Cheap Trips #2, Childersburg, Alabama

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email | Twitter


Historic sites in underground caves.

It sounds like an "Indiana Jones" movie, but there's a site in east Alabama that's been attracting tourists for nearly 35 years.

Just 35 miles southeast of Birmingham, the city of Childersburg is small in stature, but heavy on history.

The main attraction is DeSoto Caverns.

"The main room we're in now, it's as large as a football field, and as tall as a 12 story building, so it's a really big cavern," said Christy Graham, marketing assistant at DeSoto Caverns.

Legend has it, Hernando DeSoto and his Spanish expedition came across this area in 1540 A.D.

It was occupied by the Coosa Indians at the time.

But that's where the history to this area only begins.

During the Civil War, confederate soldiers actually mined these caverns, looking for materials to make gun powder.

The key ingredient was guano, known by the more familiar term, "bat droppings."

"Down in the cave here, we had a moonshine still set up back in the 1920's during prohibition, there was a tavern down here, there is also a burial ground down here we've found that's over two-thousand years old from the Woodland Indian period," Graham said.

These days, the caverns cater to a younger crowd.

Tours begin at 9:30 in the morning and run through the late afternoon.

There's a light show and plenty of stalagmites and stalactites.

It's $18 for an adult ticket, and a host of family discount plans.

"We've got over 25 outside attractions now, we've got a maze, panning for gemstones, a wall climb, pedal go carts, a putt-putt golf course, we have a lot of things to do outside also," Graham said.

After a long day at the Caverns, we're ready for a stop at The City Limits restaurant in Childersburg.

On the menu today, catfish, chili, cole slaw, hush puppies, and all the fixings.

Derek Kinkade joined me on the trip.

He had the restaurant special, "The Childersburger," suggested by our waitress Deann Todd.

"12 ounces of beef, all your fixings, it comes with Barbeque sauce on the side, it's really good," Todd said.

The price is almost as good as the food, around $8 a plate.

Childersburg, Alabama.

Another day filled with fun and another cheap trip.