Discover Smallin Cave

Prices & Information
Cave Tours start at $6.00 per student!!! Smallin Cave is a geological wonder, teeming with life. Your visit will often include sightings of bats, salamanders, and the rare Bristly Cave Crayfish. Smallin Cave is rich in human history; Native American, Pioneer, Civil War, and Baldknobber history. Visible from the trail are fossils from an ancient ocean, including starfish, shark teeth, sea snails, and more! On our paved nature trail, see the Ozarks Woodland through the perspective of Osage, Pioneers and Scientists. Junior Miners can collect mineral and fossil treasures at our sluice mine! Our indoor classroom teaches basic geology, with a hands-on look at fossils and formations. Our gift shop is filled with affordable historic and educational merchandise. For the more adventurous, our 26’ tall Fossil Bluff Climbing Wall offers a safe and fun challenge.
Cave TourBuild Your Own Field Trip
One hour long guided cave tour of Smallin Cave. Students will learn about the cave geology, history, and will have the chance to see rare & endangered cave life!Additional activities listed below may be added to the cave tour for the price listed per student
  • Students
    $6 tour

  • Bus Driver FREE

Gemstone Panning - $1.50
Fossil Panning - $2.00
Hands-On Classroom - $2.00
Guided Nature Walk - $1.50
Fossil Bluff Climbing Wall - $4.00
Crawl Fort - FREE
Picnic Pavilliio - FREE
Prices listed are for groups of 20 or more One teacher per 20 students is admitted free. All bus drivers are free. Smallin Cave is wheelchair friendly.
Bat PostcardSalamander Postcard

Welcome Cavers!

We invite you and your students to visit Smallin Cave this year for a memorable field trip full of wildlife, geology, history, and more!

Wildlife and Geology

With Field Trips starting at just $5 per student, Smallin Cave is a geological wonder, teeming with life. Your visit will often include sightings of bats, salamanders, and the rare Bristly Cave Crayfish. Smallin Cave is rich in human history including American Indian history, early Ozarks settlement, Civil War and Baldknobber history. Perhaps the most incredible history in Smallin Cave is preserved in the ceiling. A layer of fossils from the Burlington layer of limestone can be seen from the visitor's trail in the cave and includes starfish fossils, shark teeth, sea snails and more!

The History

Smalling Civil War Cave was inhabited by early indigenous peoples, dating back to the period of time following the last Ice Age. The Osage tribe occupied the cave for hundreds of years, alternating peaceful periods of time spent in their tranquil woodland camps with hunting trips to the Great Plains.

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft was the first explorer to document this part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1818; he wrote a whole chapter about the cave in his journal, which was later published in London. In his book, he referred to the cave as"Winoca". When translated from the Osage language, the name appears to have been derived from a word meaning "spirit" or "ghost".

During the Civil War, harsh Missouri winters led to the re-discovery and use of the cave by both the Union and Confederates. As Christian County was settled after the war, its residents used Smallin Cave for food storage, clay mining for log cabin chinking, and as a gathering place in the cool mouth during hot summer days.