In the world of travel and adventure, Missouri is up there with the country’s finest. And it’s not just the Ozarks; the Show-Me State has a vast array of attractions that make a trip worthwhile. Granted, Branson may be a little touristy. However, the Ozarks are great, especially for those who love gaping at natural wonders in the serene atmosphere of the outdoors. And for food, Kansas City barbecues are literally out of this world. In the north, places like Hermann teem with many wineries as well as quite a number of exhilarating festivals.
But for those who want something a little off the beaten path, Missouri is home to what has been described as an underground wonderland whose mysterious beauty would easily make one be swept off his feet. In this article, we reveal the charm and allure of Talking Rocks, a cavern system whose name alone makes it travel-worthy.
The Fascinating Legend Of Talking Rocks
“Formal Opening of Fairy Cave (The Beautiful Cavers Queen of the Ozarks). This cave so long discovered but little explored is unique. Its magic beauty and majestic grandeur are unsurpassed and is a modern wonder of the world. It defies the pen of man to over-describe its scenic beauty, and will be opened to the public unmarred by the hand of man…You are welcome through the two days and as long after as you choose.”
But before this 1921 opening, the story goes back by a few years. Truman Powell was a newspaperman based in Lamar, Missouri. Around the year 1869, he had been feeling a bit under the weather for a while.
He would finally make his way to a doctor’s office. The doctor told him he’d been confined in his newspaper office for a long time, and that he needed to get some “outside air.”
Renting a horse and buggy, he made his way to Stone County in Branson West. Since he’d always been enamored by caves, when he came to this area, he would explore Marvel Cave, then known as Marble Cave.
Thinking of making some money from the cave, Powell mobilized a few friends with whom he would eventually purchase the cave.
However, they could only sell bat manure, which, at the time, was used in gunpowder. But even this fizzled out. In 1894, they would sell Marble Cave to a Canadian who changed the name from Marble to Marvel—the cave’s current name.
Later, two events would prove monumental. The publishing of a book, The Shepherd of the Hills, a novel which, at the time, was only outsold by the Bible.
Set in the background of Branson West’s caves and the Missouri Ozarks, the novel revealed a scenic side of Missouri that Americans had never known or appreciated.
The second consequential event would be the construction of The White River Railway. Now, the novel furnished a reason to head to Branson West while the railways opened up a path.
Talking Caves Opened To A Bewildered Public
Wanting to cash in on the developments, Truman Powell set his eyes on another beautiful cave he had acquired earlier.
“It’s like an underground fairyland," was how he had described it when he first saw and explored it.
Anticipating the travel boom, father and son set out to work. Using timber, they built scaffolding for a 90-foot drop-down to the bottom of the cave.
After a few other improvements, they invited the public through the 1921 newspaper advert previously highlighted. True to their hopes, business picked up well. They were welcoming thousands every year.
In 1869, Silver Dollar City expressed interest in purchasing the tourist hotspot. For a decent sum of money, the Powells parted with this gem. While the Powells had named the Cave “Fairy Cave” after Truman Powell’s initial description of the underground wonderland, Silver Dollar City changed its name to “Talking Rocks Cavern.”
Some say it was normal branding. Others allude to the fact that the cave spoke about its formation. Other explanations are creepier as well as quirkier.
What To Know Before Visiting Missouri’s Talking Rocks Cavern
Located in Stone County in Branson West, Missouri, Talking Rocks Cavern descends more than 90 feet through amazing rock formations and colorful stalactites as well as stalagmites.
This is a vertical cave with narrow passages that’ll require some nerve and poise. There’s also a species of red-skinned salamander that spends its entire life inside the cave.
- How Much Is The Admission Fee To The Talking Rock Cavern? The admission fee is $24.95 for adults (13+) and $14.95 for children 4-12. Four and under are free.
Aside from the mystical allure of the cave, there are a number of interesting activities that are offered above the ground. This includes Cave Country Mini-Golf, gemstone panning, hiking trails, picnic areas, and a kids' play area, among other fun-filled activities.
Here’s the take-home. For its beauty, history, and an array of enjoyable activities on offer, Missouri’s Talking Rocks Cavern is worth visiting and exploring.