Bridal Cave

Located at 526 Bridal Cave Rd, Camdenton, MO 65020  Website

img_9684On our recent visit to the Lake of the Ozarks, we stopped by Bridal Cave to let the boys check out their first cave.  And they had fun!

Upon arriving you enter the Thunder Mountain Mining Company, a unique rock and mineral shop specializing in rocks, minerals, gemstones and educational materials for rock hounds of all ages.  Gemstone mining where you pan for semi precious minerals and get to keep all the treasurers you find. My ultimate favorite was the magnetic hematite rocks.

Additionally, there is are lakeside viewing decks and a public boat dock.  If you stop by the lakeside gift shop on the way down to the dock you can pick up a bag of fish food for 95 cents and feed the catfish.

Guided tours leave every few minutes and last approximately one hour.  (There is no need to make a reservation, however, be warned that if a school group is ahead of you, then you will have to wait until their tour is completely finished before the next tour starts).

Tours are conducted over concrete pathways through the Cave’s refreshing 60 degree environment.   Park interpreters will lead you and your family through room after room of incredible mineral deposits. Giant columns, delicate soda straws and massive draperies abound throughout the cave. Millions of years of struggle between water and rock have created this cavern with more onyx formations than any other known cave or cavern.

Upon entering the cave, they do the typical photo-op, which you can purchase for $10 at the end. **If you are thinking about purchasing the photo, bring cash and you can pay the guide at the end of the tour rather than having to head back to a register.

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The next room you enter is where they hold weddings…yes it is called Bridal Cave. They have performed more than 3,000 weddings here.  The largest one held 117 people and I can tell you that we were on a tour group of 30 and it felt like a reasonable number of people. I can’t imagine being in there with almost four times that many people.

cave wedding 2.jpgStock photo

Most of the pathways are fairly large with the exception of the lemon squeeze, which may require you to turn sideways to pass through. However, in this area they allow you to touch the cave, so the boys enjoyed this portion.

There was many amazing formations to see, especially the large Mystery Pool about a 1/2 mile into the cave.  This is where the tour turns around and you head back in the same direction you came.  On the way back out of the cave, the guide turned off all of the lights to give you a feel for how dark it really is inside. This was a great experience even for someone who is claustrophobic!

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We really enjoyed our tour of the cave, however, it would be more entertaining once my 18 month old is a little older as he made me hold him most of the way since he wanted to touch everything.

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