Meramec Caverns is holding a photography contest in honor of its 80th anniversary.

The 400 million-year-old natural wonder opened as an attraction in 1933. Since then, Meramec Caverns has become an iconic visitor destination for naturalists, history buffs and Route 66 travelers and a subject for thousands of photographs.

“We want our visitors to share their experiences at the caverns, the zip line and the campsite during our anniversary celebration,” says Judy Turilli, vice president of Meramec Caverns. “So, we developed (pun, intended) the Meramec Caverns Photo Contest.”

Cash prizes will be awarded for photos in five categories:

Cave Exploring;

Meramec River Fun;

Camping Under the Stars;

Family Fun; and

Flying High on the Zip Line.

There are both adult and youth (ages 11 and under) divisions.

The first-place prize in each category and age group is $80 in recognition of Meramec Caverns’ 80th anniversary. One grand prize winner will be awarded $800.

Prizes will be presented Saturday, Sept. 14, at Meramec Caverns as part of Franklin County Day special event.

All entry photos must be taken at Meramec Caverns entertainment property. Entry deadline is Monday, Sept. 2.

Photo contest rules and a detailed entry form are available at

Located only one hour southwest of St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, Meramec Caverns is open year-round. Visitors can spend a fun-filled day at other Meramec Caverns attractions, including the exciting Caveman Zip Line, boat rides along the Meramec River and panning for gold at the Meramec Mining Company children’s area. The restaurant serves home-style meals and the snack bar offers 28 flavors of ice cream and homemade fudge.

For directions and a FAQ about Meramec Caverns, visit or call 1-573-HOT-CAVE (1-573-468-2283).