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About DeSoto Caverns

Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Childersburg, Alabama, DeSoto Caverns is a site rich in history. In 1796, George Stiggens, a presidential agent, wrote to President George Washington describing the beauty of the cave, making DeSoto Caverns the first cavern on record in the United States. In addition to being the first cavern on record, DeSoto Caverns is also noted for having one of the largest accumulations of onyx-marble stalagmites and stalactites in the world. The caverns have regular tours every hour that allow guests to learn about caverns in general and about the history of this beautiful subterranean wonder. There are over twenty attractions on the land above the cave, making DeSoto Caverns the perfect visit for those seeking adventure, the great outdoors, and fun with family or friends.

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Our Mission

The mission of the DeSoto Caverns company is to reach our guests hearts through creatively showing our core values: excellence, teamwork, and care. We believe in providing incredible educational entertainment in a safe friendly environment. DeSoto Caverns is also committed to being a great place to work for great people.

 

Family Owned for over 100 years

Ida Mathis

Ida Mathis

Ida Mathis along with several business partners purchased the cave in 1910. Ida Mathis had a big vision for this cave, and had planned to mine it’s gem stone quality onyx. Through an unfortunate turn of events, the American market for onyx turned sour. Ida Mathis felt the land had deeper value than monetary gain and purchased the other shares from the other business partners. 

The cave has been stewarded by the Mathis family for over 100 years. In 1975, Ida Mathis' great grandson Allen W. Mathis III started the development of DeSoto Caverns. He and his wife Danielle are the first in the family line to open the land up to the public as a tourist attraction. They believed that their privately owned Caverns was a national and local treasure that needed to be experienced by the public. Al Mathis was the first in his family to develop the park for the public and over forty years later both Al and his Danielle are still involved with the management and future development of the park. In 2015, a fifth generation of Ida Mathis’ started managing DeSoto Caverns.  Mr. Mathis’ daughter, Joy, is now the President and her husband, Jared, is the Chief Visionary Officer. They are currently collaborating with a team of incredible individuals of how to make DeSoto Caverns an unforgettable experience. 

Allen Mathis III in the Caverns

Allen Mathis III in the Caverns

Joy Sorensen with her father, Allen Mathis III, in the Happy Hernando suit

Joy Sorensen with her father, Allen Mathis III, in the Happy Hernando suit

A Unique Adventure!

Incredible Show Cave

  1. Our Kymulga Cathedral Room room is as tall as a 12 story building and longer than a football field!
  2. Amazing beauty where the sun doesn’t shine. 
  3. Gem stone quality onyx
  4. 60 degrees year round making it the perfect escape from the heat and an excellent warm temperature for the winter!
  5. Light Shows on every caverns tour! 

Edutainment

  • We have over 20 above ground interactive attractions, many of which are based off of hands on experiences!
  • First cave on record in the United States
  • Earliest markers in any cave in the United States!
  • History dating back over 2,000 years ago!
  • 1 of only 3 caves open to the public in Alabama!

Extraordinary Events promoting Family Entertainment

  • A wonderful place for creating memories worth repeating.
  • Our annual Tomb of the Risen Dead event that offers fun for everyone! 

Management Team

Joy Sorensen