I know Branson well. When I visited to do research for this story back in April, it marked my sixth trip to town in the past eight years. I was delighted, then, to explore Marvel Cave, an underground treasure that I had never seen before.
Marvel Cave lies below the surface of Silver Dollar City and was the original attraction that drew visitors to the spot. Today, theme park activity has eclipsed the draw of the cave itself, but visitors can take a free 45-minute tour of the cave as part of their admission to Silver Dollar City.
I joined a cave tour during my day visiting the park and was amazed by what I saw. We descended 450 steps into Marvel Cave on foot and were treated to spectacular views along the way. One of the most memorable sights is the Cathedral Room, a 200-foot-high cavern that is the largest entry point of any cave in North America.
The tour continued along a half-mile path that took us past spectacular rock formations and waterfalls. Many of the rock formations were created by the slow drip of water over thousands of years. They have been lit in dramatic fashion to help showcase the stunning beauty of this secret underground world.
Although thousands of visitors were having a great time above ground, those of us who took the time to tour this fantastic cave got the best experience of all.