Field Trips

As a public health precaution due to COVID-19 (coronavirus), all events and public programs are canceled. (We will be in contact with individuals and groups that have a reservation.) Cave of the Mounds will continue to follow the guidance of local public health officials to assess the situation and will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so. The health and safety of Cave of the Mounds guests and staff is our top priority. Cave of the Mounds will continue to provide updates on our website at www.caveofthemounds.com.

Photo of school group loading onto the bus

Group Policies

Group rates and programs are available with 2-week advance reservation.

Group eligibility for discounted rates is 20 or more; Small Group Packages are available.

Reservation deposit is required to guarantee your date and time.

Group itineraries are not provided or guaranteed prior to actual arrival and start.

Teacher pre-visit resources and lesson plans are available in our Education Resources

Chaperones and Bus Drivers must have a ticket/wristband and pay all group fees unless they are included in the designated complimentary admissions listed on the group invoice.

 

Photo of tour guide with kids in cave
Photo of educator with kids at picnic table
Photo of kids high fiving

Field Trip Program Options

This is the heart of our experience. The Cave Tour allows your group to be in a “living” cave environment. Guided by one of our knowledgeable tour guides, your group will see speleothems as they grow, explore passageways, identify in-cave fossils and examine limestone rock. Discover Wisconsin – below ground!

Regular (High School and up)…………$11.00

          Or age 14 and older

Child (Grades K-8)…………..………………..$7.50

          Or age 13 & under

SpeleoQUEST takes your students on a journey through Wisconsin’s unique driftless area and karst landscape – exploring sinkholes, caves, and water, as a physical and chemical force of nature by way of weathering and erosion.

Regular (High School and up)…………$13.00

          Or age 14 and older

Child (Grades K-8)…………..………………..$9.50

          Or age 13 & under

This is price includes the Cave Tour and program.

The RocksROCK program introduces your group to the basic components of our earth. Each participant will leave with a bag of their very own rock and mineral specimens great for follow-up in the classroom, at the Scout Den, or wherever your learning takes place. Use our sluice and identify rocks, minerals and gemstones with an experienced instructor.

Regular (High School and up)…………$16.00

          Or age 14 and older

Child (Grades K-8)…………..………………..$12.50

          Or age 13 & under

This is price includes the Cave Tour and program.

Dig in and discover a life story – hidden within a rock! This program provides a hands-on science experience where your group will learn about, uncover and identify authentic fossil specimens. Learn how fossils form and explore how scientists classify fossils they find. Come on – be a paleontologist for a day!

Regular (High School and up)…………$16.00

          Or age 14 and older

Child (Grades K-8)…………..………………..$12.50

          Or age 13 & under

This is price includes the Cave Tour and program.

This is a comprehensive program designed to lead your group through the basic concepts within the field of geology. Rock types and fossil formation are investigated, and we’ll explore our new GIANT geologic timeline! Each participant will leave with their very own collection of rock and mineral OR fossil specimens!

Regular (High School and up)…………$16.00

          Or age 14 and older

Child (Grades K-8)…………..………………..$12.50

          Or age 13 & under

This is price includes the Cave Tour and program.

Investigate the cultural history of Cave of the Mounds and the Blue Mounds area from the early settlers through the lead mining boom to the discovery of Wisconsin’s oldest classroom!

Regular (High School and up)…………$13.00

          Or age 14 and older

Child (Grades K-8)…………..………………..$9.50

          Or age 13 & under

This is price includes the Cave Tour and program.

Your group will learn the basics of navigation and using a compass to find their way, while they learn both individually and as an active member of a team. Orienteering challenge course time included.

This program is approximately 3 hours long and includes:

  • Cave Tour
  • Interactive Lecture
  • Orienteering Challenge Courses

*prefer 5th grade and older only

Regular (High School and up)…………$14.00

          Or age 14 and older

Child (Grades K-8)…………..………………..$10.50

          Or age 13 & under

This is price includes the Cave Tour and program.

