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“Lovely cave and valley”

Smallin Civil War Cave
Ranked #1 of 12 things to do in Ozark
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Discovered in 1818, Smallin Cave’s breathtaking ten-story arch will lead you into rich human history, unusual geology and rare cave life. One-hour guided tours, Open year-round.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Reviewed 15 April 2014

Cave is large and sits in a lovely wooded valley. It has not been fully studied or explored, so contains many mysteries. Evidence of humans goes back to maybe ten thousand years ago, and there are fossils and bones of ancient mammals. Guide was entertaining.

Thank Lowkeytraveler_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (192)
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127 - 131 of 192 reviews

Reviewed 6 April 2014

We went as a family. We had 11 people, some with children under 10 and over 16 this tour was affordable, fun and the staff was very friendly and nice. They made the tour fun for all. My family had a great time. The cave was awesome.

Thank Leesaleesa130
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2014

We are visiting Branson and while they have many caves to choose from to visit we picked to go for a drive to visit this one. Glad we drove the 30 miles to get there and see some other things while in the area. Wayne was our guide and he was great! He made my 5 year old daughter his "helper" and that she did. ;) it was very interesting, I love fossils so it was exciting to see ll of those deep in the cave ceiling. We also got to see a couple of bats along the way and the formations in the cave were beautiful. It was a very informative tour and took about an hour, my daughter never got bored once. After the tour ended we looked through the gift shop all the things were very well priced so we were even able to pick up some gifts for my daughters friends and her teacher there! Worth the trip for sure!!!
Just in case you're wondering I'd wear tennis shoes even though its an easy walk all on pavement and it was actually Warner the deeper in the cave you got but we all wore jackets just in case. Not a long walk or strenuous at all. Also we were the only ones on the tour on a Monday around 1:45.

Thank 303TRH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 March 2014

Living 2 hours away I had never heard of this cave until I was looking for a place to take 2nd and 3rd graders for a field trip. We went and couldn't have had a better time. This family owned business was both informative and fun. Our guide was entertaining and (as a history teacher) I appreciated his simple, yet, accurate descriptions of local history. I will be returning with both my family and more students!

Thank Stacy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2014

I have been to Carlsbad Caverns, Mammoth Cave, Marvel Cave and other local Ozark area caves, but I have not enjoyed any visit any more than our visit to the Smallin Civil War Cave.

At the Smallin Cave, the homespun, humorous tour guide, Kevin Bright, walked us through a flavorful history of the area and what the cave meant to the people and the indigenous wildlife. His interpretive skills in science, civilizations, and natural history made him much more interesting than a park ranger or tour guide for any other cave I had visited. You can see that he not only loves the cave, the land, and the history, but also wants to make learning for the people on tour an enjoyable experience.

There are ancient fossil impressions from thousands, if not millions, of years ago. Where else could you see a starfish fossil impression and a giant four foot work fossil impression in the ceiling of a cave? Also very cool were the shark's teeth that are embedded in the ceiling of the cave. He said that scientist are trying to identify the species from the fossilized spine, and if they cannot, maybe he'll be entitled to name it. I would love to see the Ozark Cave Shark become a newly know extinct species.

Meanwhile, there are also living creature everywhere in the cave and you don't have to walk miles to see them. Within the easy, handicapped friendly, walking trail of a quarter mile or so, you see evidence of many things: blind crayfish, bats within arm's reach (but no touching!), layers of history etched into the rocks, petroglyphs, Native American stair steps, and still more things too numerous to cover here.

What makes this experience unique is the perfect weaving of human history with natural history in a setting of great wonder. While hyperactive children might be challenged, old and young alike should be able to enjoy this visit immensely. My wife and discovered, while visiting with Kevin and Wanetta Bright, the owners of the property, that they have each written a book about the cave and the area. Their love for their work shines through and I think they are now an integral part of the experience.

We are now considering some of the other events they have in fall. We just didn't plan on spending enough time there. While the tour is about one hour, we would suggest planning on two hours so you can spend some time in the gift store. There are some pretty cool things there and worth the time and money.

While you're in the area, there are some nice stops south of the Smallin Cave along the Finley River that are nice spots to stop and fish or picnic or talk. Next time we go, we are going to spend more time...and I'll look forward to it.

Thank farris41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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