Fantastic Caverns

Useful Information

Location: Off I-44 near Springfield, take rt. 13 for 2.5km to Fantastic Caverns Road
Open: Daily 8 to sundown, closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Dec. 24.
Classification: ExplainKarst cave
Light: electric
Guided tours: D=50min., L=1600m.
Address: Fantastic Caverns, 4872 North Farm Road 125, Springfield, MO 65803, Tel. +1-417-833-2010
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1862 discovered by a farmer's dog.
1867 first exploration by 12 women from Springfield.
1887 electric light installed, powered by a generator.
1920 converted into a gas-lighted Prohibition speakeasy.
1925 to 1937 meetings of the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan held in the cave.
1950s named Fantastic Caverns.
1961 purchased by Mark Trimble, owner of the Shepherd of the Hills Farm near Branson.


The tour through Fantastic Caverns is done on a large trailer pulled by a propane powered Jeep, which is called tram. This strange vehicle has room for about 25 visitors. Therefore the tour is convenient for handicapped, seniors or families with small children, if they are able to clim on the tram. And for the protection of the cave, the Jeeps are powered by the clean burning propane.

It was discovered in 1862 by John Knox, who owned the land. His hunting dog chased an animal into the well-hidden cave opening. Knox entered the cave only far enough to retrieve his dog. The first exploration took place five years later and was carried out by a group of 12 women from Springfield. We guess there is an interesting story behind this early womans liberation, but we could not find out details.

The cave was equipped with electric light twenty years later, we guess this was also the time of the opening as a show cave, and probably there were some other developments like trails and railings at teh same time. The cave light was powered by a steam engine for the first 25 years, then a delco-light replaced the steam engine.

From the 1950s to the 1960s the cave was home to weekly live country music show. This show took place in a room called Auditorium room which is large enough to seat several thousand people.

The cave live of Fantastic cavern is very interresting. Several cave animals (troglobionts) live in this cave. The Ozark cavefish, the cave crayfish and the grotto salamander have two things in common: they white and blind. This are typical features of cave animals, who never see the sunlight in their livetime.