Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Desoto Caverns

By Rhoda

Originally from GA, Rhoda and her husband now reside in Birmingham since 2005. She has a decorating business from home, where she helps other women feather their nests. A bonafide yardsale queen, she wears the crown proudly & loves to hunt down bargains wherever they may be. You will find her out junking or thrifting, with a paintbrush in her hand most days, as she is happiest when creating something pretty!

Georgia has Stone Mountain. Alabama has DeSoto Caverns.


Last year, my hubby took his daughter to DeSoto Caverns and I heard all about it, but had to miss that trip. And it sounded like a very interesting place to visit, so on Memorial Day, we decided to go back so that I could see it for myself. I was very happy we did, as the place is just amazing. Located in Childersburg, AL (not a thriving metropolis, by any means), it’s really out in the middle of nowhere and seeing the caverns in person was really awe-inspiring. I have never seen anything like it! If you read the above sign, it will give the background of DeSoto Caverns and how they came to be.


If you really want the history on DeSoto Caverns Park, click on the link above and go to their website. They explain it a lot better than I can. But the beginnings of this cave date back to the 1500’s when DeSoto was exploring this country and from there went on to the native Indians of this region, as well as Civil War ties and Prohibition. There was even a tavern down there for a short time during Prohibition.


It’s apparently been owned for generations by the same family. There’s a waterfall out front. You can even book overnight stays in the caverns. Now that, I don’t think I’d want to do. It’s cool and damp down there, not the best sleeping accommodations. But, I bet kids love it!


Statue of DeSoto


An old gristmill replica, they even have gold and gem mining available. This place totally reminds me of the places in Cherokee, NC that we used to visit when I was growing up. I was always fascinated by the gemstones that could be found in the old riverbeds of mountain streams.


This place has the tumbled gems available too. Took me back to my childhood, when I was a rock lover and gemstone hound. Once when we were young, me and my sister and some cousins went out gemstone hunting in the creeks in NC and came home with rocks full of garnets. We picked out the garnets and kept them in bottles for a long time. I think we even added some sand and had visions of polishing our own gemstones. Didn’t work and I have no idea what happened to that bottle of garnet nuggets.


It was just in the 1990’s that this large tunnel was built down to the caverns. DeSoto Caverns is the first recorded cave in US history. I did not know that. The only other time I’ve been in any cave remotely like this was visiting the Lost Sea in TN. I looked them up and they are still going too. I have so many fond memories of visiting sites like this growing up.


Our young tour guide was very knowledgeable and helpful.


I took a few pics down there to give you an idea of the scope and magnitude of the place. The largest room of the cave is 12 stories high and bigger than a football field, if that tells you anything. Quite amazing! If you want to see more pics and video, click on the DeSoto Caverns website for all the scoop.


Do you all remember learning about stalactites and stalagmites in school? I vaguely recall that discussion, but he pricked our memories with a little lesson about the 2. Stalactites hang from the ceiling and stalagmites grow up from the floor.


This was the site of an old Indian burial ground.


This is the largest room, but you can barely see the scope of it all.


I’m tellin’ you, it is really amazing. I loved the tour.


They discovered this graffiti from IW Wright dates back to 1723. Isn’t that the coolest?

...for more on what Desoto Caverns has to offer, visit Rhoda's original post about her trip!


Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Thanks, Rachel! Hopefully this will help others in AL see that we have some great places to visit. I really enjoyed our visit to DeSoto.

Wade's World said...

I love Desoto Caverns. It's so much fun, especially in the summer time when its hot as Hades here in Alabama!

Tammy said...

I still remember this field trip and learning the difference between the -tites and -mites!

I need to take my kids.

Derek said...

What a great place. We have taken a group of Cub Scouts up there to spend the night several times. They love it!

billco said...

Been meaning to plan a trip to DeSoto. Thanks for the preview.

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