FUN FACTS ABOUT CAVE OF THE MOUNDS
Ebenezer Brigham was the first permanent European settler in Dane County. Brigham Farm had the first post office and first school house in Dane County.Brigham Farm quarry was famous for it’s high quality fossil specimens.The Cave was accidentally discovered during a routine quarry blast in 1939.Over 59,000 people came to visit the Cave in the first 8 weeks of operation.
It takes approximately 100 years for cave onyx, or calcite, to grow 1 inch. The Cave is more than 1 million years old. The Cave is made of a natural limestone called galena dolomite. Our limestone formed during the Ordovician Period, between 450-500 million years ago. Our Cave has a 6-foot fossil of a giant cephalopod, a relative of the squid. The beautiful variety of colors in the Cave are created naturally through oxidation processes of minerals present in the limestone.
Cave of the Mounds was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1988. Visitors will enjoy a walk through our terraced prairie and rock gardens, or a longer hike along our Interpretive Trails. The Cave is located in the Driftless Area of Southwestern Wisconsin, a unique area left untouched by the last Wisconsin glacier.
Our Cave is often called Wisconsin’s oldest classroom, and many cross-curricular DPI standards can be met here. Thousands of people participate in our Educational Programs all year long, including schools, scouts, youth groups, camps, daycares, home schools, travel groups and many more. Programs are designed to encourage interactive discovery through hands-on experiences – that’s powerful learning! Even before the Cave was discovered, people traveled here to learn about Wisconsin’s natural history by studying fossils in the quarry.
Also, Did You Know? …
The Cave has the same temperature everyday, all year long! Enjoy winter warmth, or natural air conditioning in summer – at a comfortable 50 degrees. There are no bats or other typical critters in our Cave. The only animals are springtails (Collembola), insects that live in pools of water, completing their entire life cycle in the dark zone. Your eyes can never adjust to total darkness. Animals that live in this type of environment must develop adaptations such as good hearing or long antennae that will help them survive.
Find Out More . . .
About Nearby Historical Attractions
On our Geology Page
About Educational Programs
About What To Do Above Ground
About Special Events