Christmas Cave offers unique holiday experience

Cherokee Caverns in Knoxville is only open to the public several times a year. Christmas in the Cave will run through the weekend before Christmas. {Photo Courtesy of Southeastern Traveler and Cherokee Caverns}

STATE NEWS | Knoxville — Limestone, or calcium carbonate, can be found just about everywhere in Tennessee. In fact, limestone cave spring water is one of the secret ingredients of good Tennessee whiskey. If you don’t believe us, just ask our friends down at the Distillery.

Just outside of Knoxville sits a limestone cave known as Cherokee Caverns. It springs to life every December as a dedicated group of volunteers transform it into a magical attraction known as Christmas in the Cave. It’s a unique holiday experience that can only be found in Tennessee. Stalactites and Stalagmites blend with thousands of twinkle likes to create a magical, subterranean holiday adventure. Christmas music gets piped in and the Grinch wanders around causing mischief. And, of course, Santa will be available for pictures.

History of the Cherokee Caverns

Discovered in 1854 by a local farmer named Robert Crudgngton, the cave was once used by early American Indians as indicated by cane torch marks on the cavern walls. Soon after he stepped foot in it, Crudgngton bought 800 acres of farmland, including the cavern, that were eventually passed down to his daughter, Margaret Crudgngton Gentry. She first opened the cave to the public in 1929.

After Margaret’s death, the cavern changed hands several times. After a restaurant onsite burned in 1980, the owners basically abandoned the site, which encouraged vandalism and squatters. In the late 90’s a dedicated group of volunteers began maintaining and protecting the cave, so future generations could enjoy it. They open it to the public several times per year to raise money for it’s continued upkeep and expansion.

Cherokee Caverns is located at 8524 Oak Ridge Parkway in Knoxville. They will be open each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday leading up to Christmas. The cost to enter is $10 per person for ages four and up. They take both cash and credit cards but no advanced tickets are sold. Food trucks are on hand most nights serving holiday-themed snacks. The attraction is both wheelchair and stroller accessible. For more information, visit their Facebook page or their website. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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