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The many things to do and see at Meramec Caverns

The fun that lies beneath and above at Meramec Caverns.

It is a beautiful complex, the largest commercial cave in the Show Me state with breathtaking passageways underground and exhilarating ziplines above it. A place Les Turilli's family has operated since Franklin D. Roosevelt was president.

"When my great-grandfather purchased the cave he purchased it as a business opportunity. It wasn't a tourist attraction he did it because there was square dancing on the weekends," Turilli explains.

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But he was an entrepreneur who saw beyond the do-si-do.

"He called himself a caveologist he was considered a PT Barnum of caves. He had a theory if you hollered into a hole and heard something like an echo, there had to be more passageways."

So he was constantly climbing, exploring and discovering new passageways.

"There's all kinds of little faces and nuances you'll see on the tour, but that one looks like Abe Lincoln," he says shining a flashlight on a formation.

Turilli's great-grandfather welcomed Lassie and even introduced people to the bumper sticker. So it should come as no surprise that Meramec Caverns was one of the first places in the area to open a zipline, the Caveman Zipline in 2010.

"There are four ziplines with three sky bridges the whole adventure takes about an hour."

It also requires a couple of signatures, straps, clips, hooks, harnesses and a brief lesson.

"So your left hand is going to be here on this, right hand is going to be right here," Jake Oermann, our guide demonstrates.

After 71 stairs to the top of the first tower, it's time to fly. Then cross a sky bridge and fly again and again.

"Alright guys this is zip 3, we call this the granny's zip it's slower than the last one, nice, short and sweet," Oermann says.

I could go on and on about Meramec Caverns, but it would be better if you'd just go see this incredible treasure for yourself. A place where the cars in the parking lot have changed a bit, but the popularity of this place certainly hasn't.

Meramec Caverns

Stanton, Missouri

573-468-CAVE

http://www.americascave.com/

Caveman Zipline at Meramec Caverns

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573-468-9477

https://www.cavemanzipline.com/