In an effort to see all the wonderful things in southern Utah and the Arizona Strip, Tom and I alternate weekends away with weekends exploring things close by. Moqui Cave is one of the things close by, because it is located just north of Kanab.
Moqui Cave is the quintessential tourist attraction. Garth and Laura Chamberlain purchased the cave, used as a speakeasy in the 1920’s, in 1951. Garth Chamberlain was a WWII veteran and graduate of Brigham Young University. He was also the first Mormon drafted by the NFL. He played for the Pittsburgh Steelers for one season. After he left professional football, Garth needed a way to support his family. So he bought Moqui Cave.
At first, Garth ran Moqui Cave as a bar, but gradually he expanded his business. He added memorabilia from his sports career, purchased dinosaur footprints from all over Utah, and created a collection of fluorescent rocks. Garth also collected Native American items. Everything is displayed in a random hodge-podge inside the cave. The cave is advertised as a “natural history museum.” Maybe.
The most fun thing about the cave is the extensive gift shop. Moqui Cave has the largest collection of Native American craft items in the area. A huge variety of t-shirts are for sale. Gift items range from the totally tacky to beautiful stone and woodwork.
Tom and I normally avoid places like this, but Moqui Cave always looks busy when we drive by, so we decided to check it out. We paid the entrance fee, listened to the introductory talk, and wandered around. The silliest thing was the painted fluorescent “art.” I’m not sure what it was supposed to be. The most interesting thing was the display of stone art and gems in the gift shop. Although Garth died in 1988, the cave is still owned and operated by the Chamberlain family.
Moqui Cave might be a good thing to visit on a rainy day in Kanab. It can be fun if you go in the right frame of mind.