Blanchard Springs Caverns is located 15 miles northwest of Mountain View, Arkansas, on state Highway 14. There are several different types of cave tours offered, with varying prices. You can phone 877-444-6777 or visit www.recreation.gov/ to make tour reservations.
Blanchard Springs Caverns is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service, and is a part of the Ozark/St.Francis National Forest. The Visitor Center is where you enter the Caverns, and its hours of operation vary, depending on the season. Phone 870-757-2211 to find out the hours it is open, during the visit you are planning to the area.
The Visitor Center has an exhibit hall that contains excellent exhibits to explain about the development of the caverns, deep below the earth.
There are 3-dimensional diorama maps to help give visitors both an "overview" and "underview" of the terrain surrounding the caverns.
A large, easy-to-read wall display shows exactly where along the tour. that various "landmark" formations are located. In addition, a free 20-minute movie is shown every half hour.
One of the displays shows the equipment used by early spelunkers before the caverns was open to the public. In addition, there is a special "Wild Cave Tour" one can purchase (that includes the necessary cave gear), for dedicated spelunkers who want to explore the undeveloped reaches of the underground system.
Another exhibit illustrates how the creek that flows through the area was "harnessed" to produce power for grinding grains in a mill, using a water wheel, back in the "olden days".
I took this photo inside the Great Cathedral Room of the caverns, using a hand-held point and shoot camera. However, dedicated photographers can inquire about making arrangements for a special "Photographer's Cave Tour", where one can set up a tripod, and spend some extra time composing your photograph.
This photo shows the amphitheater area where around 100 people can sit at one time, to listen to their tour guide, or simply rest. It is also the location for special musical concerts that are held in the caverns periodically.
I took this photo when I attended a December concert a while back, called "Caroling in the Caverns". Seeing this musician deep under the earth---knees bent, while sitting on a chair---singing about the birth of Jesus, is the image I am using to help me visualize my First Place 4 Health ( www.FirstPlace4Health.com/ ) memory verse, that says "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:10-11
Because of the popularity of the musical performances in the caverns, additional concerts are now scheduled, so you do not have to wait until December! The next special concert is in honor of St. Patrick's Day, and is called "Celtic in the Caverns". There will be two performances on Saturday, March 15, and one performance on Sunday, March 16. The performers are the Celtic Breeze Band, and you can learn more about them on their website at www.celticbreezeband.com . If you live outside Mountain View, you can phone 870-585-2406 and purchase your ticket for $21, using your credit card. The price includes admission into the caverns, but does not include a tour of the caverns. However, you can phone the caverns to reserve a tour spot before the performance. Remember to dress warmly because the cave is a constant 58 degrees Fahrenheit, and damp. And of course, remember to wear GREEN! Listening to Irish music, in this awe-inspiring underground cavern, will give you "MILES OF SMILES"!! Tricia