Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Florida Caverns State Park - Marianna, FL

When I was a little girl, one of my fondest memories of a family vacation was when we went to Mammouth Caves in Kentucky.  I was in awe of the huge rooms filled with dripping liquid.  It was amazing to see that over time that dripping would form these beautiful sculptures that filled the entire space.  I was hooked and have loved caves ever since.  When I found out that Florida had caverns you could tour I couldnt wait.  After patiently waiting, I finally was able to get sometime off to get away.  We decided to do a mini vacation up in the panhandle area and knocked out both the Florida Caverns, but went to the Falling Waters state park as well (you can read all about that in another post).  It was very funny when we passed the Central Time Zone and gained an hour on our many hour drive up there. 

The week before we had headed up the Chipola River had flooded and much of the caverns and the trails were underwater.  The day we arrived was one of the first drier days and they decided to go ahead with the tours. I would definitely suggest if you go during rainy season to call ahead and make sure they are having the tours. (850)482-1228

We paid the basic state fee parking fee $5.00 per vehicle and an extra monies for the tour.  We were told we could walk around and then meet at the main entrance area around 9:30 for the tour.  The trails were really neat and several turned into smaller caverns.  Quite a bit of the land was still flooding from the river - but it made the view even more breathtaking.

Once you have parked you will see a very large stone building.  This has many displays discussing the flora and fauna of the state park.  It was a great place to check out before the tour began.

Some words of warning - you need to be in somewhat good shape for the climbing throughout the caves, the terrain is slippery and the tour lasts around 45 minutes.  Young children have a hard time as they are not allowed to touch anything and once you are in inside there is not wandering on your own.

Guided cave tours are offered Thursday through Monday except Thanksgiving and Christmas (no cave tours on Tuesday and Wednesday). The tour lasts 35-40 minutes and is considered to be moderately strenuous

If you or your family would like to check it out - I would say go for it - you will all be spelunkers in no time - http://www.floridastateparks.org/floridacaverns/default.cfm    

Inside the cave we had to go in the back entrance due to the flooding.  We started at the end, worked our way towards the beginning and then turned and headed back out the way we came. 


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Falling Waters State Park - Chipley, FL

Around the end of January, Duane and I took a mini vacation.  I have been wanting to go to the Florida State Caverns for a while now and we thought this would be a perfect time.  Since the caverns and the highest water fall in Florida are several hours away from our house, we decided to hit both of them.  The Saturday we arrived in Chipley was a brisk and very windy day.  I was not expecting the waterfall to be as beautiful as it was. 

They even have a little butterfly and hummingbird garden area.

Along along the walk way there were many sink holes to check out - It would be extremely scary walking through these woods befoe the walkways were built - some of the sinkholes were a good 30 - 50ft down.

You walk along a boardwalk for a while and then you can begin to hear the sounds of the falling waters.  Upon further investigation you can see that the waterfall falls directly into a sinkhole that is about 100ft from the top.

Further investigation of the park revealed the water supply for the fall.  With the man made Lake and Dam the waterfall will be able to continue to fall for many years to come.

want to check it out for yourself - no problems - http://www.floridastateparks.org/fallingwaters/