South Dakota Day 3: Jewel Cave National Park

Our day started bright and early at 6:30 am! Brady was stirring in the camper and once one person is up…it’s hard for anybody else to stay asleep. So by 7 we were all up and my first attempt to make breakfast in the camper was underway. Pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon. Check!

We got in a little bit of fishing before we had to head out at 10 for our plans at Jewel Cave. Not as much luck just “salad” as we call the Lake weed catches.

10:00 we grabbed our packed lunches and sweatshirts and headed for Jewel Cave.

Easy drive only about 25 minutes from our campground. We had about an hour until our schedule tour. We used that time to help the boys complete their book to earn their Junior Ranger badge. The Junior Ranger program is actually pretty neat. It kinda forces the kids to learn on vacation rather than just looking at what catches their eye. They were challenged to complete 10+ pages in their workbook plus attend two Ranger presentations and they could earn a patch in addition to their badge! They did it!

Jewel Cave is the 3rd longest cave in the world with over 195 mapped tunnels and passages.

Our tour of the cave counted as a presentation for their patch and it was really cool. See the picture of “cave bacon” above? I knew it would be cold since I’ve been in one other cave, so glad we were prepared with sweatshirts! From the cave information center we descended in an elevator over 250 feet below ground. The temperature was 59 degrees. The temperature in the cave stays at 59 degrees year round regardless of the outside temperature. We saw lots of great formations such as the obvious like stalagmites, cave bacon and stalactites along with others.

On the way back to camp from Jewel Cave we stopped at a rock shop! Kids had fun checking out all the rocks and minerals. They picked out a few to bring home, including a 2 pound Rose Quarts!

(I’m sure Brady would die if he saw me post this pic….start wearing sunglasses kid 🕶)

The rest of the evening was spent at the camp enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

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