Visiting Ozark Riverways with your class
Ozark National Scenic Riverways is glad to invite your class out to learn about park resources. Field trips are possible year round, although the cave has a limited season. Please try to provide as much notice as possible when requesting a field trip, especially in the summer months. This will insure that you will get the date and time you prefer for this very popular activity. We will be glad to work with you to customize a visit to your educational needs. Other locations besides Alley and the Cave are certainly possible.
Please also insure that children are properly dressed to be outside, and remember that insuring appropriate behavior is the school's responsibility.
ALLEY MILL Visits to the Alley Mill, one room school or other places can be scheduled at any time. Please insure enough chaperones to insure safety and proper behavior during your visit. You are welcome to call ahead and we may be able to provide a ranger and activities to your class, or you can "do your own thing" independently. If you would like to schedule a field trip to Alley Mill, please call 573-226-3945, or e-mail.
ROUND SPRING CAVE If you would like to schedule a field trip for your class to Round Spring Caverns, please call (573) 323-8093, or e-mail. Presently we can only accommodate schools in May, June, July and August.
Due to size and safety restrictions, we cannot take more than fifteen people in the cave at one time. Larger classes will be divided and taken in separately. Your class is welcome to visit the spring, enjoy the playground or have lunch in the picnic pavilion while waiting their turn in the cave. We have a very small staff and cannot accommodate very large classes or groups.
The cave maintains a constant temperature of fifty eight degrees year round. It is also slippery and sometimes muddy. Dress shoes, "crocs" and sandals are inappropriate and a sweater or jacket is advised even if it is warm outside.
A typical school tour lasts about an hour. We can make this longer or shorter to meet your needs.
We request a minimum of one chaperone per every five students on cave programs. We ask that children and parents NOT bring their own flashlights, we will provide electric lanterns. It has been our experience that flashlights from home can be very disruptive.
We do not recommend cave tours to students younger than second grade. It is a long walk to the cave, followed by a climb of some 30 stairs. Younger children tend to be "pooped" before they even get inside the cave! Also, the tour involves some bending and walking in a stooped position. People with back problems, knee problems and the like should be advised. Likewise, people with respiratory problems may want to sit this one out. While we have never had any problems, the cave does have elevated levels of carbon dioxide and radon. This is perfectly normal in a limestone cave, but we do not know what health effects, if any, it may have. For this reason we strongly discourage babies and pregnant women from participating.
Lastly, the cave is not suitable for wheelchairs, as it has unsurfaced trails, climbs, stairs, etc. We will be happy to work with your class to accommodate any disabilities to the best of our ability. Some caves in Missouri are wheelchair accessible and offer school programs.
Our teacher's guide to caves: More Than Skin Deep
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Judy Chetwin, National Park Service