Fantastic Caverns – The Dog Cave

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Approximately five miles off Historic Route 66 in Springfield, MO

On my way driving towards Kansas City, Missouri, I see a billboard sign that read “Fantastic Caverns Cave Dog” and instantly get excited as this would be my first true official road dawg adventure with Raven & Dags.

I pulled over to contact the cave and see how far away I was. When I called, I told them I saw a dog on their billboard and asked if they were dog friendly. They confirmed they were and went on to tell me that the cave was actually discovered by a dog so that was why they were ok with letting dogs on the tours.

I was actually an hour or two away and headed in the wrong direction from where it was located. It was looking like it was going to start raining so I figured exploring a cave would help to kill some time and get me out of the rainy weather.

As a kid I remember going to a cave and thinking it was one of the coolest things ever. Once I realized I could share this same experience with my dogs Raven & Dags, there was no stopping me from turning around and heading to Fantastic Caverns.

America’s Only Ride-Thru Cave

Fantastic Caverns, Springfield, MO

When I arrived at the cave, it had already started to drizzle. I got my tickets for the Jeep tour (yes, this is a ride along drive through tour) and was told we had to wait because of the rain. I chuckled and asked why we would have to wait for the rain if we were going underground. They explained that the way down becomes slippery and wanted to avoid the jeep sliding down the entrance. This put things into perspective and agreed that waiting was a good idea as I was not sure I had cave accident assistance on my insurance.

I was provided “VIP Seating” in the back of the Jeep instead of being towed behind. This is actually seating specifically for disabled or visitors with dogs which was nice. There was just enough room for myself, Raven (medium sized doggo), & Dags (small sized doggo) in the back.

The Dog Cave Tour Begins

The cave Jeep tour was very short and sweet as it was not a very large cavern. It took approximately an hour to go explore. The tour guides here avoid memorized scripts and “spiels” you may have experienced elsewhere. They try to personalize each visit and the presentations can vary from one guide to the next. They were very open to hearing from the visitors on the tour and encouraged us to ask about anything we wanted to learn more about.

They drove us through and stopped at each point of interest giving us a good overview of how it was used through history. One spot we specifically stopped at was to show us the signatures of the women who were the first to explore the cave (picture in the gallery below). The other spot of historical value was the speakeasy bar area which had been used during the prohibition era (also pictured in the gallery below).

Cave Dogs
Explore a Cave with the Doggos… Check!

They also made sure to showed off their best cave features and in some areas we even needed to duck as the ceiling was low enough for us to hit our heads. At one point, the guide asked me how my dogs do in the dark. I smiled and told her they would be fine, but thanked her for asking as I had an idea as to what was going to happen next.

This was when they turned off all of the lights in the cave for us to experience total darkness. I could feel Raven and Dags standing still and can only imagine what they were thinking. Once the lights came back on they looked at me as if nothing had happened and seemed unaffected by the darkness. Before exiting the cave, we stopped and posed for a Disney style photo to memorialize the adventure.

Unfortunately, since it was very muggy from the rain, I did not get to walk the Canyon Trail just below the visitor center. This is something I plan to do if I end up back here. The trail is about 1/2 mile winding through a section of ancient collapsed cave and then down to the Little Sac River & Indian Spring.

Overall I would highly recommend this stop especially if you have adventurous dogs. It was a nice experience being able to ride through the cave which also provided a nice cool (about 60° F year-round) climate on a hot summer day.

Fantastic Caverns – The Dog Cave

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