Click on the Lesson Plans link to peruse our free lesson plans online or click on the appropriate link below to download directly.
Each extensive lesson plan includes experiments and activities for three age groups and worksheets as necessary. We hope you will find them a valuable tool to enhance your trip to the caverns. You will need Adobe Acrobat to open the files. If you don't already have Adobe Acrobat, click the "Get Adobe Acrobat" button to download this free software.
STATION 1: Cavern Tour
(available at all locations)
Each of our underground tours is very different, and requires different scheduling. Click on the following links just below to read descriptions of the school tours and each of our "station" activities available at each location, or scroll down to read about all of the "stations":
A unique and fun learning experience set in an unusual environment that makes for a great field trip|
A modular program divided into "Stations" that can be customized to suit your time schedule, group size and budget
Free school lesson plans with activities and projects developed for grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12 on "Cavern Geology," "Cavern Life," and "People and Caverns" available to download from this web site!
School discounts for tours - the lowest prices we offer to anyone!
No prepayment required and no cancellation fees!
Free chaperones - one free adult chaperone from your school per fifteen students
Gemstone mining discount (see prices link below) and a free gemstone mining postcard for each participating student
Free thank you gift for the teacher
Free return trip cavern tour coupon for each participating student
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Lunch can be a station in the rotation of students through multiple activities so each student is occupied at all times. Bring your picnic lunch to eat at our picnic tables, available at each location.
Call us to plan your next school field trip. We will be happy to assist you in determining the very best configuration of activities for your school group. Locally our number is 209-736-2708, or out of area, toll free 866-762-2837.
STATION 2: Gemstone Mining / Jr. Prospector
(available at all locations)
At the nearly 200-foot long flume system, students start with their own bag of mining "rough" that is guaranteed to contain lots of gemstones and minerals if you purchase the gem mining pack, or gold plated, copper nuggets if you purchase the Junior Prospector bag. Pouring it into a screen bottomed box, flowing water sifts out the dirt leaving the goodies behind. A display with samples of the 20 possible gemstones that can be found in the gem mining bags is available for students to compare and identify their finds. Each student gets a free postcard showing the same display. Gold Prospector bags can be panned out using a gold pan, or they can be filtered out using the screen bottomed box.
|STATION 3: Climbing Tower |
(available at Moaning Cavern Park only)
Our new, custom designed climbing tower is 32 feet high and includes climbing routes from beginner to challenging. It's suitable and fun for all age groups. The tower can accommodate 10 students at a time, and includes a belay system - just climb and then jump back for a smooth, automatic descent. Participants are geared up in climbing harnesses, then clipped on to the route of their choice. Routes include life-like rock features and overhangs, making it one of the most competitive climbing surfaces available today. Students get 2 climbs each.
|STATION 4: Visitor Center |
(available at each location)
Every one of our locations has a visitor center complete with historic displays and lots of great science and nature merchandise. Science kits, books, fossils, rocks, jewelry, nature merchandise and souvenirs are available at each location.
In addition, Black Chasm Cavern's gift shop includes dragon merchandise in honor of their dragon trademark. California Cavern's visitor center includes a massive, ancient cave bear skeleton fossil. Information on the history of the world's now extinct cave bears can be picked up at the cash register.
You will find that there are plenty of tempting goodies to be found at each location. Bring your spending money too - you can pick up great educational materials including kits, experiments and books.
|STATION 5: Gold Panning |
For school groups we generally do not recommend gold panning because it takes some practice to acquire the necessary skills, and the gold flakes that are panned out can be somewhat disappointing to children. This is why we recommend the Gold Prospector bag instead, which contains nice, chunky goodies like quartz and gold covered copper nuggets, which can either be panned or screened just like the gem mining bags. However, gold panning is available for more mature students upon request.
PBS kids science show DragonflyTV was shot at California Cavern and played nationwide in 2004. To see a slide show of the stars and the filming, click HERE. Click on the link below to see part of the episode.