Thursday, September 6, 2012

Jewel Cave, South Dakota

At 160.02 miles (as of 9/5/2012), Jewel Cave is the second longest cave in the world, and still only 3-5% discovered. We went on the 1 hour 20 minute scenic tour (free for us under our VIP card, normally $8 per adult) and enjoyed our time.

Jewel Cave is very different than Wind Cave, with it’s large rooms (one, which we did not enter, named the Bug Duh is 570 feet long, 180 feet wide and 30 feet tall) and calcite crystals that sparkle (thus the name). Photos, as you can tell, were difficult to take due to the largeness of the rooms.

Cave Bacon ~ below.

So the VIP card we have mentioned fairly frequently in our posts is a card that gets us into many Black Hills attractions for free. VIP stands for Visitor Industry Partners and the goal is to give employees the opportunity to visit area attractions so when visitors ask a questions about where to go or what to do, we can give informed answers. One question we often get while working at the Mt. Rushmore Bookstore: “We’re short on time and can only visit one cave – which one should we go, Wind Cave or Jewel Cave?” And now we can answer it with our own experience, not just that garnered by others…..and the answer is……Wind Cave!  Why? Because if you’ve visited Mammoth Cave in Kentucky or Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, or most any other cave in the US, you’ll basically see the same thing as Jewel Cave.  Wind Cave is different – it has 98% of the world’s boxwork formations, and if you can only go to one cave in the area, then that’s the one we recommend. 

Final note ~ it is suspected that someday it will be discovered that Jewel Cave and Wind Cave are connected, so then the only decision to be made is whether to call it Jewel-Wind Cave or Wind-Jewel Cave...........
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

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