Ultimate Guide to Cosmic Cavern, Arkansas (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
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Cosmic Cavern is a limestone cave, one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Arkansas, and the biggest privately owned cave in the state. When you are in the Berryville area of NW Arkansas and looking for things to do here, you must check out this beautifully decorated cave.
It is not hard to locate this cave, and once you come here, you will find lots of photo opportunities here; don’t forget to carry your camera.
Cosmic Cavern, Arkansas
Like the other caves in Arkansas, Cosmic Cavern is made from limestone. The cave was discovered in 1845, but it was not projected as a show cave until 1927. As with other Arkansas caves, Cosmic Cavern is a living Karst cave. It was created by natural erosion over thousands of years. Flowing water ate away the softer rock limestone to leave an empty pocket. It is a ‘living’ cave as it is still forming through deposited minerals by the flowing waters.
How Big is Cosmic Cavern?
Exact measurement of the cosmic cavern is not available, but the regular cave tour covers approximately 1/3rd of a mile. Most of the cave tour is conducted on level ground. So, from here, we can ascertain how enormous the cosmic cavern could be.
History of Cosmic Cavern
If you are keen to know the history of Cosmic Cavern, then you need to go back to 4th September 1845 when John Moore and his two sons were looking for lead in the Ozark Mountains, north of the place where Berryville stands now. However, they did not find any lead that they were hoping to find but stumbled upon a cave.
They named the cave after themselves – Moore’s Cave, and it came to be known by various names as years passed by, such as Bear Cave, Joe Johnson Cave, Mystic Cave, and, today, Cosmic Cavern. It is now the largest privately owned show cave in Arkansas which houses the largest underground lake in the Ozarks.
The present owners of the cave, Randy and Anita Langhover, have said that the early explorers have found the first chamber of the cave and an underground lake that was 200 ft below the opening. In the 1880s, the Ewell family homesteaded above the cave and mined “cave onyx”. In 1927, a stairway into the cave was built for the first time to begin cave tours.
In the later years, more of the cave was discovered and developed. The most significant breakthrough came in 1993 when Randy discovered a new section of the cave that was more than 1000 ft and yet another subterranean lake. A new room was created, which was christened “Oh My God” honoring Randy’s first words upon discovering this section. CBS even featured the new section and informed everyone about the discovery.
The Langhovers have owned the cave since 1980, and they claim that there are tons of fantastic and thrilling stories about the Cosmic Cavern. Some of these stories are shared by the guides on the tours to the cavern.
Geological Cave Formations in Cosmic Cavern
The Cosmic Cavern is home to a wide range of beautiful and bizarre cave formations known as speleothems. Some of these formations look like melted wax, but others have taken beautiful shapes – stalactites, flowstone, cave bacon, draperies, helictite, stalagmites, and many more.
One section in the cave has a fascinating group of soda straws that have been dubbed as Silent Splendor. It is one of the longest soda straw formations in the Ozarks, as some of the straws hang up to 9 ft in length.
Wildlife in Cosmic Cavern
Cosmic Cavern has a couple of ‘reportedly’ bottomless lakes, among the Ozarks’ largest underground lakes. In 1957 the South Lake was artificially stocked with trout, and the tours could feed them from a platform located above. However, the South Lake does not have any trout in it for nearly 50 years.
There are still a few left, but some have lost their colors while others have gone blind. The other life forms in the cave include Ozark blind salamander and the tri-colored pip and brown bats hanging out daily. Just inside the cave entrance, you may come across the grotto salamanders that have beautiful orange and black colors.
Cosmic Cavern Tours
The Cosmic Cavern hosts a regular tour and a special tour known as the Wild Cave Tour. The Regular guided cave tours last for 1 hour and 15 minutes, and it covers around 1/3rd mile. However, there are a few sets of stairs, but most of the tour takes place on level ground. It is strange that although the visitors will be underground, the cave atmosphere is quite warm. So, you need not carry any woolens or jackets.
The cave is well lit, making it easier for you to view the strange but beautiful geological formations. Cosmic Cavern also houses a couple of bottomless cave lakes, which are complete with blind cave trout. One of these lakes was discovered only in 1993, and this recently discovered section is pristine, and most of the delicate formations are transparent. The regular tour is easy for the seniors and those traveling with families. There are about 60 stairs down and around 30 stairs up, and the rest are all bridges and ramps.
