Celebrate the Ozarks: Ozarks Caverns

Published: Jul. 12, 2019 at 3:44 PM CDT
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There's a unique and almost hidden part of the sprawling Lake of the Ozarks State Park. It's a cave called Ozark Caverns.

As you drive into the parking lot on Ozark Caverns Road in Linn Creek, you'll hear water from a nearby stream. And, as you enter the cave you'll realize water is the voice of this natural structure.

And, there may be no-one who knows the cave's personality better than naturalist Cindy Hall. She's been giving tours of the cave since the 1980's.

"It has such a large opening that you can imagine when the native americans were here, they would have used it as a shelter," remarked Hall at the start of our tour.

"One of the main tools you have in this cave is a lantern. Without the latern, that's what you see (total darkness)," demonstrated reporter Paul Adler.

Just inside the cave in the stream you may spot a fish that won't ever get very big.

"That's a Creek Chub. It's a surface type fish... They'll come in the cave. But, they can still get outside to feed," explained Hall.

Nearby, you may see millipedes feasting on bat droppings. The droppings are an important part of the circle of life for salamanders. There are 4 types of salamanders in Ozark Caverns.

You'll won't be able to miss the cave's most memorable feature. It's called Angel Showers. This natural water faucet never turns off.

But, Cindy's favorite feature is something much smaller. It's a feature that kind of looks like ramen noodles gone wild. They'rre called Helictites. She also enjoys seeing people on the tour make new discoveries.

"That, I'm learning something new and isn't this interesting and ask questions and I love that interaction with the public," reflected Hall.

If you're ready for a wide-eyed journey. Be prepared for 56 degrees, a half mile walk, stalactites and mites and salamanders. And, listen for the earth's secrets coming from the cave's voice.

The biggest worry about the cave right now is a fungus that's wiping out the bat population. So, they may ask you to limit what you bring inside.

There is a fee for the tour. Adults are 10 bucks. Kids are 6-8 dollars depending on age.

Paul Adler