We are so pleased to announce many new exciting changes here at DeSoto Caverns Family Fun Park! One of the many changes here at the park, is the addition of a new generation, Jared Sorensen and myself, Joy Sorensen. I am a direct descendent of Ida Mathis, who purchased DeSoto Caverns in 1912 at the age of fifty-two (pictured right).
It is a great joy to be a part of a rich heritage of forerunners. If you have come to DeSoto Caverns Family Fun Park you may remember hearing of Ida Mathis. She and a few other businessmen bought the cave in the hope of mining its gem quality onyx. They soon learned that Mexican onyx was being sold at a much less expensive rate, but rather than choosing to sell the cave, she and her son decided to buy the other shares and keep the land in the family. It’s not surprising that she did this considering her passion for land. She was born in 1860 and in an age where women did not yet vote, yet she blazed a trail in education, business, and agriculture and was labeled the “economic Moses of the South.” Her influence on DeSoto Caverns will always be a part of our DNA. She instilled a value for taking care of both family and land which will always be a goal at our park.
Allen W. Mathis Sr. leased the property to Fred Layton who managed the caverns from 1965-75 until he retired. That’s when my father, Allen W. Mathis III, began operating and managing DeSoto Caverns in 1975. Both my father and mother were married in 1976 and worked together as tour guides for the park while living in the back of the gift shop. Through years of hard work and innovative thinking, Allen transformed DeSoto Caverns from being a basic touring experience to being one of the most advanced caverns tours available with a state of the art laser light and water show, modern lighting advancements and a beautiful park full of attractions for families to enjoy together. I am so proud of my father’s hard work and attentive care that has transitioned this park into being a world of its own, and we couldn’t be happier to work for such a gifted entrepreneur.
That being said, Jared and I are incredibly honored to be the fifth generation here at the cave and to become a part of the legacy of stewarding our beautiful caverns and park that so many families (including our own) know and love. I will be bringing a new voice to our location. I will be updating you on what is happening here at our park, as we will be seeing a lot of wonderful changes coming! (So be certain to check back here on our blog frequently for the latest news!) Jared and I will bring new vision for the future of DeSoto Caverns Family Fun Park. And with my history here at the cave, I carry a deep appreciation for what this cherished park means to so many already along with all the hard work that has made our park what it is today! Jared comes to the cave with an extensive background in event production and coordinating talents that will be used to create even more opportunities for families and individuals to enjoy.
So now that you’ve heard a bit about our past, present, and future: We invite you to be our guest! Believe us, if you haven’t been to the cave in a few years or perhaps you’ve never been, you won’t want to miss it here. We will be posting several exciting events throughout this year and we couldn’t be more pleased to be your hosts through an extraordinary adventure.