Rock Bridge Memorial State Park Interpretive Themes:
Important 2012 Connor's Cave Access Information:
Connor’s Cave is open to the general public from May 15 through Sept. 16 and to scheduled school groups from April 15 through Oct. 16. See Weekends on the Boardwalk and Programs Avalable for Groups below.
To help prevent the spread of white-nose syndrome, anyone who has been in another cave recently is asked to not enter Connor’s Cave. If it has been more than two months, entry may be made if not wearing or bringing in any item that was in another cave. This will help prevent the spread of white-nose syndrome, which does not harm people but has killed about five million bats in the Eastern United States and Canada.
To schedule a group tour or to learn more about Connor’s Cave, call the park office at 573-449-7402. For more information about white-nose syndrome, go tohttp://whitenosesyndrome.org/.Weekends on the Boardwalk – On certain weekend afternoons in June and July, the public is invited to walk to the Devil’s Icebox/Connor’s Cave entrance where volunteer naturalists will guide you into Connor’s Cave on 15 minute tours and answer questions. Flashlights and helmets will be provided. Come prepared to get your feet wet.
Programs Available for Groups of 15 or More People (school, civic, family, business):
Group leaders should call 573-449-7400 and speak with the park naturalist to make arrangements. A call is preferred over e-mail for discussing what best meets the needs of your group. For best results, call at least two months in advance and have two or three date options in mind.
Connor’s Cave TourGroups of 15 to 35 are guided on the half-mile Devil’s Icebox Trail and into Connor’s Cave.
- Connor's Cave is a wild cave about 150 ft. long with a stream flowing through it that is usually a few inches deep. There is space for walking upright except for a few feet where you will need to stoop.
- You will get your feet wet, experience a lights-out period and have the opportunity to see cave animals.
- Information is shared about geology, cave life and features along the trail.
- Time required is 1.75 hours (can be reduced if the information or the hike is reduced).
- Larger groups can usually be accommodated by dividing into multiple groups and staggering the tours. An option for very large groups is to move independently to three stations.
- If your group is not very large and you have additional time, you have the option to explore additional cave passages called the “Crevice Climb” and/or “Cave Cricket Crawl.”
- Connor's Cave Tours are not available Oct. 15 through April 15 because preventing disturbance to the hibernating bats will help them survive white nose syndrome (precautionary for whenever the disease may arrive in this area).
Habitats – Experience and learn about prairie, pond and forest habitats all within short walking distance.
Creek Discovery – Use small nets (provided) to catch aquatic animals in a shallow stream and learn about stream ecology.
Snake and Turtle Program – See, touch and learn about a live snake and turtle (depends upon availability of animals, usually available in spring).
Hikes – Distances, times and topics can be tailored to your group’s needs.
Activities – Several activities are available. An example is “Seeing with Sound” – a game where two are blindfolded within a circle of people and use shakers as the bat tries to tag the moth.
Portable Cave – This activity is conducted at your site, where you will need 20’x 20’ of floor space and electricity. Kids crawl into a big plastic blown-up “cave” and view an audio/visual program about bats or caves.
PowerPoint and other audio/visual programs – These programs can be conducted at your site or at the park’s meeting room (holds 25). Topics specific to the park:
- Devil’s Icebox Cave (geology, biology, tours)
- Devil’s Icebox Cave Life,
- The Chapters of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park (caves, ecosystems, history, recreation, etc.).
- Additional topics: bats, butterflies, frogs and toads, owls, spiders, snakes, prairies, Ozark glades, white nose syndrome, invasive plants, bird watching, Osage Indians and Missouri State Parks.
Programs Available to Individuals and Families:
Advertised programs - Those usually offered include wildflowers (spring), bats (summer) and others. Check the website’s “event” listing or send an e-mail to request to receive announcements.
Explorer Day Camp - Designed just for kids 9 to 11 years old, three days of nature activities during the summer enable participants to earn the Explorer patch. Activities include cave exploring, hiking, creek walks, nature programs and a service project. Check the website’s “event” listing or call 573-449-7400 in the spring for dates.Weekends on the Boardwalk – On certain weekend afternoons in June and July, the public is invited to walk to the Devil’s Icebox/Connor’s Cave entrance where volunteer naturalists will guide you into Connor’s Cave on 15 minute tours and answer questions. Flashlights and helmets will be provided. Come prepared to get your feet wet.
Rock Bridge 101 – Offered once every year or two, this introduction to everything Rock Bridge and more in-depth sessions scheduled later can be taken just for your information or to equip you to serve as a park volunteer. E-mail for more information.