In mid-Missouri, near a small town called Versailles (pronounced ver-SAILS, unlike the French palace), there’s a show cave called Jacob’s Cave. It is home to the world’s largest geode, reflective pools, prehistoric bones and ancient writings.
It’s also the only cave in Missouri that is fully wheelchair- and stroller-accessible. So, for those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to experience a cave, Jacob’s Cave could be a good place to visit.
The cave is large, with many different chambers and passageways that are lit up with lights. It’s a good cave for children to visit, because the tour guide points out rock formations that have grown to look uncannily like animals, such as an elephant. There’s also a “petting zoo” of rocks shaped like animals.
Actual animals live there, too: Small lizards can be seen on the walls of some parts of the cave if you’re lucky.
There are all sorts of interesting rock formations. “Bottle straw” rock formations descend delicately from the ceiling, while the walls are streaked with “cave bacon,” or stripes of colored rock.
There’s even what the cave owners claim to be the world’s largest geode, which appears to be a giant oval rock jutting from the wall of one of the passageways.
The area for the walking tour is all spacious enough that you can walk right through, but there are plenty of side passageways that are low and narrow. If your guide lets you, you might be able to crawl through some of the narrower areas of the cave.
The cave also contains a display of various animal bones and other artifacts supposedly found in the cave, as well as a display of other types of rocks and gems from other parts of the country.
Of course, there’s a gift shop, too, where you can buy different rocks, gem jewelry and other Missouri related things.
Jacob’s Cave is the first commercialized cave in the Lake of the Ozarks area and was opened for tourists in 1932. The owner of Jacob’s Cave bought it 45 years ago and has kept it open as a show cave ever since.
Missouri is often referred to as the Cave State, because of its large number of caves. Many of the natural ones are closed because of white-nose disease, a fungus affecting bats. But show caves like Jacob’s Cave remain open and are a good way for members of the public to learn about caves and geological formations.