A favorite among guests, the Hall of Giants is full of large and beautiful formations and is the first room early explorers would have stumbled upon after venturing through the small opening in the hillside.

If you enjoy a good cave adventure, this might be the weekend to head to Fantastic Caverns near Springfield.

Until the water recedes inside Fantastic Caverns, visitors will get the rare chance to walk through the Hall of Giants for free.

A favorite among guests, the Hall of Giants is full of large and beautiful formations and is the first room early explorers would have stumbled upon after venturing through the small opening in the hillside. The grandiose chamber is only a small part of the mile-long tour route.

The large amounts of rainfall may have briefly suspended the all-riding cave tours, but visitors have plenty to learn and see, and it’s free. There are paths above the water line that allow access to the great chamber.

With the amount of rain that fell over the past few days, Indian Springs, the wet weather spring that empties out the lower levels of the cave, has drastically increased output. The water racing out of the spring collides with the fast flowing Little Sac River and it all can be seen by following the Canyon Trail on the grounds of Fantastic Caverns.

Fantastic Caverns is the only cave in Missouri where visitors usually ride through the cave. Riding wasn't even an option back in 1867, when the first known explorers visited. They were 12 women who, equipped with ropes and ladders, ventured inside to answer the owner's advertisement for cave explorers.

With only flickering torches or lanterns for light, they surely saw only a hint of the cave's splendors as they groped their way along its dark and slippery passages. It is unlikely that anyone else had been there before them — the cave shows no signs of human habitation.

Visitors can see thousands of speleothems — cave formations that include stalactites and stalagmites, tiny soda straws, cave pearls, massive columns and flowstones, thin and delicate draperies and more. These distinctive formations, each one like no other, and all created by water a drop at a time, take us back though the ages to a day when no human footstep was heard.

Humans have never inhabited these caverns, however, a variety of animals do find a home here. The grotto salamander, the cave crayfish and the rare, blind Ozarks cavefish — a reclusive little creature no longer than a finger — can all be found here.