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Florida Caverns reopening after Hurricane Michael


Manager’s Message

 

“I am pleased to announce Florida Caverns State Park will open a limited portion of the park on July 1, 2019, nine months after the devastating effects of Hurricane Michael. Only the Ranger Station, Visitor Center, Museum, and Cave Tours will be open at that time.”

Florida Caverns state park entrance damage after Hurricane Michael

Damage to park entrance

Tickets for the guided flashlight cave tour may be purchased daily, in person, at the Florida Caverns Gift Shop. They are sold on a first come, first serve basis beginning at 9 am Central Standard Time (CST) Monday through Sunday, excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.  Although the cave’s electricity has not been restored, we are in the process of upgrading the lighting to increase our visitors cave experience.  Because of the power outage, every visitor participating in the cave tour will need a flashlight. Flashlights will be provided but must be returned at the end of the tour.  Visitors have the option to buy a Florida Caverns State Park monogrammed flashlight, at a discounted price, if bought from the Gift Shop at the time of the cave tour ticket purchase.  Limited parking is available.  Arrive early, cave tickets may sell out in advance.

Sweet Gum pavillion destructoin

Sweet Gum pavillion

The park has undergone a tremendous transformation from the effects of Hurricane Michael.  Beautiful flowers are blooming, pleasant bird songs can be heard, wildlife can be seen on the move, and green leaves are sprouting on the remaining trees throughout the park.  We are excited to welcome visitors back.  For your safety, please heed all park closure signs as we continue cleaning the remaining hurricane debris in those areas.  Driving patterns may be altered by flagmen to accommodate heavy equipment and debris trucks still working throughout the park.  Please drive with extreme caution.

For more information please go to floridastateparks.org

Cave tour
Please be aware our cave tours may sell out, call the Florida Caverns Gift Shop at 850-526-2650 to ensure availability.

Guided flashlight cave tour tickets may be purchased daily, in person, at the Florida Caverns Gift Shop. Tickets are sold on a first come, first serve basis beginning at 9 am Central Standard Time (CST) Monday through Sunday, excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Although the cave’s electricity has not been restored, we are in the process of upgrading the lighting to increase our visitors cave experience. Because of the power outage, every visitor participating in the cave tour will need a flashlight. Flashlights will be provided but must be returned at the end of the tour. Visitors have the option to buy a Florida Caverns State Park monogrammed flashlight, at a discounted price, if bought from the Gift Shop at the time of the cave tour ticket purchase. Groups of 20 or more may make reservations no less than three weeks in advance. Please contact the Gift Shop Monday – Friday at 850-526-2650 for group reservations.

The CCC statue stands amid fallen trees at the museum parking area.

The CCC statue stands amid fallen trees at the museum parking area.

What to Expect
Tours depart near the Visitor Center where visitors learn the safety precautions that are needed to participate, including having to stoop many times to pass through areas with a ceiling height of 4 1/2 feet for distances as far as 15 feet in length, narrow passages, 50 descending steps (possibly 50 ascending if the tour is modified due to high water conditions), slippery walkways, and the importance of not touching anything inside the fragile cave environment.

Visitors will walk 350 feet to the cave entrance and down 35 steps using a handrail. When entering the caverns, it will take a few moments to become acclimated to the dimly-lit environment and year-round 65-degree temperature. The tour moves at a leisurely pace through a dozen cave rooms where the visitors are verbally guided through the cave’s history, early uses, and interesting geological formations such as stalactites, stalagmites, columns and flowstones. Visitors may occasionally encounter some of the animals that call the cave home such as bats, mice, cave crickets, salamanders, cave spiders and the occasional snake or frog.

As the tour concludes, visitors ascend a 15-degree walkway to emerge into a hardwood forest and enjoy a self-paced walk back to the Visitor Center.
An audio-visual tour of the cave is offered in the museum of the Visitors Center for those who would rather enjoy the tour from the comfort of the theater.