Florida Caverns State Park, Marianna
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The tour cave at Florida Caverns State Park is a wonder to behold. Your tour guide takes you deeper and deeper into the cave and the views get prettier and prettier with each room! Each room has a themed name, the wedding cake, the pipe organ, after the shapes of the calcite rock formations found inside. You see stalactites (the ones that fall from the ceiling), stalagmites (the ones that reach up from the ground), columns (when a stalactite and stalagmite meet up), and soda straws, the cutest of all- thin stalactites falling by the dozens from the ceiling of the cave! There is even a tiny pool of water at one point, and wave-like formations in the rock flowing out of the pool, called rimstones. There are also formations that have formed at an angle, creating thin, wavy sheets called draperies. These calcite rock formations take tens of thousands of years to develop and it's wonderful that they are being carefully protected by the state. Lights placed in just the right spots add to the beauty, and towards the back of the cave there are some colored lights!
A few endangered gray bats hang from the wall here and there, tiny little bats that sometimes fly around making for a fun distraction!
Our tour guide relished his job and this made for a great time for everyone. It's fairly easy to walk for this tour. The walk to the cave is very short and once inside, you need to duck down sometimes (4-foot ceiling in some places) and squeeze through a 2-foot space sometimes. The tour lasts for about an hour, and you will come out thrilled by the glory of nature. Wear sneakers and bring a light sweater as it's cold inside the cave.
After your tour, take a dip in Blue Hole Spring within the park borders, or just take in the surreal scenery around the spring and its run.
The town of Marianna is very rundown and not inspiring to explore.
Make sure you visit Falling Waters State Park, just half an hour west of here along Highway 10, and do the short walk past incredibly deep sinkholes, one with a waterfall flowing into it. It is not to be missed!
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Florida Caverns State Park is located at 3345 Caverns Rd, Marianna FL 32446, call (850) 482-9598.
Open Thurs-Mon 8am-sundown. Closed Tues and Wed. Closed Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thurs in Nov) and Dec 25.
$5 per car to enter.
You must take a tour to enter the caverns. Tours are $8 per adult, $5 per child aged 3-12, free for children aged 2 and under. Tickets can be purchased starting around 8:40am. Come then if you don't want to wait till late morning because tours fill up fast!
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Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.