Caution - Roadwork on Highway 16
Construction projects both along highway 16 and the Jewel Cave parking lot are in progress. The Jewel Cave Visitor Center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with tours scheduled throughout the day. No reservations for cave tours.
Highway 16 construction near Jewel Cave entrance
Construction of Highway 16 through Jewel Cave National Monument is progressing on schedule. Motorists should use caution while traveling through the construction zone. Visitors to Jewel Cave should plan extra travel time and come early in the day. More »
The parking lot at Jewel Cave takes shape
Jewel Cave's parking lot project is on schedule for completion this fall. The stairs and wheelchair ramp to the visitor center are under construction. Signage along a service road and staff assistance will help guide visitors to the visitor center. More »
Jewel Cave Explores and Discovers Cave Education
Jewel Cave National Monument is teaming up with the University of Sioux Falls (USF) with an educational workshop for teachers entitled "Explore and Discover Cave Education."The workshop derives from Project Underground, a national curriculum for educators of kindergarten through high school academic levels.The workshop is slated for September 26 –28, 2014, with sessions starting Friday evening and ending late morning on Sunday. An academic credit hour is available for interested participants.
Project Underground, highlighting cave and karst educational programs, has been used in National Parks across the nation. The workshop offers ten sessions that mix science with adventure.Participating teachers and educators will be expected to take part in learning about bats, belly-crawl mapping, and a host of other lively sessions.The learned activities create an awareness of cave and karst areas, as well as a better understanding of human impact on natural resources. Complementing South Dakota content standards through general science and mathematics, participants can take their skills back to their classrooms and enhance current lesson plans.
Chief of Interpretation Bradley Block comments, "Educational programming continues to expand at Jewel Cave, and we are excited to host a teacher's workshop in order to engage even more audiences.Not only does this workshop complement the Call to Action Plan of the National Park Service, by providing educator training, it also creates an educational bond between the monument and local school systems."Educators, teachers, naturalists, and outdoor learning instructors will have the opportunity for both in-class sessions and field activities. At the conclusion of the workshop, teachers receive an extensive curriculum guide for future use.
Workshop activities and sessions begin on Friday night, September 26 at 7:00 p.m. Field activities take place all day on Saturday. The workshop concludes on Sunday morning, September 28 around 11:00 a.m. There is a $75.00 registration fee for the workshop, which covers program materials, supplies, and some meals.An additional fee of $45.00 covers the academic credit through USF. To register for the workshop, interested participants are encouraged to click on this website's For Teachers link.
Free Tours at Jewel and Wind Caves in Celebration
Jewel Cave National Monument and Wind Cave National Park will be offering free tours on Saturday, September 27, 2014 as part of National Public Lands Day. Additionally, each area will also host volunteer projects for a special day of service and celebration.
People interested in volunteering at Jewel Cave on this special event date are encouraged to report to the visitor center by 10 a.m. Interested volunteers will be improving a fireline for a planned prescription fire this fall, by removing dead and downed materials.
The Friends of Wind Cave National Park will be working on a revegetation project, planting native seeds along a recently buried utility line. People interested in helping out are encouraged to meet at the park visitor center at 8 a.m. dressed for the weather with work gloves and water. The work project ends around noon;participants will then return to the headquarters area for a free lunch. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to participate. Group size is limited to 15 people.
Anyone interested in touring one of the caves for free is encouraged to arrive early. All tours begin at the respective visitor centers, and cave tour tickets will be issued on a first come, first served basis. This event can be extremely popular resulting in long wait times and possible "sold out" tours.
Jewel Cave visitors may choose either the Scenic Tour or Discovery Talk as their venture into the third longest cave in the world. The Scenic Tour provides an opportunity to view a variety of beautiful, colorful, and rare cave formations for which Jewel Cave is famous. This half-mile tour is moderately strenuous, follows a paved lighted trail with over 700 stairs, and lasts approximately an hour and twenty minutes. The Discovery Talk is a twenty-minute wheelchair accessible program, conducted in one large room of the cave. Cave tours begin at 9:20 a.m. with the last tour at 3:35 p.m.
Wind Cave will be offering Natural Entrance Tours beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing throughout the day until 4 p.m. These hour and fifteen minute tours are moderately strenuous and include 300 stairs, most of which go down. Cave temperatures at both caves are around 50 ºF. A light coat or sweater and sturdy walking shoes are recommended.
Did You Know?
Over 80,000 people a year go on cave tours at Jewel Cave National Monument. In the summer season, visitors can tour 3 different areas of Jewel Cave.