Saturday, June 13, 2009

DeSoto Caverns

Georgia has Stone Mountain. Alabama has DeSoto Caverns.

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Last year, my hubby took his daughter to DeSoto Caverns and I heard all about it, but had to miss that trip. And it sounded like a very interesting place to visit, so on Memorial Day, we decided to go back so that I could see it for myself. I was very happy we did, as the place is just amazing. Located in Childersburg, AL (not a thriving metropolis, by any means), it’s really out in the middle of nowhere and seeing the caverns in person was really awe-inspiring. I have never seen anything like it! If you read the above sign, it will give the background of DeSoto Caverns and how they came to be.

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If you really want the history on DeSoto Caverns Park, click on the link above and go to their website. They explain it a lot better than I can. But the beginnings of this cave date back to the 1500’s when DeSoto was exploring this country and from there went on to the native Indians of this region, as well as Civil War ties and Prohibition. There was even a tavern down there for a short time during Prohibition.

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It’s apparently been owned for generations by the same family. There’s a waterfall out front. You can even book overnight stays in the caverns. Now that, I don’t think I’d want to do. It’s cool and damp down there, not the best sleeping accommodations. But, I bet kids love it!

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Statue of DeSoto

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An old gristmill replica, they even have gold and gem mining available. This place totally reminds me of the places in Cherokee, NC that we used to visit when I was growing up. I was always fascinated by the gemstones that could be found in the old riverbeds of mountain streams.

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This place has the tumbled gems available too. Took me back to my childhood, when I was a rock lover and gemstone hound. Once when we were young, me and my sister and some cousins went out gemstone hunting in the creeks in NC and came home with rocks full of garnets. We picked out the garnets and kept them in bottles for a long time. I think we even added some sand and had visions of polishing our own gemstones. Didn’t work and I have no idea what happened to that bottle of garnet nuggets.

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It was just in the 1990’s that this large tunnel was built down to the caverns. DeSoto Caverns is the first recorded cave in US history. I did not know that. The only other time I’ve been in any cave remotely like this was visiting the Lost Sea in TN. I looked them up and they are still going too. I have so many fond memories of visiting sites like this growing up.

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Our young tour guide was very knowledgeable and helpful.

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I took a few pics down there to give you an idea of the scope and magnitude of the place. The largest room of the cave is 12 stories high and bigger than a football field, if that tells you anything. Quite amazing! If you want to see more pics and video, click on the DeSoto Caverns website for all the scoop.

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Do you all remember learning about stalactites and stalagmites in school? I vaguely recall that discussion, but he pricked our memories with a little lesson about the 2. Stalactites hang from the ceiling and stalagmites grow up from the floor.

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This was the site of an old Indian burial ground.

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This is the largest room, but you can barely see the scope of it all.

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I’m tellin’ you, it is really amazing. I loved the tour.

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They discovered this graffiti from IW Wright dates back to 1723. Isn’t that the coolest?

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Outside the caverns, we walked around to see what else is there. Here’s a HUGE maze. This is only 1/2 of it. I’m not sure when all the attractions are open, but they were not all open when we were there. Maybe in the summer months. I read that these attractions are extra.

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Here’s a cave wall climb exhibit.

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Potty Racers anyone? :)

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The Butterfly House was pretty neat. Reminded me of a smaller version of Callaway Garden’s Butterfly house. Have you all in the SE been to Callaway Gardens near Columbus, GA? That was another special place that we visited many times when I was growing up.

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The butterflies were many and so colorful.

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A cheesy pic of the chick in stocks. Does this take you back or what? Anyone ever had their pic taken in stocks besides me? I bet you have!

If you get a chance to visit DeSoto Caverns Park, I’d say do it! I’m sure your kids would love it too. It’s a little pricey at $18 per adult ticket, but worth it at least once. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this amazing cave right here in the middle of Alabama.

Only God could make something that profound and awesome.

We are heading to the Black and Blueberry Festival at Petals from the Past today. Click on the link for the biggest blackberries you've ever seen. Always a fun time!

One more thing: My friend, Kaye, at KK's Creations is having a great giveaway this weekend. Check it out here!

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24 friends stopped by:

duchess said...

Looks like a great place to visit.
If I'm ever down that way I'll definitely check it out.
Enjoy your weekend.

Jennifer said...

What a fun trip! I love when you can combine history with science and fun. This sounds like a great day to spend. We see the signs for Desoto Caverns when we are traveling through, but have never really had time to stop. We may need to add it before the summer is finished. Thank you for sharing your visit!=)

Have a wonderful weekend,
Jennifer

Frippery said...

Thanks for the tour! When we were young my dad was always taking us on cave tours when we traveled. When my kids were growing up we made sure we repeated this tradition.We took them to Stone Mountain and Mammoth Cave, I have never been here though. Beautiful.

its so very cheri said...

