"Meramec Caverns. Guided tours..." Missouri Off The Beaten Path Tip by Davidp1952
Missouri Off The Beaten Path: 38 reviews and 40 photos
Meramec Caverns. Guided tours by trained rangers are conducted along well-lighted walkways. All cavern facilities are accessible to the disabled. Learn how Mother Nature built an ancient limestone 'Wine Table' and an entire 7-story mansion... all underground. On tour you will see both the rarest and largest cave formations in the world.
Meramec Caverns is the largest commercial cave in the state of Missouri. Missouri is also known as the Cave state, hosting home to more than 6,000 surveyed caves. Meramec Caverns is open year round and offers a fun, affordable vacation for all its visitors. The well-trianed rangers can accommodate groups of any size.
Nestled agelessly among the lush foothills of Missouri's rolling Ozark's, these magnificent caverns chronicle over 400-million years of history including: The formation of caves and stalactites, fossils and limestone, Indians of Missouri, European miners and explorers, dramas of the Civil War, train robberies and great escapes, ballroom dances around the 1900's, the Great Depression, World War II, Hollywood movies, and the list goes on.
The history of Meramec Caverns is rich with the treasures of time. Going back through the centuries, local tribes if Indians used the cave as shelter. Later in the 1700's, a French miner, Jacques Renault, founded one of the Cavern's greatest natural resources, saltpeter. This substance was used exclusively for the manufacture of gunpowder.
During the Civil War, a Federal powder mill in the cave was blown up by Confederate guerrillas of whom Jesse James was a member. Local legend also says that the cave was used as a station on the 'Underground Railroad' to hide escaping slaves. In the early 1870's, Jesse James and his band returned to the Cavern on numerous occasions because it afforded a complete hideout for men and horses after train and bank robberies.
In 1933, Lester B. Dill, noted caveologist, discovered the seven upper levels of the Caverns. Further exploration revealed 26 miles of underground passages. Meramec Caverns was opened to the public in 1935 as a tourist attraction.
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