Orion Knox Jr., founder of San Antonio’s Natural Bridge Caverns, has died at the age of 81.

Knox died on Saturday, December 31, 2022. He was 81 years old.

He was a key developer in making the space accessible to visitors by installing walkways and lighting. After the Natural Bridge Caverns opened, Knox continued to explore the space and explore its depths.

“Through Orion’s passion for exploration and discovery, tens of millions of people have been able to visit the Natural Bridge Caves to experience nature, wonder and adventure,” the Facebook post reads.

Orion Knox is squeezing through a very narrow passage called the Birth Canal.

Bennett Lee / courtesy

Photos posted to Facebook show Knox, often seen with a smile and gear for his adventures, in the caves for decades.

Knox was part of the 2019 caving expedition at the tender age of 78, according to a social media post from the attraction’s crew. Although a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease prevented him from continuing his explorations in the caves, Knox continued to be involved in the events and development of the Natural Bridge Caves and even attended the attraction’s Christmas event with his wife Jan.

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