Intro: Well, I haven’t seen Stalagcites/Stalagmites. So, while driving back from Dallas to Austin, we (me, Tarun and Amit) stopped by at the Inner space Cavern, 24 odd miles before Austin. It was a 45 odd min tour with 7 more people and a tour guide. So, here you go.
History: In 1963, Texas Highway Department’s core drilling team was drilling test holes to check whether the ground can support large overpass. One of the drill fell 26 ft and this led to the accidental discovery of the cavern. The mining company sniffed opportunity and then made the place tourist worthy (safe). After some work, this place was made open to the public in 1966. Well, thats 1 million after it started to built itself!
The entry is via a train. We were late, so we walked in. It wasn’t tiring – I just wondered why they have a rail line in the first place. probably due to mining activities.
Some formations protruded and touched the other surface, causing a pillar like structure.
There were some paintings made by an artist (search for the name) after the cavern was opened for public view. The tour guide said that these animals were found in Texas long ago – mammoth (tusker), huge wild boar etc. Here’s a shot of the same:
Moon Lake – lakes on moon apparently appear like this, hence the name. Reminds me of Durga Puja pandals back home.
The photo below is a fault line running from Austin to XXXX. So whats a fault line? For those who forgot Class 7 geography lessons, here’s a link. You can see here that the rock on one side of the fracture has moved with respect to the rock on the other side. This is apparently due to the shear motion of the earth’s crust.
I was bowled over by the color scheme of the place. The view gave a feeling that it would be very hot (looks like molten lava out of Discovery) but was indeed a cool place – 72 F (22 C). Here’s another one:
Tours: Inner Space Caverns offers three types of tours: the adventure tour (adults – $12.95 and children, ages 4-12 – $6.95), the new explorer’s tour (adults – $18.95, children, ages 4-12-$10.50) and another tour where you have to crawl most of the time. The 3rd tour costs about $100 and you have to meet the eligibility criteria to undergo this tour. The explorer tour lasts an hour and 35 minutes and covers an extended 1.2 mile trail.
How to reach: Inner Space Cavern is located 24 miles North of Austin. It’s entrance is on IH-35. Simply follow IH-35 North past Round Rock and take exit 259. Go past the Candle Factory, turn left under IH-35 and we’ll be on your right. Get a map from maps.google.com.
- Take pictures
- Listen to the tour guide – she/he would tell you interesting stories
- At your exit, take a souvenir – you would be required to drop 1 cent and two quarters, a machine will press your cent and convert it into a oval shaped plate with ‘Inner Space Cavern’ written over it.
- Don’t touch the structures there – apparently the structures don’t grow any further if it comes into oil contact. They die too, you see!
All Photo Courtesy: Tarun Bansal