Saturated grounds provide unique opportunities for visitors

Saturated grounds provide unique opportunities for visitors

Posted on Friday, March 12, 2021, by Hubert Heck

Fantastic Caverns offers free walk-through of the Hall of Giants after extensive rainfall causes flooding.

Individuals deciding to visit Fantastic Caverns during flood events will get the rare chance to walk through the Hall of Giants. A favorite among guests, the Hall of Giants is full of large and beautiful formations and is the first room early explorers would have stumbled upon after venturing through the original small opening in the hillside. The large chamber is only a small part of the mile-long tour route. This limited-time offer is available until the water levels within Fantastic Caverns recede.

This is a great time to see how water interacts with the built and natural environments above ground, and how groundwater infiltrates into the karst features below ground. When large amounts of rain falls within Fantastic Caverns’ watershed in short amount of time, the water can have a big impact within the cave and on the grounds. Once water begins to collect inside the cave, it doesn’t leave as quickly as it came in. Indian Spring is the wet weather spring that empties out the lower levels of Fantastic Caverns. It drastically increases output during periods of wet weather. At its peak, the spring empties out around 9,000 gallons of water a minute, but that isn’t enough to keep the cave tour route dry after extensive rainfall. The water racing out of the spring collides with the fast flowing Little Sac River, slowly draining water from the Fantastic Caverns system.

Indian Spring empties water from lower levels of Fantastic Caverns

Large amounts of rainfall can briefly suspend the all-riding cave tours, but guests still have plenty to learn and see. “This is a rare opportunity for everybody to see how the surface and subsurface are related. A lot of the water that found its way into the cave originated near the sinkholes around the Springfield-Branson National Airport. As a community we have to be careful what we do. Contaminates could find their way into our groundwater along with all this storm water. As sensitive areas are developed, runoff increases and that results in additional flooding,” said Doug Campbell, General Manager at Fantastic Caverns.

Large-scale development near karst features and waterways can be detrimental to public safety.  When attempts to contain and redirect storm water aren’t successful, looking for different approaches to flood protection is necessary. Similar to over-built levee systems along the Mississippi River and other river-ways, extensive development in the Cave State will restrict the natural dispersion of flood waters. Water needs plenty of room to flow naturally, especially during flood events.


Cave Flooding Provides Unique Experience


Visit Fantastic Caverns at 4872 North Farm Road 125 just northwest of Springfield, Missouri and see how water moves through these Ozarks hills.  There is plenty of opportunity to visit, Fantastic Caverns is open 362 days a year, but the cave only floods once in about every five years and recedes within a few days. Free walking tours within one cave chamber are offered when water levels within Fantastic Caverns prevent the safe operation of Jeep-drawn trams. Though it is not the usual Fantastic Caverns experience when there is a lot of water in the cave, it is truly a unique time to visit.


Fantastic Caverns Flood Water Underground Classroom

Saturated Grounds Provide Unique Opportunities for Visitors to Fantastic Caverns Fantastic Caverns

Latest Blog Posts

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.
Discovered by a Dog
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.
Build Your Own Terrarium and Monitor Water Quality
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.
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