Mine for gems… Hunt for fossils… Discover treasure! Add more learning before or after your scheduled tour.

  • 1 Self-guided Mining Activity with Rock or Fossil Collection

In addition to a Group Cave Tour and/or package:

Per Participant……………..$4.50 (Adults can “opt out”)

            Available for all ages!

Our Small Group Package is available to groups of 10 or more with two-week advance reservation. Your small group can still enjoy a field trip and save! The Small Group Package includes the 1-hour educational cave tour and the mining activity of your choice. Choose the Quarry’s Edge Gemstone Mine or the Fossil Dig. Everyone goes home with a collection of rocks or fossils!

  • Cave Tour
  • Mining Activity with Rock or Fossil Collection
Photo of kids sluicing
Photo of tour guide in cave
Photo of educator in barn teaching a field trip

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

*Field Trip Edition*

Decades of being Wisconsin’s Oldest Classroom have taught us that flexibility ensures
success when dealing with construction, weather, and late arrivals due to traffic or busing
issues. When you arrive, our Education Team will lead you from start to finish through the
activities to best suit your group’s needs. Sit back and enjoy – we will take good care of you!


If you provide an itinerary for your chaperones, then we recommend that your itinerary say:
X:XX am/pm: (15 mins prior to reserved start time)-Arrive and check in
X:XX am/pm:(start time) Underground FUN and more led by COTM educators, including
picnic break (if applicable)
X:XX am/pm:(when done/or if a specific departure time necessary) Board buses to go home

We have a wonderful FREE outdoor picnic area with lots of space for the children to run
around.

Our indoor spaces and shelters are dedicated for educational program use but may
be reserved in advance for $1 per child if not reserved by another school . In the event of
inclement weather, Brigham County Park is 1.5 miles away with a free shelter for your use
on a first come, first served basis. Also, some schools choose to eat their lunches on the bus.
The option is up to you. Just let us know if you would like to pay the $1 per child fee to
reserve a space indoors for your group.

Each cave tour groups will consist of no more than 25 people, including all teachers, adults and
students. We can accommodate two groups going into the cave every 10-15 minutes. We
recommend at least one teacher or chaperone per group.

That’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Go to our online store and make a group payment.
  2. Send us a check.
    Cave of the Mounds
    ATTN: Groups Department
    PO Box 148, Blue Mounds, WI 53517
  3. Call with a credit card and pay over the phone

Once you have made a payment, we will send you an updated invoice within 2-4 business days.

A recommended but optional step is our process of colored wristbands. Prepaying and
receiving wristbands allows YOU more control when deciding how your group is divided during
our smaller group tour times. Additionally, each wristband may be used as a coupon for a FREE
child’s admission or HALF OFF an adult ticket to come back and visit the cave in the future!

Wristbands are sent via US Mail as soon as possible after we have received full payment for
your upcoming visit.

It is best if your students and chaperones are wearing these wristbands ON THE BUS before
they arrive at the cave.

Everyone must have a wristband on, including teachers and chaperones (and bus drivers, if
applicable).

You can purchase additional wristbands upon check-in, if needed.

If there is not enough time to mail you the wristbands, we will hold them for you at the checkin desk in the Visitor Center. We will send you an email notifying you to pick them up there
upon arrival. You will have advanced notice of how many students & chaperones should be in
each group..

Our policy on the wristbands was sent to the teacher with their invoice, and it states:
“Once we have received your final payment, a confirmation packet that includes your
program tickets (wristbands) will be sent. Once wristbands have been sent, refunds will
not be issued.” While wristbands are non-refundable, they are good for a child’s ticket
(or $10 off an adult ticket) to visit another time. Wristbands can be redeemed anytime
someone comes with that wristband in hand. If the student had already submitted the
money for the tickets but could not attend, they are able to come on their own with
that wristband at no charge. Another idea would be to use left-over wristbands in a
student rewards program or a PTO fund-raiser for a raffle or silent auction prize.

