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Contact: Bradley Block, 605-673-8330
JEWEL CAVE NATIONAL MONUMENT, SD – Jewel Cave National Monument is changing its hours of operation and tour schedule beginning December 1. The visitor center will be open Mondays through Fridays, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Guided cave tours will only be available on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays of each week through early March. The visitor center will be closed on weekends and federal holidays during the winter months. Although the visitor center will be open, cave tours will not be available on Mondays or Tuesdays during the off-season.
Scenic Tours and Discovery Talks are scheduled on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. The one hour and 20-minute Scenic Tour takes place at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The 20-minute, wheelchair accessible Discovery Talk occurs at 9:05 a.m., 12:45 p.m., and 3:45 p.m. These cave tours during the off-season are first come first serve; advanced reservations for the Scenic Tours and Discovery Talks are not taken during the winter months.
Acting Superintendent Mike Wiles states, “With limited visitation during the winter, the monument is focusing its budgetary resources and related seasonal staff toward the spring, summer, and fall. Our interpretive staff will be using Mondays and Tuesdays for off-site educational programs at local schools and providing guided cave tours during the remainder of the week. Although some off-season guests may be inconvenienced by the limited tour times, we remain committed to serving as many visitors and school groups as possible.”
For added programming opportunities, the monument is hosting Wild Caving Tours on the following Fridays: December 19, January 16, February 20, March 20, and April 17. The tours are limited to five participants on each caving trip. Reservations are required and can be made up to 28 days in advance of the listed dates; however, the reservation deadline for each date is the Wednesday prior to the scheduled tour.
Wild Caving Tours offer a three to four-hour trek that takes participants off-trail within Jewel Cave. The tour is strenuous, and all cavers are required to fit through an eight and one-half inch by 24 inch opening. Participants must be eighteen years of age or older; however, young adults sixteen or seventeen are allowed on the tour with parental approval. Each tour begins at 11:30 a.m. and concludes around 4:00 p.m.
For more information about Jewel Cave National Monument, please contact the visitor center at 605-673-8300 or visit the monument online at www.nps.gov/jeca.