If you ever make a road trip to Missouri, there are tons of caves. There is a cave that takes you through on a motorized vehicle. It is down in the Springfield area, if you head on down to Branson there is a cave right in Silver Dollar City (a Christian themed amusement park with lots of old gospel singing groups etc) and if you go you have to stop on your way at Lambert's Restaurant-home of the throwed rolls (Sikeston, MO) There is always a wait but let me tell you -it is worth the wait. The portions are HUGE and besides the food that you get with your order-they have people walking around with big pans of Macaroni and Tomatoes, Fried Okra, Black Eyed Peas, Fried Potatoes and it seems like I am missing one. From the sides you can pick with your meal ---I love their sweet potatoes-they make them with cinnamon oil and I LOVE their pineapple salad. I want some Lambert's!!!The funnest part is when the guy comes out of the back and yes "HOT THROWED ROLLS" and people hold their hands up in the air and they throw rolls across the restaurant to you. They do this throughout the entire meal. Our kids LOVE it. Do you want to make a trip to Missouri yet. Do I sound a little home sick? Maybe this will be my post today.

Still Learning said...

Oh, that reminded me of the gold mines in Dahlonega, GA. We had such fun going through the big one. Can't remember it's name. It was a little scary though. But so much beauty was down there. It was so nice and cool too. Isn't it so much fun traveling around where you live? So many interesting things around us if we just look around a little.

Have a great day,

Jennifer

Pam said...

This was a wonderful tour! Thanks for taking us along!

Holly said...

What a fun outing! Isn't amazing to see all God's creation both underground and outside?!?!

Hey, and there were toliet races. :)

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Rhoda, I haven't been in a cave in years. I've been in several in Missouri. Meramac, Onandoga,Bridal and one down by Branson, the name slips my mind at the moment, we went though that one by tram. That's my kind of cave exploring. Bridal Cave has some interesting passages...one so narrow, I don't see how we got through. There are weddings performed in that one.

Well, Rhoda...since you admitted to having your photo taken in stocks, I'll come clean! J and I both had ours done, in Colonial Williamsburg. What a hoot!! Cheesey or no.

It looks like you had a good time!

BeautifulWreck said...

Looks so fun. I so need to take my kids and visit.

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

(Raising hand) I have had my picture taken in the stocks before. :)

Thanks for taking us on the tour, Rhoda! I think my girls would love that!!

Jenny said...

Beautiful! I remember the Lost Sea! That was an awesome cave with the albino fish. It's been about 20 years since I went, but I still remember it!

Lana said...

This looks like a neat place to visit! :) You made beautiful pictures! The butterflies pics are great! We took our 4th grade class to Cherokee, NC this year...it's a neat place, too!

Jennifer said...

How pretty! I love the butterfly pictures!

BTW, Florida has caverns too, in Jackson county. Pretty impressive to see God's work done!

midnight macaroons said...

Sounds fun! We had the InnerSpace Caverns in Austin but it's nothing like this one. Wow, pretty amazing. Love the pic of you in stocks. Have fun at the blackberry/blueberry festival.

grannyann said...

Caves are fun, haven't been in years. I saw one advertised in MO the other day where you ride thru the whole thing - that's for me. Thanks for sharing your tour.

Joan@anythinggoeshere said...

I am having a BLOGmance with those lovely butterflies.

Tami (Pixeltrash) said...

That looks like a great place to visit. I feel like I just went with you. Thanks for the neat info!

Tracy said...

We went a couple of years ago with my daughter on a field trip, it was a fun and interesting place.

Tracy :-)

Vanessa said...

Love, Love, Love the pics of the butterflies. You should frame those! I haven't been to Desoto in a long time. They've added a lot! Thanks for sharing!

Embellished Bayou said...

Hi Rhoda,
Love your work and your blog!

I'm passing along a "One Lovely Blog Award" to you today. To accept it you can blog about 15 other blogs that you appreciate and enjoy. Thanks!

Christy

Tales From My Empty Nest said...

Caverns are beautiful, but there is something about them that is creepy to me too! I have pictures too of myself and others in stocks. It makes a cute picture. Glad you had a great trip. The butterflies were beautiful!!! Love & blessings from NC!

Courtney said...

I've been here several times and I just love this place. Potty racers? Ha! There must be some new things since I've been there!
Ruby Falls in Chattanooga is also an amazing cave to visit.
Blessings!

Southerner said...

I went there when I was about 13 around 1981 or 1982. My dad had moved from Atlanta to Clanton, AL. I was visiting him for my summer visit. In the same visit friends had tickets to this little outdoor concert with this new band and wanted to give them to us if I would like to go. It was ALABAMA and I declined. I didn't know who they were and didn't listen to country. They then became super famous and popular.

Beverly said...

I think these natural wonders are so fascinating. I've been to Luray Caverns in Virginia.

And, I did have my picture made in stocks in Williamsburg when I was a teenager.