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Rock Bridge Park hosts water festival on Saturday

The entrance to Devil's Ice Box in Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.
Anna Spidel
The entrance to Devil's Ice Box in Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is hosting a water festival Saturday to promote a fun education of the caves, streams and aquatic life in the park.

Several partners, organizations and agencies come together during the festival to provide activities and information for families, said Roxie Campbell, the park naturalist.

The festival runs 9 a.m. to noon and visitors are asked to park in the Devil’s Icebox area. There will be additional parking and a shuttle service from the log cabin in the picnic area.

Children can try to catch aquatic life with a net in the stream near the parking lot. Staff will be available to teach techniques for catching the aquatic life and help identify what is caught, Campbell said.

Tables will be displaying aquatic life found in streams and turtles for attendees to learn more about.

Guests also will be able to witness what changes affect water flow at an artificial stream table.

Park staff will provide a guided tour of Connor’s Cave in groups of around 12 people, she said. They will meet visitors at Devil’s Icebox and take them in and out of Connor’s Cave with a 20-minute tour.

Helmets and flashlights will be provided to those taking cave tours. Campbell said they should be prepared to get their feet wet.

The entrance to Connor’s Cave is located to the left of Devil’s Icebox. It is available for people to tour on their own any day throughout the year, Campbell said. She recommends that people wear helmets, bring flashlights and shoes that can get wet in those cases.

Devil’s Icebox is a karst window, meaning the opening was created by the bottom of a sinkhole meeting the cave, Campbell said.

On the right of Devil’s Icebox is Devil’s Icebox Cave, which has been closed for tours since 2010 to protect the bats in the cave.

Another place that can be visited in the park is Rock Bridge.

Rock Bridge is a standalone cave connected to the Devil’s Icebox cave system. It was separated from the rest of the cave when a section of the cave roof collapsed, said Campbell.

The water from the Devil’s Icebox cave system travels through Connor’s Cave and exits at a spring and then flows through the Rock Bridge.

Visitors can learn the history of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park on the self-guided Sinkhole Trail, which has historical information posted on signs.

Those interested in a copy of the historical information can contact the park office at 573-449-7402.

The Columbia Missourian is a community news organization managed by professional editors and staffed by Missouri School of Journalism students who do the reporting, design, copy editing, information graphics, photography and multimedia.
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