It's finally summer - the busiest time of the year for those operating tourist attractions in the Lake of the Ozarks region. We're getting into the swing of things with our extended hours (regular tour times from 9 in the morning to 5 in the evening), full staff of summer help (many return guides and some great new ones as well) and implemention of all of our new attractions and our new merchandise.
When you visit Stark Caverns this summer, you can participate in an amazing array of adventures and activities. This is not your typical cave experience. Here's what you might choose to enjoy:
- The area's only Blacklight Cave Tour. After discovering how incredible the cave looked in blacklight, we decided we had to offer the opportunity to the public. We developed an hour-long specialty tour that has been selling out every night it's been offered. We started at just 1 night per week and then moved to 3, with 2 tours per night. We'll increase availability if we still can't keep up with demand. Check our facebook event site for the latest dates and times. Call 573-369-3306 to reserve your spot today.
- The world's only known escape room in a cave -- The Grimm Tale at Stark Caverns. We partnered with successful escape room company Lake Escape to offer a truly unique experience. This is only offered on weekends during the summer. You can purchase individual tickets or book the entire time slot - book here. There are 3 sessions offered each weekend night it's running -- 6:15, 7:30 and 8:45. We take up to 8 people per escape session. Details and a great video may be found here.
- A high-tech photo in the cave system - get your picture taken in the cave and see it on screen in the cave and in the Visitor Center within a few minutes. You'll have the opportunity to see your photo and purchase a copy right while you're in the cave. When you purchase, a print request is automatically sent to the Visitors Center where your photo will be printed and ready for pick-up by the time you get there.
- Our new Geode Cracker -- located right on the deck by the door, you have the opportunity to select a geode to crack open with our powerful new cracking tool. You'll put on gloves and protective eye glasses, wrap a chain that looks like a bicycle chain around your geode, and squeeze the huge tool together with your hands until the geode splits open to reveal its crystal treasures.
- The Stark Caverns Sluice -- you can "pan" for gemstones and fossils in our extensive sluice located right off the Visitors Center. "Kids" of all ages love selecting a bag of mining rough, gradually pouring it into their tray, and gently sifting it through the running sluice water to discover their gems and fossils. Most guests choose to purchase the Mother Lode bag which guarantees a big chunk of amethyst, a wide range of minerals, and a great assortment of fossils such as arrowheads and shark teeth.
- A time to commune with nature -- we have 6 well-used rocking chairs on our huge deck with a great view of hummingbirds feeding on our feeders. We seem to be a favorite location for a flock of the little beauties. We also have a new butterfly garden, native plant garden and bee house. Many folk enjoy seeing the koi fish in our pond or perhaps a turtle or two.
- Shopping for mementos of your visit to Stark Caverns or just items that you love. We now have a great range of Stark-branded merchandise including mugs, stickers, keyrings, magnets, shotglasses, t-shirts, carabiners and more. One of our most popular new items is the Silipint Stark-branded silicone cups. These colorful 16 oz cups can be put on the grill, in the freezer or microwave, used to keep hot and cold beverages hot and cold, and they last essentially forever. They are really fun and practical. We've already had to reorder stock after just a few weeks of selling them.
The busiest time of the day tends to be between 11 and 3, so we encourage you to come early in the day or late in the day. Regardless of when you come, please do visit and stay awhile. We look forward to seeing you and helping you enjoy some memorable adventures this summer.