Monday, April 11, 2016

Florida Caverns State Park, Marianna, Florida

We had a very quick one night visit to Florida Caverns State Park. We arrived and decided to do the cave tour right away, without even setting up the trailer in the campsite. We parked in the parking lot near the caves tours and bought tickets. Parts of the caverns were closed now due to flooding so we got in for $5 each instead of their regular fee of $8 (kids are always $5).

When leaving the parking lot you are greeted by this statue to "commemorate the young men of the civilian conservation corps who developed and preserved the nations natural resources for the pleasure of future generations. (CCC Worker 1933-1942)...May 2014 dedication".

Information about native species

We waited here for the tour guide to arrive. When he did we had him all to ourselves as no one else booked the same time slot.

Just as our tour guide showed up so did this Skink..
 And shortly down the trail to the caves we saw this...
 Rough Green first time. He was so long and slender.

 We entered the cave via a descending staircase. They keep the doors locked so people do not sneak in and get lost. This entrance isn't the normal cave entrance but due to the flooding we have to enter here.
 I'll let the cave pictures speak for themselves...even though the pictures really don't do them justice.

Some flooding in the cave

A cave salamander which I think he said was a Three Lined Salamander

Cave cricket Don't think for a minute that this guy is small.
They are HUGE!

The one and only column you can touch

A Cave Spider
 We all really enjoyed the tour. I thought our guide was awesome and very knowledgeable. We were able to use a flash so the pics are half decent and he did a great job of pointing out the wildlife to us as he knew we were interested in all the creatures that called the cave home. We saw so many different creatures(Including cave crayfish but no picture as they were too fast). I'd assume that due to the time of year it is less busy and therefore the creatures are disturbed less and can live  a more normal life when it's less busy.

After our tour we set up our campsite for the night.

The girls wanted to go swimming so we took a walk to the Blue Hole.

Picnic area near the swimming hole
 But when we arrived we were all very disappointed. Due to the heavy rain and flooding the area has had, the water is all stirred up, murky, and the swimming hole is closed. Instead of being a beautiful blue it was a murky gray green.

 Hopefully the next time we pass by we will be able to visit the Blue Hole and have a swim. Maybe we will stay at Falling Waters State Park for a change and just pop over here for a swim so we can stay somewhere new.

Back to the campsite for some time in the hammock because that always makes us feel better!

And well if the hammock a lone doesn't cheer you then making funny fish faces should!

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