Discovered by a Dog

Discovered by a Dog

Posted on Saturday, May 29, 2021, by Hubert Heck

Fantastic Caverns is pet friendly. Fantastic Caverns was discovered by an Ozarks farmer, or more precisely, by his dog. While tracking an animal, the famer's bloodhound disappeared into a small hole at the base of a bluff.

In the springtime of 1862, an Ozarks famer was out hunting with his bloodhound. John Knox was that Ozarks farmer, and he had made a home for himself in these Ozarks hills. Homesteading in the Ozarks was difficult, and having a hunting dog would have been useful in tracking down a potential meal. 

Knox’s bloodhound, and hunting buddy, was named Juno. Bloodhounds boast one of the largest olfactory centers of any canine, and can detect smells a thousand times better than humans. With such a great sense of smell, it’s no wonder bloodhounds are easily drawn towards all sorts of scents and smells. And as Knox and his trusty bloodhound neared the Little Sac River, Juno began tracking the scent of an animal. Singling out the animal’s smell, Juno quickly got caught up in the chase. Before long, Juno chased the animal into an obscured opening at the base of a bluff about 100 yards from the Little Sac River.

While tracking an animal, Juno the bloodhound disappeared into a small hole at the base of a bluff.

Driven by the smell, and following his nose alone, Juno quickly followed into the hole after the small animal. Once through the opening, Juno could not see anything. It was completely dark. Unable to see, Juno was not able to go very far into the hole, and was not able to locate the cave opening he had come in. Uncertain of his surroundings, Juno began to bark for help.

Juno was unable to find his way back to the surface, he was followed by owner John Knox and found inside the cave.

Fortunately, John Knox heard Juno barking from within the hillside. Knox returned to his homestead to retrieve supplies and a light source.  Feeling more prepared, but still wary, Knox crawled through the small opening. Listening for the familiar barks with a light source in hand, Knox was able to safely retrieve his prized bloodhound, Juno.

That happenstance game chase that led Juno into, what is now known as, Fantastic Caverns’ Hall of Giants, makes John Knox’s trusty bloodhound, the first to discover Fantastic Caverns. Though Juno discovered Fantastic Caverns in 1862, it wasn't until five years later that the first exploration of the cave took place: twelve women from Springfield, answering a newspaper ad seeking explorers, ventured into the cave. Their names remain on a cave wall today.

Pet friendly Fantastic Caverns

Fantastic Caverns is pet friendly. Fantastic Caverns was discovered by an Ozarks farmer, or more precisely, by his dog. Fantastic Caverns still welcomes pets to this day. Pets are more than welcome to accompany their people on the all-riding cave experience. Pets should be friendly and remain on a leash when visiting America’s Ride-Thru Cave.

Dog by First Jeep at Fantastic Caverns Pet Friendly

Getting away to the Ozarks doesn’t have to mean saying goodbye to your pet. Nestled within these Ozarks hills, Fantastic Caverns in Springfield, Missouri welcomes you and your pet to enjoy a vacation together! Springfield makes it simple to explore with man’s best friend. You and your pet will feel right at home in the Ozarks. Sit and ride along an ancient riverbed at Fantastic Caverns, America's Ride-Thru Cave! Fetch a few souvenirs from the cave’s gift shop, Nature’s Touch. Stay entertained for hours experiencing the abundance of nearby parks and multi-use trails.

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The latest about our Missouri cave, and other Fantastic Caverns news.

Ozarks Cave Explorer's Club
Travel and tourism are inextricably part of the fabric of the Ozarks’ culture and economy. And caves have been a part of the tourism industry in the Ozarks for a very long time. Find a list of caves in Missouri and Arkansas participating in the Missouri Caves Association’s Ozarks Cave Explorer Passport Program.
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Stormwater run-off can easily pick up pollutants and cause erosion. Plants and trees help filter stormwater run-off and prevent erosion. The water flowing through the lower levels of Fantastic Caverns, began as stormwater on the surface. Create your own terrariums and monitor water quality.
Create Your Own Cave Confections
Create your own cave treats following these simple recipes. Caves provide habitats for unique species. Make your own edible cave habitats in the form of hollow meringue cookies or dessert rolls.
Cave and Karst Picture Finds
Find cave animals in these photos. The karst terrain of the Ozarks provides habitat for unique life. There is a very delicate ecosystem beneath our feet.
Create Your Own Aquifer in a Cup
Create your own miniature aquifer in a cup. The limestone present in the Ozarks has cracks and voids that allow water to permeate and pass through it. Water flowing through the limestone passages of Fantastic Caverns, began as rainwater.
Create Your Own Crystals
You can easily grow your own crystals using sugar, salt or alum. Many crystals are minerals, and occur naturally. Minerals are the building blocks of rocks, like the limestone of Fantastic Caverns.
Cave and Karst Word Searches
Find words related to caves and cave life in these fun Cave and Karst Word Searches. Missouri is known as the Cave State, boasting more than 7,500 caves and counting.
Make Your Own Limestone Fossil Sugar Cookies
You can find fossilized remains of ancient creatures within the limestone of Fantastic Caverns. Create your own limestone-inspired fossils in the form of sugar cookies.
Create Your Own Cave in a Cup
Create your own cave. As water flows beneath the Earth's surface it dissolves and erodes the rock, forming the cavities that become caves.
Health and Safety at Fantastic Caverns
The health and safety of our guests are top of mind as we continue to offer our memorable ride through cave experiences. We have increased the frequency of our everyday health and safety protocols and procedures, and we are taking precautions to keep everyone safe and healthy.
The underground fleet
Climb aboard the underground fleet at Fantastic Caverns and explore the world beneath your feet. Touring Fantastic Caverns by Jeep drawn trams helps preserve the cave. America's Ride Thru Cave may not be inhabited by humans but the cave system does have a thriving ecology of small critters that call it home.
America's ride thru cave
Missouri caves are well known as the most beautiful caves to see in North America and Fantastic Caverns ranks #1 by many. It's America's favorite ride-through cave attraction and uses their signature red Jeeps to drive you around through the cave.
Phone: 417-833-2010
Fax: (417) 833-2042
Fantastic Caverns
4872 N Farm Rd 125
Springfield, MO 65803
Trip Adviser certificate of excellence for Fantastic Caverns