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March 2014

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here’s fun and adventure underground at the many caves and caverns located throughout the United States. These one-of-a-kind, naturally formed attractions offer a way to highlight the region’s geographic history that is both fun and educational.

In many cases, visitors can even take part in actual mining experiences and take home what they find. Or, for those less adventuresome, there are always the gift shops stocked with beautiful crystals or unique mineral specimens.

Geological-themed items comprise 60 percent to 70 percent of all retail sales at Bristol Caverns in Bristol, Tenn., with the most popular among those being geodes. These hollow, spherical objects, unattractive on the outside but colorful and sparkling on the inside, attract guests looking for something to take home and display on their shelves. Co-owner Gary Barnett said his amethyst geodes grab attention on their own within his 1,600-square-foot retail space when displayed in a way that highlights the colored crystals found inside, elevated properly on stands at eye level. However, it’s the mystery of the solid, golf ball-sized geode that increases sales.


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