Whenever possible, teachers should report and pay for the chaperones in advance. We
love it when parents come along on your trip – the more the merrier!!! However, keep in
mind that chaperones coming without notice to us – or you – could affect group
sizes and actual time your field trip activities get started. This can result in your check
in process being less efficient and your start and end times to vary from what you
originally anticipated. The best way to GUARANTEE that all of your teachers and
chaperones are included in your group is to reserve and pay for them in advance. If
extra staff or parent chaperones arise at the last minute, we understand, and here is
what you can expect:

  • Please collect their money and be prepared to make one payment so one person is
    handling the check-in process. This not only confirms these adults are approved to
    be with students, but it also allows us to offer the discounted and tax exempt (if
    applicable) rates for these guests.
  • **PLEASE NOTE: We cannot guarantee that last minute additions will get to be in the
    wristband color group of their child, but we will try our best.
  • If parent chaperones show up and pay separately, they will be charged full price cave
    admission plus taxes and all applicable program fees. In these cases, we will try to
    place them with your group, if possible, but there is no guarantee.

We don’t offer any grants or discounts beyond our already discounted group pricing. As a
privately-run business, our policy is to keep our price as low as possible to cover expenses
as we are committed to supporting excellent educational opportunities for all
students. Ideas for teachers in search of field trip funding are:

  • Some schools have had success asking a local business to sponsor their visit in exchange
    for a thank you mention in the school newsletter.
  • There are transportation grants available to schools that qualify through our membership
    with NatureNET. Please visit naturenet.org for more information
  • Parent Teacher Organization fundraisers have been very successful at raising field trip
    funding for schools.
  • Student-organized fundraisers, such as bake sales, can also help to offset field trip costs.

We have had many schools come to Cave of the Mounds with a student in a wheelchair. We
strive to make our experience as accessible as possible to all guests whenever possible. The
grounds, educational program spaces, portions of the Nature Trail and restrooms are all
wheelchair accessible. Although our Cave has many stairs and is not fully wheelchair
accessible, there are several accommodations we can make:

  • If the child is able to walk supported or with a cane or crutch(es) they are welcomed to
    use them for the tour. There are sturdy handrails through ramp areas of the Cave and
    on all stairs. Though we travel back and forth over several staircases, the trails in the
    Cave are paved, mostly flat, and well lit.
  • If the child has a parent chaperone or aide that can piggy-back or carry them through,
    that is also welcomed. This has proven successful for many wheelchair-bound children
    touring the Cave. Pre-approved backpack carriers are sometimes allowed in the cave,
    however, we must always consider the protection of the natural cave environment
  • If the child cannot be removed from the wheelchair, they are welcomed to watch
    the video preview, look into the South Cave and hear the brief introduction of the Cave
    from the viewing platform. After the rest of the group descends the stairs deeper into
    the Cave, we offer an Accessible Learning Backpack filled with a photo tour of the cave,
    books about caves, rocks or fossils, some hands-on specimens to explore, as well as a
    bag of mining rough (gems or fossils) to discover using our mining sluice while the group
    finishes the tour of the Cave (about 35-40 minutes).
  • We also have a link to a 3-D virtual tour of the Cave, and a written tour is available upon
    request.

Our men’s and women’s restroom facilities are equipped with infant changing stations and
one larger, wheelchair accessible stall. Our staff restroom may be used upon request for
students that need an aide to assist them privately or for students that prefer a nongendered restroom. Aides and students requiring the staff facilities for extended times (i.e.
for catheters or other special needs) are encouraged to call our Education Team so that we
can strategize with you the most successful options.


State law protects the right to breastfeed in public. Please understand that we are an
outdoor nature center, and as such, do not have a great private place for nursing mothers
to pump breastmilk. We recommend bringing a battery pack as electrical plugs are limited
to select areas. Some moms in the past have found a quiet picnic table and used a blanket
for coverage, while others have used the empty bus to pump.