The more adventurous visitors can opt for the Wild Cave Tour. It is a unique tour offered after regular cave hours and promises to take you into the more profound and undeveloped cave parts that tourists usually don’t visit. It is an exciting and adventurous tour that lasts for about 2.5 hours and requires far more mobility from the participants.
Cosmic Cavern Tour Prices and Discounts
Now we will discuss the cavern tour prices –
- Adults (13 and above) – USD 20
- Children (5 to 12) – USD 10
- Children (4 and under) – FREE
There is a discount of USD 2 on adult admission tickets and USD 1 on child tickets. There is no information available about the pricing of Wild Cave Tours. You can call (870) 749 – 2298 for reservation and information about the Wild Cave Tours.
Is Cosmic Cavern Cold?
The cave enjoys a temperature of warm 64 degrees F in the winter and cool 64 degrees F in the summer with a humidity of 96%. The temperature remains constant no matter what season or month of the year you choose to visit. All these make Cosmic Caverns the warmest cave in the Ozarks.
What to Wear?
Since Cosmic Cavern is always warm, we recommend that you wear a long-sleeved thin shirt to avoid getting too hot and jeans or pants. You can carry an extra change of clothes in case you have opted for the Wild Cave tours. The shoes must be of good quality, but flip flops and sandals will also suffice if you have opted for the regular tours only. Since there are good opportunities to take photos, carry the camera with you and a bottle of water.
Cosmic Cavern Hours
The Cosmic Cavern is open seven days a week from 9 am to 5 pm. Mask is not required for entry into the cavern or any of the tours.
What to Do at Cosmic Cavern (Beside Tours)
When you are done exploring the caverns, you can spend some quality time above ground by indulging in various activities.
Gem panning is a fun activity that will be enjoyed by both young and old. You can buy a bag of panning dirt in the gift shop and head to the sluice box to start panning. When you visit Cosmic Cavern, you will have many things to do before and after your cave visit.
Gem panning is one of them. You will find gems like Garnet, Pumice, Copper, Calcite, Apache Tear, etc inside the bags. You will get to keep whatever you find, and each gemstone bag is worth USD 5.99
The gift shop is usually the last stop for the tourists who visit Cosmic Cavern. One can purchase tickets for the Cavern tour here, buy the bags of special dirt, or choose from the full range of usual souvenirs.
They also have a good collection of gems and rocks. But since everybody is not fond of collecting gems and rocks, the gift shop also has a good range of T-shirts, animal gifts and many unique items.
Best Time to Visit Cosmic Caverns
The caverns enjoy a warm temperature throughout the year, and it is also open on each day of the month. So, one can visit Cosmic Caverns at any time of the year at his convenience, but you should avoid the rainy season as the area gets muddy.
How to Get to Cosmic Cavern
Cosmic Cavern is strategically located near the town of Berryville and right between Eureka Springs in Arkansas and Branson in Missouri. If you are driving down from Branson, it will take just 30 minutes to get down to the cavern.
Hotels near Cosmic Cavern
The Eureka Springs B&B is less than 30 min drive from Cosmic Cavern. Some other hotels near the cavern deserve special mention, such as Fairway Inn, Rodeway Inn, and Country Mountain Inn.
Places to Stay Nearby
Download our FREE Cosmic Cavern Guide (Unofficial)
Is Cosmic Cavern Haunted?
Cosmic Cavern is not haunted at all, but there is an exciting twist. There is a so-called ‘Ghost Room’ which was opened to the public in 1985. It is a picturesque room and ideal for small weddings, and as many as 27 weddings have taken place here.
But there is a rock that has been sculpted into a coffin, and there is another one that resembles a ghost. The cave owner has admitted to hearing weird groaning noises coming out from a hole behind the figure. The owners eventually blasted away the area behind the Ghost Room with dynamite to reveal the passage to the Silent Splendor. It was a major discovery at that time, and it made national news.
Visiting Cosmic Cavern
Do you need more information before visiting Cosmic Cavern? Call (870) 749 – 2298 or send an email to Cosmic Cavern for an information packet.
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