|Location:||Historic Doling Park, 301 E. Talmage St, Springfield.|
All year every other sunday.
Lantern Tours: per person USD 3.
Get Wet ‘N Muddy Tunnel Tours: per person USD 5.
|Classification:||Karst cave Burlington Limestone|
|Light:||helmets and lamps provided|
|Guided tours:||D=60min, V=3,000/a.|
Northview Center in Historic Doling Park, 301 E. Talmage St, Springfield, MO
Springfield-Greene County Park Board, 1923 North Weller, Springfield, Missouri 65803, Tel: +1-417-864-1049, Fax: +1-417-837-5811. E-mail:
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1846||a 40-acre tract purchased by John Thomas Giboney and his brother James Giboney for $60.|
|1882||land sold to James Marshall Doling for $2,500.|
|17-MAR-1907||Doling Park purchased by "The Springfield Amusement Company" for $50,000.|
|1929||sold to the City of Springfield for USD 85,000.|
|1970s||the last of the rides were removed.|
|2000||restart of tours at the cave.|
Doling Cave is a former show cave, which is now guided after appointment and at irregular open days throughout summer. It has a wide entrance portal, but a rather low ceiling of about 2m, with a spring flowing from it. The cave is a single passage with very little speleothems, a typical river passage with an exceptional flat ceiling. It is formed by a harder, more resistant layer of limestone, which contains starfish and other fossils. There is a waterfall which is almost 2m high.
The cave is located in Doling Park, a former amusement park which was famous for its roller rink. The cave was originally named Giboney Cave, after the first owners John Thomas Giboney and his brother James Giboney. James Marshall Doling was one of Springfield's outstanding merchants and important for the development of north Springfield in many ways. One day the family cow wandered away and while searching for it, Doling discovered the beautiful cave surrounded by trees. He liked the cave so much, he bought the land and later created a recreation center together with his son Robert Doling. They built three lakes by daming the spring water, added a pavilion, a ride called Shoot-the-Chutes, a theater, bandstands, and a picnic area.
After 25 years he sold the area to "The Springfield Amusement Company". They intensified the amusement sector and the heyday of the park began. There were 19 different rides, the spring powered merry-go-round is today in the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
After the City of Springfield purchased the park in 1929 they opened boat service inside Doling Park Cave. They opened the park for free, but the rides declined and were shut down one after the other. Finally only the roller skating remained. A swimming pool and tennis courts were added.
Today the cave is generally closed to the public, but private tours can be scheduled throughout the year. Public tours are offered sporadically, several times a year. The cave is overwhelmingly dubbed Doling Park's Outdoor Underground Classroom Cave. The visitors get hard hats and the tour is semi-wild, due to the lack of electric light.