animal watch
applied academics with annie
arts & culture
book talk
bridging the achievement gap
editorial
education
energy/environment
financial literacy
geography
health
history
news
our favorite quotes
science
science and technology
space science
special features
sports
stories from the south side
where in dane county?
wisconsin museums
our student bios
animal watch
energy/environment
geography
health
history
news
poems
science and technology
science
space science
sports
animal watch
energy and the environment
health
history
science
space science
subscribe
advertise
sponsor
join the red rack express club!
become a friend of the Free Press
Friends List
SSFP in the News
Testimonials
Friday, April 18, 2014 home site map printer-friendly

Where in Dane County Is the Simpson Street Free Press:

Seven Stories Beneath the Surface of the Earth

by Taylor Kilgore, 16

   Recently, fellow Free Press reporters, Alex Lee, Pallav Regmi, and I went on a trip to the “oldest classroom in the Wisconsin”. The Cave of the Mounds is a national landmark located in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. There really is a lot to learn about this million-year old cave!
   Many tours are offered to help visitors learn, including an exhibit of gem and fossil digs. Before our tour, we were shown a video on the Cave of the Mounds history. It was discovered in 1939 after a quarry blast revealed an underground tunnel. The blast opened a 20-foot high entrance into a cave, which has come to be known as the Cave of The Mounds. Lights were eventually installed, and the cave was opened to the public in May of 1940.
   Over 59,000 people came to visit the cave in the first eight weeks after it opened. It has remained one of Dane County’s most popular attractions ever since.
   Once our tour began, we passed through three doors built to keep animals out, and to keep the caves’ atmosphere as natural as possible. We were amazed at the beautiful limestone walls of the cave. Walking through twists and turns we came across a red light, which marked the lowest point of the cave, seven stories underground. Our tour guide pointed out stalactites, stalagmites, and even ribbon stalactites refered to as “cave bacon.”
   We learned that it takes 100 years for those cave formations to grow only an inch. We walked into a beautiful room of the cave, called the “cathedral.” It was named for its beauty and the columns at the back of the cave room. It’s normal to find newlyweds on their honeymoon taking pictures here.
   During our visit, the cave was unexpectedly cold. We found out that the cave stays at about fifty degrees year round. So in the summer, the cave feels cool; in the winter it feels warm relative to the outside temperature.
   The Cave of the Mounds’ founding family focuses on preserving the cave as much as possible, and as a result nothing can ever touched or removed. Even the gift shop doesn’t sell any cave artifacts in accordance with state law.
   After our tour we received two bags of sand filled with fossils and inexpensive gems to put in wooden crates with mesh at the bottom of them. We sifted like gold minors, leaving the treasures in sight. It was interesting partaking in an activity that allowed us to discover to learn what specific treasures we collected
   The Cave of the Mounds is more than a place for tours and treasures. It also includes a prairie, rock garden, butterfly exhibit, and hiking trails. Throughout these exhibits, there are cool sinkholes formed by potential caves. I recommend visiting the Cave of the Mounds. You are sure to have a great time learning and experiencing the kind of nature you may not see anywhere else.

Name
Location
Email
Comment
Please enter the word shown below (reduces spam).
captcha
Click the image to generate a new one.