Blanchard Springs Caverns by drone

Arkansas By Air takes you to a hidden gem in the Natural State-- Blanchard Springs Caverns. 

It's a cave more than two million years in the making-- a living cave-- that is home to 90 types of creatures. A half-million bats, several cave salamanders, and a small bug that resembles a scorpion, to name a few. Besides the abundance of living things, the cave is one of the most decorated show caves in the United States, according to the Forest Service.

The Blanchard Springs Caverns in Stone County were formed over many millions of years as rainwater drained through the limestone -- dissolving it. Once the water table dropped below the level of the cave, the decoration of the cave began as mineral calcite was deposited, drop by drop.

A portion of the cave was discovered in 1963 by the Forest Service, then, a decade later, it was opened up to the public for tours.

"It's nestled in the Ozark Mountains, and it's really cool that we have that here in the state, because it is unlike anything else in the United States," Supervisory Guide Starr Farrell with the Forest Service said.

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Guides take guests through three tours throughout the caverns at 704 Blanchard Springs Road. The Wild Cave Tour, which is through undeveloped portions of the cave, Drip Stone, which is nearly half a mile and 65 feet tall, and finally Discovery, which is over one mile long.

"It's the best! So when you're going along, you'll turn on the lights for the column, and then all of a sudden everyone'll go, 'ahh!'" Farrell added.

One step inside, and it's no doubt Blanchard Springs Caverns showcases jaw-dropping formations. 

"Every time we come down, and we come down every day, every time it's different. There's waterfalls some days, or lots of different creatures other days," Farrell said.

It's a living cave, she says, constantly growing. The caverns even survived an earthquake 200 years ago. Still though, so many formations are left perfectly in-tact, as if frozen in time.

"If you go into a cave and there's a lot of decorations in there, it means it's incredibly old," Farrell explained.

While touring, it's a game that plays with the imagination. You'll see formations nicknamed the Battleship, the Opera Box, and a room filled with formations called soda straws.

It's a place that is constantly changing in its growth. A place that draws visitors back again and again. In fact, roughly 83,000 people come to Blanchard Springs Caverns from all over the world each year.

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