November 1 - Change in Hours of Operation and Tour Schedule
The visitor center will be open Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (closed on weekends). Guided cave tours will only be available on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays of each week. Tours will not be available on Mondays and Tuesdays. More »
Public Feedback Requested
Jewel Cave National Monument is requesting public feedback for the proposed fee increases of cave tour tickets in 2014. Visit the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website for more information or to provide comments. More »
On-Site Field Trip Opportunities
Jewel Cave National Monument offers an assortment of on-site field trip opportunities for interested school groups. Ranging from half-day ranger guided tours to all day educational experiences, teachers may be interested in exploring this unique site within the National Park Service.
Surface programs do not require a fee waiver and can be conducted at any time within an approved day-use area. However, educational groups wishing to participate in a cave tour are welcome to submit a request for an Academic Fee Waiver. Groups need to be from an accredited institution (public or private school), and the proposed visit must be related to an approved curriculum.
Academic Fee Waiver Requirements and Guidance
1) Academic fee waiver applications must include at least three weeks of submission time in order to be reviewed.
2) Academic fee waiver applications are reviewed in the order in which they are received.
3) Academic fee waiver applications will only be reviewed for the Scenic and Discovery Tours.
4) Academic fee waiver applications (if approved) will be placed on the early and/or mid-morning tour times.
5) Academic fee waiver applications will not be considered for dates in mid to late May or the month of September.
6) Academic fee waiver applications will not be considered for dates that include Sundays or Mondays.
7) Academic fee waiver applications (if approved) will be required to maintain specific participation numbers.
8) Academic fee waiver applications are not granted automatically for any group, nor for any specific date(s).
9) Academic fee waiver applications will only be allowed a maximum of two tour times in one morning per day.
10) Academic fee waiver applications are not required for surface activities or volunteer service projects.
Off-Site Environmental Education Opportunities
Off-site environmental education programs are also available for schools within a reasonable driving distance. Classroom activities consist of hands-on programs related to various topics including geology, wildlife adaptations, predator-prey relationships, and bats.
Adopt a Classroom Program / Custer School District
Jewel Cave National Monument has embraced Action #15 - A Class Act - within the Call to Action Plan of the National Park Service. It states that each national park will adopt a Class of 2016 graduates (grade school, middle school, or high school) and develop a series of fun, educational, and engaging activities. Through a variety of classroom programs and field trips, students work directly with park staff to learn the significance of their local park unit. This multi-year partnership will culminate during the NPS Centennial in 2016. The Monument is proud to have adopted the Custer School 9th grade class.
For more information on the Call to Action: Preparing for a Second Century of Stewardship and Engagement, please visit Park Management and click on the related plan.
This program will focus on the early development of the National Parks from 1851-1915. In this origin story we will be covering the "key players", legislation, and stories of why we protect these cultural and natural resources. The Black Hills holds some of the oldest National Park sites in the country. An activity will compare the Black Hills history, pertaining to the National Parks, to other National Park histories around the country.
Adopt a Classroom Activities / March 2013 / "Rocking" the World comes in Layers
In this interactive program we will be studying different rock samples and going through the rock cycle. Taking an "in-depth" look on the workings of the earth and relating it to our local Black Hills geology. Jewel Cave is old. How old you ask? Students will be introduced to the different processes of dating minerals.
Adopt a Classroom Activities / April 2013 / Green: Keep it that Way
This activity in sustainability will be looking at the affects we have had on the planet. In small teams, students will devise plans to make a "Climate Friendly Park". We will then compare them to Jewel Cave's operations and other parks that have achieved a "climate friendly status". Students will go home knowing ways to reduce their carbon footprint.
Adopt a Classroom Activities / May 2013 / A Day in the Life at Jewel Cave
In this culminating field trip, students will be going through a series of stations that will touch on each subject of the previous programs. Visiting Jewel Cave's historic entrance students will learn firsthand about the early management of Jewel Cave and how it relates to the National Park Service as a whole. Students will hike on the surface followed by a detailed cave tour and our modern understanding of the cave's natural history. Ending on a "green" note, students will then take a look at our current efforts in sustainability and plans for the future.
Did You Know?
The largest room discovered in Jewel Cave is called the Big Duh. It measures 570 feet long, is 180 feet wide at its widest point, and is 30 feet tall.