Campus Rec offers exclusive cave tour trip

FAMU Campus Recreaction cave tour excursion flyer.
Photo courtesy of Instagram.

The FAMU Department of Campus Recreation is offering an $11 trip to Florida Caverns State Park on Saturday, with transportation included.

A recent post on the FAMU Campus Recreation Instagram page went up that advertised an $11 cave tour excursion along with the phrases “transportation provided” and “limited seating available.”

FAMU’s campus recreation administrative assistant, Tammye Jordan, is overseeing this opportunity and encourages students to register before it’s too late.

“The $11 fee covers entry into the cave tour,” Jordan said. “We will be traveling by passenger van — that’s why limited seats are available.”

According to Jordan, there is a total of 15 seats open for this trip that are accessible to both FAMU and non-FAMU students. The trip will include two stops for food and a chance to visit the only developed tour cave in the state of Florida.

“We have 15 spots available after which, we will form a waiting list in hopes to fill another van,” she said. “No meals are included but we will be stopping for breakfast on the way and lunch on the way back.

“All outdoor adventure excursions are open to the general public,” she added.

A junior biology pre-medicine major, Maya Lee, has already expressed interest in this opportunity through a “double-tap” or “like” on the campus rec Instagram post that showcased the flyer. She believes the experience will be valuable to students like her who have never witnessed anything like it.

“I’ve never seen a cave before,” Lee said. “I think a cave tour would be beneficial to see the different sceneries.”

According to the park’s assistant manager, Billy Bailey, the cavern is decorated with numerous cave formations such as stalagmites, draperies and soda straws. There are also 12 rooms in the cave that stay ventilated at a consistent temperature of 55 degrees all year-round. The actual tours contain no more than 25 people at a time and last roughly an hour.

“Cave tours usually last about an hour, it’s about a half-mile total walk,” Bailey said. “Right now it is a flashlight cavern tour so visitors can either bring their own flashlight or the gift shop will provide them one — there are a dozen rooms in the cave.”

Florida Caverns State Park was hit hard last year by Hurricane Michael and it was forced to close last October. On July 1, portions of the park reopened while other parts are still under repair. Despite the park’s ongoing restoration efforts, the public is encouraged to check out the cave tour and experience its unique charm.

“We had damage to over 60 percent of the structures here in the park and we lost 90 percent of the trees so it’s a much different place, but the storm has afforded us an opportunity to rebuild a lot of the park,” Bailey said. “We’ll have more extensive trails that will be offered and the cavern lighting system will have major improvements to it, so those are high points and we encourage people to visit our website for updates.”

Jordan understands the impact of the natural disaster that swept through Florida’s Panhandle last October. She believes many people in the surrounding area are still undergoing a process of renovation just as is Florida Caverns state park. She strives to help as best she can.

“Unfortunately, Hurricane Michael has become a part of their history and many of us were affected as well,” Jordan said. “That being said, the entire community is trying to rebound from the disaster and I would like to do my part to help them rebuild.”

Jordan plans to make this an annual trip in hopes to carry on the Campus Recreation mission to offer diverse leisure opportunities that expose the community to state parks, local festivals and other activities they may not have access to otherwise.

To register for the “Florida Caverns State Park Tour Excursion,” visit the Hansel Tookes Student Recreation Center on Wahnish Way.