Missouri Department of Labor has provided closed captioning transcripts of our videos for your needs.
Summer Ooh's and Ahh's
>>AMY SUSAN: Are you looking for something that's fun, safe, outdoorsy and educational the whole family can enjoy this summer? Hi, I'm Amy Susan, Director of Communications for the Missouri Department of Labor and I'm joined here with Les Thomas; he's the Program Manager for the Missouri Mine and Cave Safety Program and Les is going to tell us why Missouri Show Caves should be your number one destination this summer. Les, can you tell us how many show caves there are and what is a show cave?
>>LES THOMAS: A show cave is a cavern or a cave that's been discovered, been explored, mapped and then ultimately opened up for public use for our enjoyment. Currently in Missouri we have 23 registered show caves for the state.
>>AMY: Wow. Now I understand Missouri has another nickname other than the Show Me State. What is that name?
>>LES: Yeah, Missouri is known as the Cave State, mainly because of the amount of caves that we do have. In fact, at one point in time Missouri was--was known as a cave factory for producing some of the caves that we discover almost on a daily basis here in the state.
>>AMY: What are you going to find in Missouri's caves that you can't find anywhere else?
>>LES: Yeah, Missouri offers a wide variety of things to see if you visit a show cave. Missouri, in fact, has one of the largest--the world's largest geodes.
>>AMY: Okay. So, is that what we're seeing right here?
>>LES: That's right; this is found in one of our show caves here in the state. From the way the caves are formed in this state, this was formed through the process of a mineral erosion and climate, plant vegetation, live things that form these and cave goers can find this--this sort of formations in almost all of our show caves here in this state.
>>AMY: Okay. So we're going to see stalactites; we're going to see stalagmites -
>>LES: Yes, that's right.
>>AMY: We're going to see some soda straws, is that what -
>>LES: That's right; that's what they are.
>>AMY: Why would an expedition in a cave be a good activity for the entire family to enjoy?
>>LES: There's tons of fun--there's ton of activities, amenities a family can enjoy by visiting one of our show caves in this state. From lodging, restaurants and food, camping, hiking, horse trails, you can fish at a lot of these sites it's a great day, a lot of fun for anybody who'd like to go. Most of our caves, Amy, are accessible with--to individuals with disabilities or special needs as well. We do recommend that you would call in advance just to make sure that they could--that they could accommodate you.
>>AMY: Well, I have to tell you it never cross my mind to take my two-year-old to visit a cave. It’s cold, it’s dark, could be a little scary. But I put him in his stroller and he was just fine. And the tours and the tour guides do a really great job of engage-engaging the entire family in all of that. And like you said they have camping and other events for all the family to enjoy.
>>LES: Tons of amenities and the-the kids love it. They have activities specially designed for kids. A lot of it is educationally motivated. We can learn about hydrology, geology and some things that you wouldn't normally learn anywhere else.
>>AMY: What is your role in ensuring that these caves are safe?
>>LES: Our role with the agency is we inspect these caves at least once a year for public safety. So we can ensure that when these folks go and visit one of our show caves they will be safe and enjoy the day, have a good time.
>>AMY: Despite all the safety that's put into these show caves, when you're 200 feet under the ground it's going to cross one's mind, is this going to cave in on me?
>>LES: Missouri show caves typically are caves that grow outwardly. Because of the strata, because of how the cave was formed, the middle formations that are in the caves, there's really no danger of a cave-in even at depths of 5, 600 feet.
>>AMY: Okay, well that’s good.
>>LES: Yeah, we--we would reassure the public that if you visit one of our show caves, it has been inspected by a professional. Where we've looked at all the things that might concern them from lighting to--to the floor that they're walking on, maybe diverting water away because water can be slick and some of the caves that we have do have water and that can create slick surfaces so to avoid slips trips and falls so that you can see where you're going we may ask operators to provide hand rails in certain areas so that you don't fall over edges and things like that.
>>AMY: Now we're working with Missouri Tourism and partnering with them to promote all the show caves throughout our state and part of that is we're visiting all 22 show caves and video taping and producing teaser videos to show those at home just enough so that they're dying to get into our show caves. Can you tell us a little bit about that program?
>>LES: Yeah, it's going to be great. It's going to give folks a glimpse of what they can find if they visit one of our caves and, of course, we'll always recommend the families take a day, spend with your family or friends and visit one of our show caves.
>>AMY: Les, thanks again for joining us and, again, if you're looking for a weekend trip or even a day trip with your family or friends considering visiting one of Missouri's marvelous show caves. For more information or to find a show cave near you, click on the links under the video. Thanks.