Oklahoma's Own Natural Wonder: Alabaster Caverns

Monday, July 23rd 2012, 6:04 pm

By: Craig Day

With this summer heat, some of Oklahoma's Own are cooling down by going underground. And they're doing it at a unique natural wonder here in our state: Alabaster Caverns.

Western Oklahoma has its own unique, and rugged beauty, and there's something equally as impressive underground.

"It's totally different from what I expected," said Cheryl Rhea, a Seiling resident, of Alabaster Caverns.

Located about three and a half hours from Tulsa, and nearly three from Oklahoma City in Woodward County, it's home to the largest natural gypsum cave in the world that is open to the public. 

"It's fantastic, it really is. I enjoy it," Rhea said.

A constant stream flows through the cave, which was formed a million and a half years ago during the last great uplift of the rocky mountains, when the area of what is now northwestern Oklahoma was covered by an inland sea.

"It's cool, and awesome," said 6-year-old visitor Killian Grove, of New Mexico.

Killian likes the unique formations created when the stream was once a river. 

His favorite was something he called "bathtubs on the ceilings" – formations big circles and ovals.

Killian is also excited the cave is home to five species of bats.

Sheila Conrady first saw the cave when she was 5, and now brings her children.

"It's like going exploring," said Waukita resident Sheila Conrady. "It's like who didn't want to go on an adventure and explore a cave when they were little."

On the tour, you'll explore 80 feet underground, with the cave running 3/4 of a mile through a sometimes narrow, uneven and wet path.

In addition to the cave that is open for guided tours, Alabaster Caverns also has several other caves that are open by permit only, where you can explore down to 1,600 feet below the surface."

It's a unique experience, a wondrous location. And during a sweltering summer, it doesn't hurt that the average cavern temperature is 50 degrees - making it a great Oklahoma destination.

"Come and see something that is totally fantastic and great for Oklahoma," Cheryl Rhea said.

Alabaster Caverns also offers lantern tours until September 1. And there is a cave where you can camp overnight, through the end of September.


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