After our stop at the Blue Bell creamery, we headed just up the road to De Soto Caverns. This was a random internet search discovery that I made, and it sounded like fun. So we decided to check it out.
They had both a cave you could tour, plus a bunch of activities you could do. We were a little early for the tour when we arrived, so we went over to check out the activities.
First, we decided to try our luck at panning for gemstones.
It's actually rigged (as if you couldn't guess that) and the kids didn't really quite get it.
We had quite the load of gemstones. Ella and Alex both think regular old rocks are the best things ever, so they didn't think much of these fancy gemstones.
I had to force Ella to pose with them and I don't think she's asked about them since. Maybe I can have one made into a necklace for her birthday or something. Oh well.
I've decided that we need to bring back a bit of the old fashion way of punishing people.
A set of these sure would come in handy at my house. Not so much for trapping Anton, but for making sure Alex doesn't escape the house while I'm taking a shower.
Here are my cute boys posing in front of a random water, rock, and eagle sculpture. ???
Then it was time for the cave tour.
We had to walk down a long, dark metal tunnel to get into the actual cave. Ella was all worried about there being bears in there. She watches too much TV.
Look at those perfectly natural cave walls! I have to say that I took all of these cave pictures with my camera hand-held. I do so love me some optical stabilizing in my lens. Not all the pictures came out great, but a lot better than they would have otherwise.
The cave was mainly one large room. It is 12 stories high and larger than a football field. It's hard to tell from the picture, but just so you can gauge the size, there are rows of benches on the floor in the middle. I was standing in the entrance looking out over the whole cave here.
The tour itself was a little bit hoaky. They told silly stories and the guide had a really sissy flashlight that did a terrible job pointing out the formations. Right in the middle of the tour they sit you down and make you watch a seriously cheesy light and water show. Yes, light and water show. In a cave. Who knew.
There were a few side rooms we got to go see. My favorite was this one:
The fake waterfall and green-lit pool. The waterfall didn't used to be fake, but last summer they had a drought and it dried up. And instead of losing the best feature of their cave, they decided to run the waterfall by pump. Why not? I didn't mind. It looked cool.
I snapped a million pictures of all the formations. But I didn't want to bore you with them all. Just a bunch of drippy-looking rocks.
Once back out in the hot summer sun, we needed some cooling off. Ella really wanted to ride the paddle boats, though I didn't think she'd be able to do them very well. They were hand powered.
But I got the shock of my life when she jumped right in there and took off like a pro. She was scooting all over that little pool.
I never thought I would see the day when my completely uncoordinated daughter would be doing something like this so easily.
She was rowing circles around this other girl.
Of course the other girl was taking on a bit of water which made it hard for her to get much of anywhere. Poor thing.
Alex really wanted to ride in the boats too, but we knew he was too little. So Anton took him over to a fountain to distract him.
He was really excited to come back. What a cutie.
After some more water fun and some bounce house fun, we ended up in an all-out war.
Girls against guys.
Winner takes all.
Fight to the death.
The girls won by a long shot. Thankfully they were just Nerf balls we were shooting at each other. But that finally did us in. We were hot and sweaty and ready to relax. We grabbed some treats from the shop and headed out to our hotel.
We grabbed some dinner at a really tasty Mexican place called Margarita Grill then went back to the hotel to swim in the pool. And that's that. We all crashed early since we were getting up early the next day for...
Part 3, coming up!!