Located in Stone County near Reeds Spring, Missouri, Talking Rocks Cavern is a cavern system that is operated as a public show cave attraction by Adventure Creations, Inc.. The state of Missouri contains more than 7,500 caves on register within the Ozark Mountain region, which has earned it the nickname “The Cave State.” Talking Rocks Cavern was opened to the public in 1921 by Waldo Powell, who named the cave Fairy Cave for its ethereal subterranean formations and features.
In 1969, the cave was purchased by Silver Dollar City amusement park operators Herschend Family Entertainment. The Herschend family renamed the cave Talking Rocks Cavern in honor of a quote given by Waldo Powell, who had stated that studying the cave’s physical evidence told a story through its rocks, and the rocks spoke to you visually..
Talking Rocks Cavern is now operated year-round as a public show cave, offering guided public tours of its subterranean features. The cave has been featured in the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau’s True Talk series and serves as a popular tourist destination within the greater Branson region. The attraction opens daily at 9:30am and offers a variety of additional family-friendly activities, including a miniature golf course and gem mining attraction. Visitor admission rates are offered for adults and youth, with children three and under admitted free with paying adult admission. Group rates are also offered for small groups and organizations of 10 or more participants.
Hourlong guided walking tours of the cave are presented throughout the day, with tour guides offering anecdotes about the cave’s history, geological features, and mineral formations. Notable features within the cave include a large sheet curtain and bacon-like mineral formations. A light show is presented throughout the tour, and educational aspects of the tour are emphasized, creating an “edutainment” tourism presentation. The cave is kept at a comfortable 62 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. Visitors should be advised that due to the cave’s vertical nature, a number of concrete handrails and steps are located throughout the cave’s visitor walkways, including 150 downward and 115 upward steps.
The gift shop offers a wide selection of merchandise, including plush stuffed animals, educational books, and souvenir apparel. The shop also features a miniature museum of rocks, minerals, and fossils, including rare ammonite and orthoceras specimens. Rocks, gemstone, and minerals may be purchased, including museum-grade pieces.
In addition to the cavern, a number of family-friendly activities are offered at the attraction, including the Cave Country Mini Golf course. The nine-hole course is fully shaded and incorporates educational facts about sinking streams, groundwater, and other cave features and geology principles. A Gemstone Mining attraction offers experiences for young visitors to pan sluice bags of mining rough with sluicing troughs and screened boxes. All visitors may keep any semi-precious gemstones, minerals, or fossils that are uncovered through the sluicing process. Both attractions are offered for an additional fee on top of standard cave tour admission.
Several free family-friendly attractions are also offered, including two SpeleoBox Mazes, which lets visitors of all ages climb and crawl through winding wooden cave passages. A nature trail is located at the attraction, offering graduated difficulty hikes for young, beginner, and experienced hikers. A scenic lookout tower overlooking the surrounding region is also offered, along with picnic tables that may be used by visitors.
Since the 1980s, Branson, Missouri has risen to become one of the most popular family vacation destinations in the American South, coined the “Live Entertainment Capital of the World” after a 1991 60 Minutes feature on its many live country and popular music venues. More than 50 theaters are located along the city’s famous “Strip” portion of Highway 76, which serves as a popular destination for more than eight million annual visitors. Country and popular music stars such as the Osmond's and the Lennon Sisters perform regularly at theaters, along with a wide variety of tribute artists honoring performers such as Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, and Patsy Cline. More than 200 retail options are offered, including the 95-acre Branson Landing shopping complex and a Tanger Outlets center. Other major attractions include the Silver Dollar City amusement park, the Hollywood Wax Museum, the Titanic Museum, and Dolly Parton’s Stampede. A variety of family-friendly outdoor activities are also offered, including go-karting, miniature golf, and horseback riding.
423 Fairy Cave Ln, Branson West, MO 65737, Phone: 417-272-3366, websiteMissouri places to visit