"Your going to these Meramac caverns arn't you ?"
"Yep, the advertising got to me in the end"
"Still, they must be quite impressive, this area is known as the 'cave state'"
"Is that because of natural formations or the political sophistication of the locals?"
"I'll ignore that. It's said that Jesse James hid out in this cave system, and it was also used as a rest stop on the underground railroad"
"Excellent, can we get a ride?"
"Listen, ignorant, it refers to the smuggling of black slaves out of the south"
"I knew that !"
Later on the tour of the caves
Guide : " They used to hold regular balls in here around the turn of the century"
"I'm all for the regular holding of balls"
"Will you behave.."
Guide : "Nowdays it is sometime used for marriages and other events and receptions."
and music recitals"
"I guess you could fit a couple of thousand in here for a concert"
"If you make any joke about playing your organ in a vast cave I will be very annoyed"
"Amazing stalactites. I always remember which way round it is, because tights always come down"
These lovely caverns are nestled among the foothills of Missouri's Ozarks.
During the Civil War, a Federal powder mill in the cave was blown up by Confederate guerrillas of whom Jesse James was a member.
Local legend also says that the cave was used as a station on the "Underground Railroad" to hide escaping slaves.
In the early 1870's, Jesse James and his band returned to the Cavern on numerous occasions because it afforded a complete hideout for men and horses after train and bank robberies.
A well-trained ranger takes you along a one mile tour starting in the huge natural underground "ballroom" cavern (which has a seating capacity of over 2,000) and finishing at the magnificent "stage curtains" with a light and sound show.
Tours last one hour and twenty minutes and leave every 20-30 minutes.
The tour is accessible to the disabled and features concrete walkways and dual steel hand railings for your safety and convenience. NB. A short section of the tour requires the climbing of a short but steep set of steps and, hence, is not accessible to wheelchairs and is not recommended for those of a weak constitution.
Admission price is $14.00 for adults and $7.00 for children (ages 5-11). Little children ages 4 and under are free (however, no strollers permitted on the tour).
Although, not the most extensive or impressive caverns in the US, Meramac Caverns are still well worth a visit if you happen to be passing near or through Stanton.
"So, was it worth it the then ?"
"I've seen more impressive cave systems, but at least the stalactites were up to scratch. Certainly better than a cave system I saw in New Zeland, they kept going on about this particular stalactite called 'Big John'"
"And how big was it ?"
"Oh, all of about an inch"
"That's what you call impressive advertising"
"Well its what put these caves on the map, literally. All those signs we passed from virtually Chicago onwards, years ahead of the big multinationals. I Also believe that some claim the caves were the inventors of the bumper-sticker"
"Well they got us to part with 14 dollars each"
"And I guess that makes it a success"