Onondaga State Park
State Park near Leasburg offers Missourian's a chance to experience
the state's underground wonders.
With more than
5,000 known caves, there's little wonder Missouri boasts so many commercial
show caves with colorful histories like Fantastic Caverns near Springfield,
Marvel Cave in Silver Dollar City and Meramec Caverns near Stanton.
show cave is now the centerpiece of a state park. Onondaga Cave, first
toured by the public in 1897, became the property of cave showman Lester
Dill. Dill wanted to see the Cave preserved and in 1982, two years after
his death, Onondaga Cave State Park was dedicated.
The cave, located
along Interstate 44 near Leasburg, was at the heart of a landmark Missouri
Supreme Court case. In the 1920s two different land owners claimed different
parts of the cave and even blocked cave passages with barbed-wire fences.
Their lawsuit went to the state's highest court which that property
lines actually extend below ground.
From March through
October park naturalists conduct cave tours,
which begin in a visitor's center and museum at the cave entrance. Other
features of the 1,300-acre park include Onondaga Spring). The park's
campground facilities are closed until 2003 for renovations.
about the cave or park call (573) 245-6600 or (573) 245-6576 or visit
the park's web site at www.mostateparks.com/onondaga.htm.