Marvel Cave lives up to its name, NO Disappointment!
Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri and where it all began!
Silver Dollar City has one of the most interesting beginnings of many places in the Ozarks. In 1894, this booming attraction started as a tour of a very impressive cave, one that you will never forget!
At that time, people were allowed to roam freely throughout the cave for up to six hours at a time with only a candle, timed to burn long enough. They were not provided with a way to re-light them, either! If your candle went out, you were instructed to just sit still till someone came and got you.
Over time, the shops and exhibits near the entrance were built to keep people busy as they waited to enter the cave. Today, it has grown into a world class amusement park and this undersung treasure is frequently missed by many of those who visit the location west of Branson.
The tour itself is not an easy one, but the reward of the experience is well worth the trip. Listen very carefully to all the instructions you are given in the beginning, they are very important!
You will enter the cave in the very top of the 200 foot high cathedral room. From atop the substantial steel and cement tower you will get an unbeatable view over the whole room. To give you an idea of how big it really is, several years ago and the centennial celebration they flew FIVE hot air balloons at the same time in this underground universe!
Personally, I am a bit afraid of heights, but the climbing tower is extremely stable and very well built. There are hand rails on either side of the stairs all the way down that give plenty of support to ensure secure footing on your way down. At no time did I ever feel insecure on the walk, someone obviously put a lot of thought into the design of the facility for the general public.
Once you arrive at the bottom of the three level tower, you are standing on top of the debris pile that has been built up over many centuries. It will prove to be a surprisingly large hill, almost an underground mountain! Take it all in.
At the bottom, you get another view of the large formation seen as you walk down, but don't forget to look up at where you came from. The perspective provided in dark pictures does not begin to convey the shear vastness of this room.
Once the tour continues, you will walk through the rest of the half mile trail, as deep as 300 feet under ground. You will climb down and up about 600 steps, some of which are steep, occasionally irregular, odd and most definitely scenic!
At the end, you will ride a cable train that delivers you to the opposite end of the hospitality gift shop.
Silver Dollar City Branson
Date taken: 2011 07 30