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Cave of the Mounds Coupons seem to be one of the most searched terms in Wisconsin tourism – and for good reason. It is a fantastic place to visit!
The natural limestone cave located near Blue Mounds, Wisconsin is one of the gems of Dane County and an almost mandatory field trip for any elementary school student.
Cave of the Mounds Blue Mounds
It has kind of a special meaning to our family, as my husband’s uncle was one of the early tour guides. Growing up in neighboring Mt Horeb, it was a young teen’s dream to work in nature.
Cave of the Mounds History
Uncle Bob wasn’t around when it was first discovered in 1939, by accident. They were mining limestone from a quarry on the Brigham Farm and the blast revealed a huge underground cavern.
It has been decided that the cave formed roughly a million to a million and a half years ago, according to the geologists.
Can you imaging living on a family farm and not knowing what a huge cave was under your land? We were to learn that there was a small series of caves under my husband’s family land too – which is now called Tollund Point and belongs to the county, close to Brigham park.
It appears that in 1939 – they knew their fortunes were made upon discovering the cave. Charles Brigham accepted an offer from Carl Brechler, a Mount Horeb banker, and Fred Hanneman, the high school music teacher, to develop and run the site as a business to create tourism and provide jobs.
Less than a year after its discovery, the cave opened to the public on May 31, 1940. Most locals at the time thought they were crazy – but the laugh was on them – it is still going strong over 80 years later and employs roughly 40 people…and in 1987 was declared a National Natural Landmark.
Having been through the cave system today – it is hard to imagine the days back then when they only had flash lights!
What is the difference between a cavern and a cave?
I know a lot of people get confused about the difference between a cave and a cavern. A cave is defined as any cavity in the ground that has a section that does not receive direct sunlight. A cavern is just one type of cave that is formed naturally in soluble rock and grows speleothems (the general term for cave formations like stalagmites and stalactites).
You can learn all about actual caves on my site World of Caves.
Cave of the Mounds Tour
One thing you need to know is that the cave is not wheelchair, walker or stroller accessible, however, most above ground activities are. Besides the actual cave tour – that seems to go fairly fast, there are a ton of things to do on the property.
- Discover Treasure at the Gemstone Mine * additional cost
- Explore our Rock & Fossil Gift Shop
- Crack open a Geode * additional cost
- Get certified as an Adventure Ranger
- Walk along our Geologic Timeline
- Find fossils at our Barn Fossil Hunt
- Hike the Interpretive Nature Trails
- Observe the Rock & Perennial Gardens
I do love how they have learned to maintain the integrity of the cave, protect it, and appreciate it. They try to pass that on to their visitors.
It is a long way from when they used to have a wishing well/fountain in the cave and harvest the coins – which damaged the ecosystem.
Cave of the Mounds with Kids
Here is a little gem we whipped up that helps you navigate this fun place with the munchkins –
Cave of the Mounds Virtual tour
While the virtual tour is nowhere near as fun as the real visit, you can see it here. It gives you an idea of what you will see when you actually out in the area.
Facts about COTM
How big is Cave of the Mounds?
While you take a tour of about a fifth of a mile, you are not experiencing the entire cave. You get to traverse about 2/3 of the 1692 feet.
Depth of Cave of the Mounds
You are never very far underground when you visit – roughly 40 – 57 feet down tops. Distances from the floor of the Cave to the surface:
- South End Collapse 42 feet
- Onyx Ridge 48 feet
- North Cave 57 feet
- North End Collapse 43 feet
- Bypass Tunnel 40 feet
Are there animals in Cave of the Mounds?
You won’t see bats, etc there as this was a totally enclosed cave when it was discovered. There was no way in or out of it for small animals.
Who owns Cave of the Mounds?
The Brigham family still owns it to this day.
The Cave of the Mounds temperature
The cave runs a pretty consistent 50 degrees year-round – hat means it is a cool place to visit in the summer and a warm venue in the winter.
Is Cave of the Mounds haunted?
Um, no. sorry. They do have a fun HOLLOW-een event where anyone who wants to join can for an extra $2 charge per person when buying a ticket can participate in. This includes a reusable cloth bag, 4 crystals/fossils that you will get in a trick-or-treat style throughout the cave! Plus 1 “bonus crystal” if a guest is in costume.
Cave of the Mounds and Dogs
Pets are NOT allowed on the grounds. However, we do have free dog kennels available seasonally.
