Cavernous Meramec Caverns!

Trip Start Jan 01, 2007
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Trip End Dec 31, 2007


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Flag of United States  , Missouri
Friday, September 14, 2007

  We ended up not going to Hannibal, boyhood home of Mark Twain and "America's Home  Town", yesterday, when we realized it was a two and a half hour drive, and at this time of year many of the attractions have limited weekend-only hours.  One of the things I really wanted to see was the statue of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, one of only seven statues of literary figures in the world, but for now I decided to just see it online! Mississippi River Journals
   Instead of touring, we stayed around home, got the car washed, and I went for a swim.
   Today, a beautiful, top-down kind of day, we decided to do one of those really "touristy" attractions, which turned out to be quite interesting, and not a real rip-off roadside attraction, as many of them appear to be!  We toured the Meramec Cavern - the largest single cave formation in the world, with 26 miles of  underground passages on seven different levels.  It's also the largest of the commercial caverns here in Missouri, which is known as "The Cave State".  It is also the oldest tourist attraction on Route 66!  Click here: Meramec Caverns
I had always wanted to go into a cave to see the stalactites and stalagmites, and this one was FULL of them - really beautiful mineral growths, from the smallest starter "straw" stalactites, to a huge 28 foot stalagmite, and a "table", which is a very unusual one, flat on top, standing on three legs.  Meramec Cavern is famous for several reasons:  first, because Jesse and Frank James hid out in it and escaped waiting authorities by going out a previously-unknown "back way"; it was also the scene of the shooting of an episode of "Lassie"; and more recently, Walt Disney Productions' shot portions of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer"  there.  The hour and a quarter tour ended in the natural "theater" with good music, a light show on a beautiful wall of "drapery" stalactite formations, and a finale recording of Kate Smith singing her trademark "God Bless America" - a perfect wrap to a day spent exploring another of our Country's great wonders!
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