Saturday, June 30, 2012

Silver Dollar City

My friend and I arrived at Silver Dollar City about 11 o'clock this morning. And, despite the bright sun and temps nearing 100 degrees, we ventured with gusto into the rustic, Ozark Mountain theme park.


Like all visitors, we entered the park through the Hospitality Center where, amidst the displays of souvenirs, is the entrance to one of nature's greatest wonders - Marvel Cave. This is fitting because Silver Dollar City evolved around this gigantic hole in the earth.


In 1894, Canadian entrepreneur William Henry Lynch and his two daughters, Miriam and Genevieve, opened the cave as an Ozarks tourist attraction. It remained so for over 50 years. 


Then, in 1950, Hugo Herschend, a Danish immigrant from Chicago, leased the cave. Ten years later, the Herschends opened the 1880s theme park.


When visiting Silver Dollar City, a tour of Marvel Cave is included with your ticket. Tours depart approximately every half hour. 


Marvel Cave is a wet limestone cave, complete with formations that are still alive and growing! 


Powder Keg
Visitors to the cave travel 300 feet below the surface and enter the breathtakingly beautiful Cathedral Room, the largest cave entrance in the United States. The tour lasts about 60 minutes, with most of that time spent climbing nearly 600 stairs. Along the way, a trained cave guide provides interesting and entertaining anecdotes of historical or geographical importance. After the tour, a unique cable train takes cave visitors back up the half-mile, 1070-foot climb back to the surface.
Frisco Silver Dollar Steam Line


After a visit to Marvel Cave, theme park goers will be ready for some rest and refreshment, and Silver Dollar City has a dozen wonderful options. Near the Hospitality Center (and the cave), for example, is a favorite spot of mine - a bakery offering tasty snacks and sandwiches. The place features an open kitchen where patrons are able to watch the bakers do their thing.




Silver Dollar City features shaded pathways that lead to specialty shops, entertainment stages, thrill rides and other seasonal attractions.


I passed on a ride on the Powder Keg, the park's sky-high roller coaster, but I did enjoy a 20-minute train ride on the Frisco Silver Dollar Steam Line. It ran around the theme park and through the Ozark forestlands. Along the way, I noticed several new-construction sites. Though mum's the word when it comes to these coming attractions, I did learn one will be home to a giant woody, an old-fashioned wooden roller coaster. It's expected to be ready for riders by September. 


I had a great time at Silver Dollar City, and I would like to return later this year to check out that new woody. But, as with the Powder Keg, I will look and report. It's hard to take notes while screaming!



























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