Special Events Sat At Wind Cave, Jewel Cave To Kickoff National Park Week

   Saturday marks the start of National Park Week, an annual celebration to discover and enjoy the country’s remarkable network of natural, cultural, and recreational sites.

Masks are required wherever social distancing isn’t possible.

     Parks across the country are hosting special programs this week, with Wind Cave National Park and Jewel Cave National Monument holding theirs today with each offering the chance to build a home for a type of animal  – Wind Cave for the Mountain Bluebird and Jewel Cave for bats.

     Both are partnerships with the Black Hills Parks and Forests Association. They’re free, but require reservations. All materials are provided but participants are asked to bring their own hammer.

     There are 2 workshop sessions at Wind Cave, 9:00 and 11:00 in the visitor center. Each starts with a program about the mountain bluebird, the benefits to a landowner of having a nesting box, and how to pick a good location for

      Jewel Cave has one bat house workshop at 2:00, but outdoors for social distancing. Like the Wind Cave workshops, it begins with a brief program about bats before participants build the houses. Jewel Cave is home to 9 different species of bats. 

      Wind Cave is also offering free cave tours today. The first leaves at 9:00 and the last at 3:00. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis but will likely be sold out shortly after the visitor center opens. 

      An elevator upgrade at Jewel Cave is continuing, so there are no cave tours at this time but surface trails, picnic areas, and the visitor center with its exhibits, park store, and award-winning film remain open.