Grand Opening Ceremony Set for Cathedral Caverns Welcome Center

The grand opening and dedication ceremony for the Cathedral Caverns Welcome Center is set for 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 2, 2003. Cathedral Caverns State Park is the newest addition to the Alabama State Parks system, and has been open on a limited basis for several years.

Attending the dedication ceremony will be Governor Bob Riley; Conservation Commissioner M. Barnett Lawley; Operations Director Rick Liles; Mark Easterwood, Director of the Alabama State Parks Division; former Conservation Commissioner James D. Martin; Lee Sentel, Director of the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel; members of the Marshall County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, and other key supporters of the development of Cathedral Caverns State Park.

Members of the Alabama State Parks System Joint Legislative Committee, as well as members of the local legislative delegation, have been invited to participate in the event. City officials from surrounding areas are also likely to be in attendance, along with architects from Seay, Seay & Litchfield, and Don Black, the contractor from Consolidated Construction Company, Inc.

The Welcome Center, located near the mouth of the cave, is a rustic log and stone building with a large pavilion where visitors can wait for their turn to tour the cave. The open-air structure houses a ticket office, restrooms, snack bar/souvenir shop, park manager’s office, and an open classroom-type area with benches, chairs and tables. The ceiling has reflective heating panels for use in cold weather.

The 461-acre park was purchased by the State Parks Division in 1987. The cave had previously been operated as a tourist attraction under private ownership. During the state’s development of the area, carefully designed modifications were made to make the cave as accessible as possible for disabled visitors. Interior lighting was completely upgraded and replaced, and a bridge above the cavern’s Mystery River was built.

Cathedral Caverns State Park is located two miles north of Grant, and is open for cavern tours from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. seven days a week. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children under 12.