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YEAR #2 - STOP #56

Missouri's official nickname is "The Show Me State". But another nickname that everyone around here is familiar with is "The Cave State". As seen is the photo on the left only Tennessee has more known caves than Missouri. While the public can't visit every one of them, there are 10 show caves listed on the National Caves Association website for Missouri, more than any other state. Only Tennessee comes close with 8 show caves in their state.

We hope to visit seven of the ten show caves here in Missouri before leaving the state later this month. We hope you all are enjoying all the photos we're sharing here. Trust me when I say it's ten times better being there in the cave than what we try very hard to show you in the photos.

FRIDAY - We are once again visiting two caves in one day. The first up is Jacob's Cave and it just so happens that this weekend is their Animal Swap Weekend. Three times a year they hold this event where people get together and swap animals. If you've got extra chickens and need a goat this is the place you'll want to be. It's not only an animal swap it's a full blown flea market atmosphere. We didn't see anything we just couldn't live without, but there were several hundred vendors selling everything imaginable and thousands of people there buying.

Just part of one of a dozen rows of vendors.

It was $5 to park, but we got that back and more with a 20% discount coupon for the cave tour that was printed on the parking receipt. The cave tour was nice and short but the cave differed from most of our tours in the fact that their natural entrance was rather large instead of the usual small hole in the wall most caves were discovered by. With such a large entrance it meant that all kinds of animal fossils and bones were discovered in the cave. They were very nicely displayed inside a glass cabinet.

Glass cabinet full of bones found in the cave.

Up close encounter with a large flowstone formation.

Our second cave tour of the day was at nearby Stark Caverns. Three times a week this cavern offers an after-hours special tour where each guest carries a black-light flashlight. This special Blacklight Tour is led by a cave mineralogist who points out unique fluorescent minerals & explains the science of fluorescence. Using the black-lights we saw orange, red, blue, purple and yellow fluorescent rock formations that when viewed with white light all looked to be the same brown color. It was a unique experience for us, but with the NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY rule is was very hard to capture and share with you.

This orange colored rock almost looked like it was smoldering.

This yellow colored rock almost was as bright as the moon.

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