Today we went to visit the Florida Cavern State Park. It is home to one of the only "tour caves" in the Florida. To be honest, after being at Carlsbad, I was not expecting much. Perhaps a small cave with one or two formation. I was pleasantly surprised at what I got though. The tour lasted ~45 minutes more or less, and we went through at least 6 "rooms". In each was a wide array of formations, all the ones I love... Columns, draperies, soda straws, etc.
|The waterfall room|
|Some draperies in the entrance room|
The caves themselves were full of interesting reminders of Florida's geological history. The ceilings in most of the rooms boosted tons of fossils; mostly clam shells, but our guide pointed out a shark tooth and a nautiliod shell.
|Sea urchin test and clam shell on the cave ceilings|
We also were lucky enough to see some cave life, including a bat. After the cave tour there was still plenty to see, so we went off on one of the most recommended hikes, the flood plain/ tunnel trail. It was interesting to see the different habitats in the area. Just outside the cave exit, the cool cave air allowed for these liverworts and mosses the thrive.
|A snail active at noon, made possible by cool air blowing out of the cave|
|On the bluffs, it's all hardwood forest|
There was also a lot of wildlife. Being Florida, a lot of it was bugs. We saw beetles, golden orb weaver spiders, golden silk spider (BIG), spiny orb weavers, and a new one for me, harvestman. As a matter of fact, when I stopped to take a picture of a beetle, a cool-looking true bug landed on me. There were tons of butterflies near the flower field in front of the visitor center. I counted at least four different species in five minutes.
There was also some reptiles out and about, including a bunch of five-lined skink young. There were a couple of adults out as well, but they aren't as colorful.