• Loraine Nicole Meek

California Cavern - Stalactites, Stalagmites, and Columns, Oh My!

Updated: Aug 9, 2019

Before visiting California Cavern in Cave City, we had never been "spelunking" before (or had even heard the word...and it means "to explore caves,", incase you haven't heard of it either). Since we'd have three young children in tow, I wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting us into, literally and figuratively.



Once I was certain that our children were old enough to take the tour and we were in the right season to do so (the cavern ultimately closes down every Winter and has limited hours in the Fall as well), we planned our two-hour trip there.


The kids found some awesome rocks in the gold panning area!

We were pleasantly surprised to find that there was so much to explore before entering the cavern! Panning for gold, identifying rocks, and studying maps made for a super fun distraction while we waited for our tour time!


Lana and Aviah enjoyed checking out the pretty rocks.

It's amazing to see the layout of the cavern before entering. California Cavern is California's longest cave system as well as its very first show cave!


California Cavern was originally called Mammoth Cave!

Hardhats are mandatory (and for good reason), so you might want to consider that when styling everyone's hair in the morning. ;) Also, be sure to wear layers as the temperature in the cavern is normally cooler than the temperature outside.


When you think they can't get any cuter, put a hard hat on them! <3

We entered the cavern through a narrow metal gate. The walk itself was mild and wasn't a problem for any of the kiddos. However, I do suggest you prepare them for the low lighting conditions. There may be a point in your tour when all the lights are turned off so you can experience total darkness! Though totally awesome, it's definitely something you want to mention to young children ahead of time.


We threw Austin in first to make sure it was safe ;)

The cavern tour is truly breathtaking and phenomenal! Just incase you're planning your own trip, I won't ruin it by posting pictures of every part of the tour, but I definitely want to share a few of our favorites!


Do you know the difference between stalactites and stalagmites? (The answer is in the next photo caption!)

Another thing you might want to mention to little ones ahead of time is that there is absolutely no touching while on the tour. There is one spot, however, where we were able to touch a small formation and our guide let us know when we were approaching it.


A stalactite is an icicle-shaped formation that hangs from the ceiling of a cave, whereas a stalagmite is an upward-growing mound! By the way, this is a quick shot of the stalagMITE we were able to touch on our tour!

We were guided through various rooms all with unique formations before being led back out into daylight through a second gate. Success!!! Beforehand, I had wondered if I would feel claustrophobic but it turns out I didn't at all! We all had such a blast spelunking for the first time and decided that we would definitely explore more caverns in the future!


Another way to remember the difference is to think about how a stalactite has to hold on "TITE" to the ceiling!

If you love learning about our beautiful Earth, I highly recommend exploring California Cavern or any of the Caverns in Northern California! If you're too far away to check this one out, do a quick search to see if there are any caverns near you to explore! You can get all the info you'll be needing for your trip here!


Be sure to check out the gift shop! It's pretty awesome!

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Happy Spelunking!



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