Onondaga Cave State Park – Southeast MO

Disclaimer: Our visit was hosted, however, all opinions expressed in this article are completely ours and based on our own family’s unique experience.

The Visit Neighboring States Series

North of Arcadia Valley, just off I44 is an amazing underground cavern at Onondaga Cave State Park – Southeast Mo.

Tour this fantastic “living” wet cave that is always growing and changing, located 90 minutes from the town of Ironton.

This cave is easy to find if you don’t drive through Mark Twain National Forest. Skip the confusing, gravel backroads and travel north on HWY 21.

Stop and browse the quaint shops in Caledonia or find a neat geocache at the Post Office.

People on a tour at Onondaga Cave State Park in Leasburg MO

 

Order Tickets & Prepare

Cave tours are scheduled April – October. Check the website before making plans. Afternoon tours are slower with fewer large groups.

Map of Onondaga Cave State Park in Leasburg MO

 

Tours are reasonably priced for the 75 minute excursion. Our guide, a local woman who even owns a cave, was knowledgeable and fun.

57 degrees is the year round temperature in the cave. Hubby and the kids were fine in shorts and a jacket, but I wore pants and a hat. While it was a little chilly, it was a humid chill and wasn’t uncomfortable.

The walkways are slippery and wet, so wear sturdy shoes.

The tour is not exhausting and should be easily managed by all ages. A stroller will be challenging to maneuver on the slippery slopes, so consider a carrier.

Tickets to tour at Onondaga Cave State Park in Leasburg MO

Before the Cave Tour

Enjoy a leisurely ten minute stroll down the paved trail, just left of the visitor center, to the natural spring and original cave entrance.  The amount of water flowing out of the springs is hard to comprehend. It’s a serene area and worth the time to visit.

 

My son was very excited to “discover” the original cave entrance. He spotted it on his own and it made him feel like an adventurer.

Original entrance to cave at Onondaga Cave State Park in Leasburg MO

 

Back inside the visitor center, your family can learn more through the information displays. There are glass cases with example rock formations and other artifacts for viewing.

An educational room designed just for kids to touch and feel is very enticing! Curious children will be kept busy in this room for a long time.

Consider signing your children up for the Missouri Explorer Program. Participants can earn a patch for completing activities including the guided cave tour.

 

The Tour

The cave is entered through a special room in the visitor center. This room protects the cave from drying out. Before the start of the tour, visitors will watch a short video that enhances the cave experience.

People on tour at Onondaga Cave State Park in Leasburg MO

 

The guide will move the group slowly through the cave pointing out special features and sharing information.

Rock formations at Onondaga Cave State Park in Leasburg MO

 

The tour atmosphere is relaxed and fun. Feel free to ask questions as you go and encourage the kids to share what interests them.

 

I loved the different colors throughout the cave. It’s fascinating to learn how the cave features get their color.

 

The rock formations are unique and a special experience. Our family has never seen anything like this cave before.

Rock formations at Onondaga Cave State Park in Leasburg MO

 

Describing the depth and vastness of the cave is a challenge. Pictures do not fully express it’s shear size.

Inside cave at Onondaga Cave State Park in Leasburg MO

 

Visitors experience several different large rooms, each with their own unique features.

Large cavern inside cave at Onondaga Cave State Park in Leasburg MO

 

A favorite by all is the Lily Pad room. Water levels vary in this room based on rainfall. During our visit the water was higher because of the weather.

Lily Pad Room at Onondaga Cave State Park in Leasburg MO

 

Each room or area of the cave is different and worth exploring. After visiting both Niagara Cave & Onondaga Cave, we have a better understanding of how caves vary. I look forward to attending another cave tour to further our understanding of what lies below us.  

Rock formations at Onondaga Cave State Park in Leasburg MO

 

It’s amazing to think about all the caves here in the United States. I am really glad we have the opportunity to visit caves like Onondaga.

Number of caves sign at Onondaga Cave State Park in Leasburg MO

Missouri has AMAZING state parks that you won’t want to miss! Check out Elephant Rocks State Park and Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park.

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