JEWEL CAVE NATIONAL MONUMENT, S.D. – Superintendent Todd Suess announced today that the Monument will be offering free cave tours on Saturday, March 15, 2008 in recognition of 100 years of discovery. Jewel Cave was proclaimed a National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt on February 7, 1908, under the authority of the 1906 Antiquities Act. This created the Monument as part of the National Park System to protect the small but extraordinarily beautiful cave, which became known for the jewel-like calcite crystals that line the cave walls. Exploration continues and has revealed Jewel Cave to be the second longest cave in the world with a current length of over 141 miles.
All cave tours and programs at Jewel Cave will be free to the public on Saturday, March 15, 2008. Scenic tours will be offered at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. Discovery talks will be available at 9:05 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Cave tour tickets will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis at the Visitor Center. Advance reservations are not available for this day.
The Scenic tour provides an opportunity to view a variety of beautiful, colorful, and rare cave formations for which Jewel Cave is famous. This ½-mile tour is moderately strenuous, following a paved, lighted trail with 723 stair steps, and lasts approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. The Discovery talk is a 20-minute introduction to the cultural and natural history of Jewel Cave. This wheelchair accessible program is conducted in one large room of the cave. All tours enter and leave the cave by elevator. The cave temperature is 49ºF. A light coat or sweater, and non-slip, sturdy walking shoes are recommended.
For more information, please contact Jewel Cave National Monument at 605-673-2061.