Caverns cave

In this 2016 file photo, Jessica and Melanie Smith keep a close eye on a low roof as they make their way through a cave at Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna. The park is still recovering from Hurricane Michael, but the visitors’ center will reopen and cave tours will commence on July 1.

The Florida Caverns State Park visitors’ center will reopen and cave tours will commence on July 1 as the iconic attraction continues to recover from the devastating damage wrought by Hurricane Michael.

The October 2018 storm destroyed 90 percent of the park’s trees and heavily damaged the campground, and there’s still no camping there. Parking is limited at this time. The reopening of the tours, the visitors’ center and the gift shop within, along with its artifact-rich museum and its theatre for virtual cave tours signal the start of the new normal at one of Jackson County’s most popular tourist spots.

Gate admission is $5 per vehicle—with up to eight individuals getting in for the single price. The cave tours are $10.75 for individuals age 13 and up, and $5 for kids 3-12. They’re free for kids 2 years of age and younger.

The expected cave tour hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and gates to the park are expected to be open 8 a.m. to around 6 p.m. The hours are tentative, however.

The cave system’s lighting system was wiped out by the storm, so the tours will be old-school excursions by flashlight. For more information, call 482-1228.

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