Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cathedral Caverns State Park - Woodville, Alabama - July 19, 2011

After leaving Bridgeport, we drove about 50 miles south-west to the town of Woodville, Alabama. Woodville is home to Cathedral Caverns State Park. Since the boys are so fond of caves we just knew they would love visiting this one!

Originally called Bats' Cave, Cathedral Caverns was opened to the public in 1955. The owner at the time, Jay Gurley, took his wife through the cave and she said all the formations reminded her of a cathedral - which is where the current name originated. In 1987 it became an official State Park. The cave went through major renovations not long after becoming a State Park and reopened in August 2000. The cave now has a paved lighted pathway 10 feet above the original path. After using the cave to film the 1995 Tom and Huck a generous donation from the Walt Disney company afforded the opportunity to build a bridge inside the cave that was designed by the Alabama Department of Transportation. This bridge made the majority of the cave wheelchair accessible.

Cathedral Caverns claims to hold 6 world records.
#1 Widest cave entrance of any commercial cave in the world - 128 feet wide and 25 feet tall.
 #2 "Goliath" is the world's largest column formation - 43 feet tall, 243 feet in circumference, and 40 feet thick. The crack in the column was supposedly caused by the great 1812 Missouri earthquake that also made parts of the Mississippi River run backwards for a few hours.
#3 Largest flow stone wall - 32 feet tall and 135 feet long

#4 Largest "frozen" waterfall

#5 Largest stalagmite forest of any cave in the world

#6 Most improbable formation in a freestanding stalagmite - 3 inches wide at the base, 25 feet tall, growing on a rock that is sitting at a 45-degree angle.

The original entrance to the stalagmite forest is a small hole that floods every time it rains. After Mr. Gurley, the owner at the time, was trapped on the wrong side of the hole a new entrance was planned.
The hole in this picture is located just above #1's left hand.

This bridge was part of the original tour when the cave opened to the public in 1955. The Disney bridge is much safer!

The cave is an official fallout shelter. It is estimated that about 10,000 people could fit in the cave - however there are only enough parking spaces for 50 cars. In case of emergency....arrive early!!

According to the park's superintendent, if a cloud has formed just inside the entrance to the cave it is going to rain within 24-48 hours. It rained the day this picture was taken!

The boys give this cave two thumbs up!

No comments:

Post a Comment