“Dark,” “creepy” and “bats” are the three words that come to mind when we think of caves. And while those words might make caves sound spooky, they are anything but. Caves are natural marvels, and Indiana has many caves around the state to explore. Touring a cave is an opportunity for your kids to step out of a two-dimensional idea and into a breathtaking, immersive exploration of real adventure.
Exploring a cave is an incredible way for your little ones to learn about Indiana’s geology. Caves are like underground mazes of rooms. Walking through a cave gives you an up-close look at how rocks can slowly change. While spelunking (a science word for cave exploring) is fun, always make sure you are with an experienced guide who is familiar with the cave and its conditions.
Here is a fun way to remember the difference between the kinds of mineral deposits. Stalactites, spelled with a “c” (like the word ceiling), form on the roofs of caves. Stalagmites, spelled with a “g” (like the word ground), are found on cave floors.
At home, your family can make a “cave” by setting up a fort. Place blankets over a table and make stalactites or stalagmites to attach inside your cave. Then, research what critters might join you in the cave, and make the creatures out of fabric, stuffed paper bags or even use the kids stuffed animals.
For a trial cave run, families can learn more about these natural wonders at Dow AgroSciences ScienceWorks within The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Become a biospeleologist (someone who studies life in caves), discover new technology and go underground to uncover mysteries about rocks. Kids will be able to embrace caves, and see that caves are not “scary” places filled with monsters!
If you have been wanting to tour a real cave, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is offering a guided tour of two caves in southern Indiana on Saturday, September 21. On this chartered bus tour, visitors will tour Marengo Cave in Crawford County (a U.S. National Natural Landmark) and Bluespring Caverns in Lawrence County, where you can go caving on a boat! For more information, visit The Children’s Museum’s website.