upon the foundations of a genuine 1800s mining town - Marmaros.

The Early Days of "The Devil's Den"  (We walked down some steep stairs first to get to the entrance.  Once we were in the entrance we had even more steep stairs to the bottom.)
Around 1500 AD, the Osage Indians were the first to discover Marvel Cave. Hearing strange noises arising from deep within the entrance, the Indians feared the cave, never entered it, and named it "The Devil's Den." In 1541, Spanish explorers entered the cave hoping to uncover riches and possibly the fountain of youth. Then, in 1869 explorers descended into the cave looking for priceless mineral deposits. Led by Henry T. Blow, a St. Louis lead industry leader, the party traveled by horseback to the entrance of Devil's Den. One by one, the miners lowered themselves over 200 feet down into the vast unknown blackness. They carried lanterns for light and spent hours studying the cave walls carefully searching for signs of mineral deposits. The miners returned to the surface late that evening having failed to discover the lead ore they sought, but convinced that marble could be found inside the cave. Their report sparked the interest of area locals who decided to rename the cave, Marble Cave. It was not until after Mr. Lynch's death in 1927, that the cave's name was changed from Marble to Marvel Cave. In fact, no marble was ever mined from Marble Cave, only bat guano.

Take a Marvelous Tour!
When visiting Silver Dollar City, a tour of Marvel Cave is always included with your ticket, with tours departing approximately every half hour, weather permitting. 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. A trained cave guide will host your journey and provide you with interesting and entertaining anecdotes of historical or geographical importance.

(Here is a picture looking up at the staircase we had just taken to get to the bottom of the Cathedral Room.  See the light?  That is the hole at the top that legend says is where the Osage Indian fell with a bear when they "discovered" the cave.)

Novelist Harold Bell Wright represents one of the many famous spelunkers to venture into Marvel Cave. Missouri's deepest cave is rich in history and beauty. Don't miss out on a unique opportunity to see a side of Mother Nature few are fortunate enough to experience. Tour Marvel Cave the next time you visit Silver Dollar City!
(Here is another picture from the Cathedral Room looking at the staircase and opening)
Lantern Light Tours!
Explore Silver Dollar City's deepest, darkest secret! Take a step back in time and experience Marvel Cavejust as the early explorers did - by Lantern Light! Guides dressed in period costume delight guests with historical facts and little known stories during this nostalgic 90-minute journey each day. Now open to guests on the Lantern Light Tour, see the Mammoth Room! Last toured in the late 1950s, this large room is located just to the right of the guest trail in the Cathedral Room. Highlights of the re-opened trail include the bat wall, the only known "Spanish ladder" left in the cave (circa 1541) and many colorful stories!

The tour begins 90 minutes prior to park closing March - October, and at 5:30 p.m. in November & December.Lantern Light Tours are $10.00 (tax included) for adults and $5.00 (tax included) for children ages 8-11 (children under 8 are not permitted on Lantern Light Tours). Tours have a limited capacity, so order online today* or make your reservations early at the Cave Information Desk located in the Hospitality House.

(Here is a picture of one of the "live" formations.  Sorry....my pictures aren't the best.)
Here are a couple more pictures of "LIVE" formations in the cave....get it???  My kids!  HA!


The cave was so pretty.  It's been awhile since I've been in a cave, but somehow I don't remember the ones I've been in to be as spectacular as this one.  Maybe it was the lighting that they had...but it really was something special and my kids agreed....it was super neat.  I also found it amazing that the paths we were walking on were naturally made.  They just seem so PERFECT for humans to walk on....and yet, they were made by water....and God's creation of course.  It just amazed me.







 This was one of the live formations.  They ask us not to touch because the oil from our hands can stunt the growth.  That is another thing that amazed me....how non-living things can still be living in the sense that they grow to make new formations....much like the Grand Canyon I guess.  These live formations were spectacular though.
 There was also a lot of water flowing throughout.  There was one area that is an itty bitty tunnel.  They have tried to find where it dumps out of....but after being in a very enclosed spot full of water for a period of time, they gave up.  They have sent dye through and everything, but it is not showing up anywhere...they have no idea where it goes....how deep, etc.  There is another spot that they discovered where the exit was from the dye....but this spot....not willing to give up its location just yet.  Still a mystery.  It is amazing...we can send men to the moon...but there are still so many unknowns here on our earth.




 This is looking down into some water....I wonder where that water goes...

 After descending nearly 500 feet below the surface, how do you get back up to daylight? In 1957, cave operators installed a unique cable train designed to take cave visitors up the half mile, 1070 foot climb back to the surface! 

We did A LOT of walking...hiking...stair climbing.....it was tiring....but well worth it.  At the end there was a really neat cable car system for us.  Yes....it was possible that it wouldn't work (they said sometimes that has happened), but it did...all worked well!  It was a bit awkward getting into it as it was tilted....then getting out was just as awkward....but we managed....and Major (my 5 year old) LOVED the cool ride....he said he was like a miner from the old days!
Here is Cam's opinion....Cam is 14.

Hi, my name is Cam Filleman.  I had a GREAT time in Marvel Cave. I am in Ninjutsu, and I love to climb things, challenge myself in different ways...and this cave was an unbelievable place to do just that.  I COULD'NT, but it was a great place to do it if they would let me!  The whole time I was there I was thinking about what I could do....where I could climb....how awesome it would be to be off of the main path and try to discover on my own.  I didn't do any of that, but it was a lot of fun to imagine doing it!  It was a little tough with my little brother.  Since dad didn't go down, mom needed help with my little brother and sister....and it was dark down there, so I held on to my little brother while my mom had my little sister.  Sometimes he can be naughty and not listen.  But other than that, I had a great time down there.  It was my favorite part of Silver Dollar City!  I was starting to not feel well...but, I am glad that we did this early in the day when I still felt pretty good.  It was really pretty too.  I tried to take pictures to send to my friends...but there wasn't reception in the cave.  OH!  I am also into herpetology and we saw a little lizard in the cave.  It was so cute!  We didn't see any bats, but I've seen my fair share of bats before...I am not in any hurry to see more.

Anyway, that was my experience in the cave.  If you have an adventuresome side of you...you'll love it!

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