(Blue Mounds, WI): For a great, slightly out-of-town excursion, definitely check out Cave of the Mounds! This National Natural Landmark is an easy 26.5 miles from the center of Madison, a little closer if you’re southwest of Madison like we are. The drive itself, through rolling hills and verdant farm land, is one of my favorites in the area!

Location and Hours

2975 Cave of the Mounds Road – Blue Mounds, WI
Open 9 am to 5 pm daily (except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day)


  • Regular Admission (Ages 13+)…$18.95
  • Child Admission (Ages 4-12)…$10.95
  • Tot Admission (Ages 3 and under)…Free

Discovered accidentally in 1939, Cave of the Mounds is open to visitors for tours year-round, and the subterranean temperature is an always-stable 50°F. It feels balmy on a bleak winter day and refreshing in the heat of summer. 


Tours last approximately an hour, and you’ll marvel at the abundance of natural wonders! Friendly and knowledgeable staff showcase the fascinating history of the caves and point out everything notable. They’re also on hand to answer questions and assist visitors. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes! Flip-flops and high heels on slick cave pathways could spell disaster. 

One section is called the Narrows, and for good reason!

The cave is the main attraction, but the property also boasts scenic walking trails; gardens; a gift shop; a snack bar and beer garden (it IS Wisconsin); and fossil, gemstone, and geode activities. For an extra-special experience, contact them to host a meeting or a party, such as the birthday party we had there for our kids’ sixth birthday.

Sluicing for gemstones!
A huge quartz! Ten-year-old’s hand for scale.

While you’re in the area, some other ideas to keep the fun going include:

  • Blue Mounds State Park, featuring hiking trails, an observation tower, pool, AND splash pad 
  • Stewart Lake County Park for swimming and/or hiking
  • Donald County Park
  • Blue Mounds County Wildlife Area
  • Havens Petting Farm
  • The charming town of Mount Horeb (check out Grumpy Troll Brew Pub for lunch or dinner, Icki Sticki for ice cream and epic shaved ice, and Sjölinds Chocolate Factory for a chocolate and/or caffeine fix)
  • Botham Vineyards for tastings, the gift shop, or just ordering ahead to pick up delicious wine direct from the vineyard
  • Black Earth Children’s Museum
Cooling off with a swim at Stewart Lake County Park.
Admiring the view at Blue Mounds State Park.
Jenny is a Madison transplant from Winona, MN, with imaginative and talkative twin boys Cameron and Carson, born November 2010, and one very old kitten Arabella, born March 2003, and one very young kitten JoJo, born May 2018. Her husband is a Madison native and suckered her in to staying. She graduated in 2001 from the University of Minnesota-Duluth with a bachelor's degree in English Literature, currently working in financial services full-time and writing in her scant spare time when inspiration strikes. She tentatively blogs, with brutal honesty, on whippedcreamandkittens.com and frequently Instagrams. Besides whipped cream and kittens, she loves reading, writing, coffee, wine, cooking, traveling, movies, and spending time with family and close friends. Jenny is thrilled to be on the Madison Moms Blog team and happy to share her wacky and sarcastic tales of Madison momhood.


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