Ride-through tours began in the Fantastic Caverns in 1961 using post-World War Two Jeeps with gas powered engines. The tours were popular, but the cave walls didn’t fare very well with all the exhaust fumes from the automobiles, and eventually the vehicles were upgraded to run on cleaner propane.
Due to the fragility of the caves, tours are offered in customized jeep-drawn trams and offer visitors the opportunity to explore and experience the magnitude, the splendor and the tranquility of these great caverns while preserving its natural features. There is also one stage of the tour where visitors can touch a section of low ceiling dead stalactites, which are thousands of years old. Inside the caves, the temperature hovers around 60 degrees throughout the year.
Fantastic Caverns is a two level branch work cave. At one stage in the caves history, each level was filled with water but drained away over time to leave the vast caverns that are seen today. The jeep tours run on the dry upper level of the caves as the lower level is a wet weather stream and acts as a channel for streams of water during the rainy season, which moves through the cave to a discharge point at the nearby Indian Spring. Sometimes during a very rainy season, water on the lower level will back up and overflow into the upper level and flood the cave, causing all tours to be canceled. The water, however, is vital for the region as it fills and supplies wells in the area.
Fantastic Caverns is America's ride-through cave that offers tailored jeep-drawn tram tours to experience the natural beauty of the caves without putting them at risk. The comfortable jeeps cater for all ages and take visitors on a geological journey back in time as they travel through vast brightly lit passageways with thousands of speleothems, stalactites and stalagmites, massive columns, little soda straws, cave pearls, and flowstones, all created by water a drop at a time. Tours are down entirely by tram, and there is no walking involved and temperatures inside the cave stay around 60 degrees, making it an excellent all-season experience. Photo: macropixel/Fotolia
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