Lights! Camera! Action! Okay. So, Kingman, Arizona may not be exactly Hollywood, but in nearby Peach Springs, get ready to cast yourself in a Spielberg-worthy adventure 345 million years in the making. Visitors to Zuni RV Village Campground never have to « dig deep » to find unique experiences. In less than an hour’s drive, adventuresome explorers can plunge into a lost world filled with fossils and enjoy some fine fare in a truly remarkable setting.
Journey to the Center of the Earth
While you may not have to dig very deep to find adventure, you still might feel a bit like Jules Verne as you ride the elevator into the depths of the Earth. Twenty-one stories later, you’ll find yourself plunged into the heart of a sixty-mile cave network that extends all the way to the Grand Canyon.
The cave was discovered by accident in 1927 by Walter Peck. The poker player thought life had dealt him a winning hand, and he’d struck it rich. Mistaking the sparkling mineral deposits in the cave for diamonds and gold, he purchased a generous portion of land around the cave, only to find out that life had actually cracked the “W.H.I.P.” instead. Walter Peck had only purchased a bunch of pretty rocks.
Walter Peck may not have gotten rich off his find, but the poker player’s piffle now operates as the Grand Canyon Caverns where visitors are enriched by nature’s beauty instead. You can enjoy sprawling views of the main underground chamber and take the opportunity to dine at the four-table restaurant established by restaurateur, John McEnulty.
From Disney to Spielberg
McEnulty drew inspiration for his unique restaurant from his experiences at Walt Disney World’s Blue Bayou restaurant. He wanted to capture that same kind of magical awe of being transported to another world. Diners at the Cavern Grotto restaurant are surrounded by rock formations believed to have been carved by an ancient sea, though currently, no moisture is present throughout the cave system.
The restaurant accommodates approximately twenty people at a time, making it an intimate dining experience. Dining options, which include familiar comfort fare, are cooked on the surface and lowered by an intricate rope and pulley system in old miners’ buckets and prospecting pans.
The restaurant is just one of the ways for visitors to truly immerse themselves in Arizona history. There are also exploration opportunities available for the daring at the caverns. Guided hard hat tours are available to visit portions of the cave network. Some cavers have discovered fossils that would make even Mr. Spielberg jealous, including Gertie, an extinct giant ground sloth from the Pleistocene era. Currently, a life-sized replica of the sloth stands guard at the cavern’s underground entrance.
Mummy Knows Best
If you’re looking for a little brain food after your underground dining experience, look to your mummy…mummified bobcat, that is. Visitors can observe the mummified remains of a bobcat when visiting the caverns and see why the Grand Canyon Caverns is considered a “dry cave.” Very little bacteria or other “creepy crawlers” exist—a perfect environment for making mummies. The unique ecosystem present in the caverns also explains the absence of stalactites and stalagmites typically present in other cave systems. To take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime experience, just follow Route 66 to mile marker 115 and be sure to place a reservation on the website.
So, if you’re looking to do a little time-traveling on your next vacation to Arizona and the Zuni RV Village and Campground, be sure to take a journey to the center of the Earth and find fun with fossils and fine fare at Grand Canyon Caverns.