Cave of the Mounds Events
There are a ton of things going on at the cave and in the surrounding area! I already talked about Cave of the Mounds and Halloween, but that is just the beginning!
How about Cave of the Mounds and a Merit badge?
Lots of fun to be had for scouts! I love their overnight event that includes outdoor space for camping from April 1 to October 31 and indoor space for sleeping from November 1 to March 31. Scout overnights include 4 hours of special night-time programming including:
- Themed Cave Exploration
- Night Hike
- Interactive Educational Program
- Campfire with S’Mores, Games and Stories
- Gemstone Mining and/or Fossil Dig Activity and Collection
- Pizza or Hot Dog Dinner can be added for an additional fee.
- Continental Breakfast can be added for an additional fee.
Overnight check-in begins at 5:30 pm and check-out is 9:00 am the following day.
Cave of the Mounds wedding
Cave of the Mounds Admission
The Cave of the Mounds ticket prices for touring the cave is broken down into FREE if you are under 3, $10.95 for ages 4-12, and then $18.95 for everyone else.
Cave of the Mounds Discounts
- There are group discounts for larger groups – and they have a great deal for schools…as low as $7.50 per kiddo.
- There is no Cave of the Mounds Military discounts at this time.
- The best discount is a Membership – where they add an additional $5.99 to your ticket price and you are good for (FREE) return visits for a year.
Cave of the Mounds Coupons
The only REAL one I found, besides the occasional Groupon is through the Wisconsin Dells page. It gives you free Gemstone mining with the tour at a regular price, saving you $5.75. I know there are other Cave of the Mounds coupons out there, but they seem to date back to 2018 -and I question their validity.
Are you a Pressed Penny Collector?
The Cave has two different machines and both can be reached without going on a formal tour:
Machine 1 is located in the Cave Entrance Building. You don’t have to go on the tour to squish the pennies. Designs are:
1) ‘Stalactites’, the image of Stalactites.
2) ‘Trilobite’, Image of Trilobite
3) ‘Brigham Farm’, building
4) ‘Wisconsin’s Oldest Classroom’, People in the cave
Machine 2 is in the Visitors Center, both are near the main door. Designs are:
1) ‘Cave of the Mounds’, View inside the cave
2) ‘Cave of the Mounds National Landmark’, word logo
3) ‘Cave of the Mounds Discovered August 1939’, the image of the cave interior
4) ‘Cave of the Mounds, Spelunker’, an image of the cave interior
Cave of the Mounds Location
Cave of the Mounds Address
2975 Cave of the Mounds Road, Blue Mounds, WI 53517-0148
Attractions near Cave of the Mounds
Parks that allow for a ton of fun in nature like hiking, biking, and even cross-country skiing. You are close to the Mt Horeb Trollway – and even The House on the Rock. It could be a fun family weekend!
Places to eat near Cave of the Mounds
While you are close to several parks that are perfect for that ultimate Wisconsin summer picnic, you are also close to several towns that have great restaurants!
Blue Mounds has a cute little bar and restaurant called Hooterville Inn – it is a great place to grab a burger. We haven’t tried their fish fry but heard the hashbrowns are legendary. Another great little local place right off of Highway 151 is Harley Blue. I love the old-fashioned counter – and Taco Tuesdays!
A short hop over to Mt Horeb will take you to the legendary Grumpy Troll. While we love the pizza, the kiddo loves the pulled pork. Start with a giant soft pretzel and share with the gang! Aztlan Mexican Grill would be our other suggestion – great authentic Mexican food at a reasonable price! While you are in town – look at the trollway!
Hotels and lodging near Cave of the Mounds
Less than 10 minutes away from the cave is a gorgeous Victorian bed and breakfast – The Sunnvia Inn. The House on the Rock Inn is a great place if you plan to hang in the area a few days and see the House on the Rock too! It has an indoor pool and spa!
Camping near Cave of the Mounds
While you can’t pitch a tent on Tollund Point, you can just across the street at Brigham County Park. It’s a beautiful view, has 23 campsites, and the shelter even has a soda machine, LOL!
There is great hiking and it connects to Blue Mound State Park. It is the WEST mound of the two in the area and has something like 20 miles of hiking trails. It’s also great for biking, cross-country skiing, and camping. Seriously, the area is beautiful.