You’ve grabbed the family and followed the windy path through the Ozarks and crossed the Bridge to the War Eagle Mill. There she is, this sturdy historical red building fixed along the river’s shore and its water wheel vigorously turning its paddles. You grab your fishing poles and climb down to the base of the Bridge and cast your lines. Small blue gills start biting your bait. Caught one!
Inside, you’re face to face with the old Mill machinery and watching it chug along, you grab two armfuls of goodies from the gift shop and then fill your bellies with bean soup and a pile of tasty cornbread at the Bean Palace Restaurant. What a wonderful morning. What’s next, you may ask? Well, Millie’s here to help!
There’s family fun all around the War Eagle Valley. One stop to explore on your Valley adventure, is the War Eagle Cavern where you can go Bat Crazy… in a good way!
Fun Fact: War Eagle Cavern is home to over 75,000 bats! The Eastern Pipestrelle Bat and the Gray Bat are the most common bat to be hanging around. The cavern is their home all year long. The Eastern Pipestrelle Bat (pictured below left) roost in the ceiling during the summer and hibernate in the darkness from Winter to Spring. The Gray Bats (pictured below right) are a bit different as over 30,000 females roost during the Spring until their offspring are ready to fly in the Summer.
So, how do you get VIP access to their homes and meet these furry flying creatures? A tour, of course! My tour was led by a highly informed tour guide who shared stories about native americans, squatters, robbers and draft-dodgers! The Cavern entrance sits in a boxed canyon surrounded by beautiful greenery, rock formations and fresh water that runs into the Beaver Lake.
The tour runs for a little under an hour and is great for all ages, like old folks like me, as there’s
no need to stoop and no stairs to climb. It’s also stroller accessible for my little friends. I
explored huge rooms with dome formations that took my breath away! I stood in awe as the
water flowed over many of the Cavern’s beautiful rocky design. If you are up for getting down
and dirty, there are spelunking tours too. Don’t forget to wear your helmet!
Visiting the bats are just the beginning of a visit to the Cavern! I played archaeologist with
my friends and unearth beautiful gems and unique fossils by panning. We enjoyed finding
crystal points, sapphires, rubies, shark teeth and sea urchin fossils!
Bats, gems and a maze! Their “Lost in the Woods Maze” is a fenced in maze that twists and turns for a 1/2 mile so there is no cheating! It’s a blast!
The War Eagle Valley has many stops to explore, the Mill, the Cavern… oh and Hobbs State Park! I’ll make sure to let you know more about the State Park soon!
Millie’s 2 Cents:
War Eagle Cavern Activity Price Break Down:
Tour & Nature Trail: Ages 3 & under are FREE, ages 4 -11 are $9 and 12 & older are $15.
Gem Panning: $9
Lost in the Woods Maze: $5, with tour is $3
Spelunking Tours: $50
Want more information on the War Eagle Cavern? Check out their website or give them a call at 479-789-2909