(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.
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.
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