July 2007

At Kartchner Caverns State Park

Hike, Camp, Learn About The Desert Ecosystem

There are many things to do at Kartchner Caverns during the summer months including taking the Rotunda/Throne Room tour, hiking, camping, and educational programs in July.

On Tuesday, July 3 from 11 a.m. to noon, explorers can discover historic mining in nearby Coronado National Forest with Ranger Mike Woods. See a display of mining photos and artifacts as we talk about the 20th century mining of tungsten, quartz, fluorite and uranium.

On Wednesday, July 4 from 12 to 1 p.m., Ranger KC Curtis will present "Speleothems What a Deep Subject." Learn how cave formations grow deep underground. Join Ranger Curtis for interactive experiments and displays.

On Saturday, July 7 from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m., visitors can learn about
" Worms : Not Just for Bait." Ranger John Hawkins explains that worms are your friends (we're talking composting Egyptian red worms), and at the end of the program, you will be able to choose to participate in leaving the planet in as good or better condition than you found it.

On Saturday, July 14 from 1 to 1:45 p.m., come and join Ranger Susan Stucker on an adventure as she unveils the small world that lives inside our caves. Where did the animals come from that live inside Kartchner Caverns? What do they eat? Where does the food come from? How do they get around in the dark and why would they rather live inside a cave?

On Wednesday, July 18 from 1 to 1:45 p.m., Ranger Rachel McKay will present "Javelina Don't Call Me a Pig!" Where did the javelina come from? Why do they eat prickly pear cactus? Learn why they smell so bad. Whether you love them or see them as pests, come learn about the javelina and how they have adapted to life in the desert.

On Saturday, July 21 from 10 to 10:45 a.m., Ranger Emily Bennett will give you an up-close and personal look at a live, common desert snake as you learn more about its fascinating behavior and physiology.  Whether you love them or loathe them, join us for insights into the integral role snakes play in our desert ecosystem.

On Saturday, July 28 from 9 to 11 a.m., Ranger Mike Woods shows visitors how to use a map and compass. Getting from point A to point B isn't always as easy as it seems. Get your bearings in this two-hour class that teaches visitors how to use USGS topographic maps (7.5") and compasses. The class is presented in the hummingbird garden. If you have your own compass, bring it along; otherwise, we'll have some you can borrow for the exercises.

Remember it is much safer for visitors to book Kartchner Caverns State Park cave tours on the Internet or by phone before leaving for the park as there are only 100 walk-up tickets per day. Rotunda Tours are available for $18.95 for ages 14 and up and $9.95 for those aged 7 to 13 (children 6 and younger are free).

The park entrance fee is waived with a tour reservation made in advance. Reservations can be made by calling (520) 586-CAVE (2283) or online at www.azstateparks.com .

Kartchner Caverns State Park is located on Highway 90, nine miles South of I-10 near Benson , Ariz.   Park is open daily. Park hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Discovery Center hours are 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.