A while back I was trying to decide what I wanted for my birthday and after thinking about it for a while I realized that I've never been to the Florida Caverns in Marianna.
I'm a 4th generation native of Northwest Florida and I've never been there.
Which is terrible.
It's only a 2 hour trip from my house and something I wanted my family to see as well so we planned a trip over there on Friday.
I wanted to camp so we'd have 2 days to explore but the Island King's work schedule is crazy these days and he had 4 shoots scheduled for Saturday so we'd just have to see as much as we could in one day.
We left here about 8 and got there right before 10.
Of course the number one objective was to take the cave tour and there was a tour starting at 10.
We got our tickets and waited about 5 minutes with the rest of the people in our tour group and then it was time.
I was so excited! I've never been in a cave before (the Cave on Hwy 90 in Holt doesn't count)and here we were about to go into a REAL cave.
The entrance to the cave is about 30 feet down. Our guide told us we'd be descending to about 50 feet at the lowest point of the tour.
We all entered the cave, the guide closed the door and we walked into a majestic, prehistoric world that I could never have imagined.
As we wandered through the tunnels and into the different rooms our guide did an excellent job of explaining how the caves were formed and provided all kinds of interesting facts about the different rooms we were in.
We came into one room she called the wedding room because this massive formation looks like a wedding cake
And the walls around the "cake" look like drapes.
She told us that a lot of people get married there.
The park only allows 25 people in the cave at a time so the weddings are small but I can imagine how beautiful it would be.
The tour takes 45 minutes and as we wandered from room to room EVERYTHING was so beautiful.
There are more caves below this one that are accessible but you have to crawl through very narrow tunnels to get to them.
Both of my boys wanted to crawl down in there but thankfully those parts of the cave are closed to the public.
One of the major rules is that you are not allowed to touch anything while in the cave which was really difficult for me and my boys were almost beside themselves wanting to climb on and touch everything.
I can't tell you how happy they were when we got to the Touching Post - the one thing in the cave that people are allowed to touch.
The guide told us the cave is full of bats but they are tiny little creatures with a wing span of about 3 inches. She assured us they wouldn't fly into our hair or bother us at all but I was little nervous until I saw one.
They look like moths and according to our guide they eat about 500 mosquitoes an hour.
I wonder if I can import them to my yard.
It was truly the most incredible thing I've ever seen and I would have spent hours wandering around in there if they would have let me.
After the tour we went back out to the car where the Island Girl was waiting.
She absolutely refused to go inside the cave with us claiming that she is deathly afraid of caves.
I have no idea how she knows she's afraid of them when she's never been in one but she's a teenager so there's really no explanation for a lot of things she does.
She really missed out and I hope that when she's older she'll come back and take the tour.
She also doesn't like to hike so she stayed in the van again while we took a hike.
She came because it was my birthday present but she pretty much spent the day reading in the van.
We found some really interesting overhangs along the trail. This one was particularly interesting.
It was weird to sit there knowing that Indians from so long ago sat in this very spot.
The Youngest was mad when we found this spot because we wouldn't let him crawl up in there on his belly.
It's scary how that child is willing to do anything.
This was an incredible birthday present and I can't wait to go back and see it all again.
It was incredible.
For more info on the history of the caverns you can go here.