MARBLE FALLS — Whether it be a rainy day adventure or a sunny day expedition, Mystic Caverns has sights to see for people of all ages.
Located on the border of Boone and Newton County, Mystic Caverns offers two of the Ozark’s most breathtaking caves during a guided tour and a history lesson of how the caves were formed along with a plethora of information on the area.
The tours have come a long way since they were established in 1928. The underground journeys began with a wooden ladder into a sinkhole entrance while being guided by kerosene lanterns as a light source. The caverns have since been developed with manmade entrance tunnels along with rock walkways, handrails and a modern, indirect lighting design.
What has stayed the same is the comfortable 59 degrees in the cave and the wonders that exist within.
Steve Rush, general manager of Mystic Caverns, has been running the caverns since purchasing the property in 1988.
“I feel like God has blessed me with the opportunity to be a steward for something He created,” Rush noted of his time operating the caverns. “I’ve done the best I can with it over the last 32 years. I walk in the caves, but I don’t feel like I own it, God lets me take care of it and I’m blessed to see it bring people joy.”
In the late 1960’s, a second cave was discovered on the property only 400 feet away from Mystic. The Crystal Dome Cavern is a spectacular, undisturbed cave that features a roughly 70-foot tall section highlighted by stalactites with cave corral that are mostly pure white at the very top. The cave has been preserved which enables visitors to tour a living cave in its pristine state with over 90 percent of the formations still growing.
The tour into Mystic Cavern encompasses a large area that is nearly 300 foot long and up to 40 feet wide at it’s biggest point.
The major highlight and the best known formation in Mystic is the pipe organ. Lighting in the cave creates perfect opportunities for selfies and group photos near the large showcase.
“What makes the pipe organ so unique is that there is so much formation in such a small area,” Rush commented about the attraction.
While visiting Mystic Caverns, the personalized tour will mention many interesting stories from the past. The cave has served many purposes over the years. It has been part of such things as hosting church services all the way to a distillery, speakeasy and ballroom in the 1930’s when a wooden dance floor was once added. Even stories of the infamous spider monkey and the cave dragon will have visitors entertained while touring the majestic sight.
Each cave displays a multitude of different sized stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, columns and the occasional cave-dwelling lizard. Visitors will also notice many differences as well as similarities between the two caverns.
“You get to see a younger cave that has been protected with the Crystal Dome as well as an older cave with history in Mystic,” Rush mentioned when asked about the uniqueness of the tour. “We have two caves at two different stages of development.”
Each personalized tour features a trained guide who will lead the way through the caverns while answering questions and making the experience memorable for each visitor.
“I want people to leave here glad they came and feeling like they were treated as important,” Rush expressed about his service to visitors. “We hope to be a blessing to all that come here and they want to come back with their kids and grandkids.”
Mystic Caverns also features a recently refurbished gift shop where patrons can purchase many different types of rocks from around the world and view a detailed mineral collection with over 170 specimens from Arkansas. Adults and children can partake in a gem mining project at the sluice behind the rock shop or spend some time on dry days playing the new caveman bing bag toss game just down the hill from the store.
Mystic Caverns is located 8 miles south of Harrison on Highway 7. At this time, due to the coronavirus threat, all patrons will be required to wear masks during the tour.
For more information or to schedule a tour, visit mysticcaverns.com or call them at (870) 743-1739.