There’s something about caves that’s appealing, maybe even irresistible, to kids and many adults. Maybe because they’re mysterious (Scooby Doo and the gang solve their best mysteries in caves) or make great hide-outs (Think, Pete’s Dragon) or maybe it’s because they make great field trip destinations (I might be biased).
- They’re cool
- Kids love an excuse to use a flashlight
- It’s a great opportunity to talk about glaciers, spelunking, geology, bats
- There are lots of steps or ladders; you might actually wear out your kids and get them to take a nap!
Happily, there are two family-friendly cave sites less than an hour from Green Bay.
Ledge View Nature Center and Caves
Ledge View Park Nature Center and Caves is near Chilton in Calumet County, just about 40 minutes away. There are two caves: Carolyn’s Cave and Mothers Cave. The Mothers Cave tour is all crawling. Tours are about $6-$7 per person. There’s plenty to do before or after a tour of one of the caves:
- Climb the observation tower
- Immerse yourselves in the Nature Center
- Take a hike (or a stroll) on the hiking trails
- Checkout the rain, butterfly, and hummingbird gardens
We especially enjoyed the Halloween candlelit cave tour. You can find all the details on their website.
Cherney Maribel Caves Park
The Maribel Caves are in Manitowoc County, about 30 minutes from Green Bay. This was a favorite of mine as a child. My brother and I explored the caves and scrambled all over the rocks. We had just as much fun playing on the trails and along the river, and of course, running up and down the stairs.
Some caves are open during park hours without a guide. A few are open only for guided tours. Guided tours are listed on their website. Tours can also be scheduled for groups.
Other things to see and do:
- Walk across bridge, maybe toss a few sticks or leaves in to watch them float under it and beyond
- See if there’s any wildlife hanging around the pond
- Walk along the river or take a hike along one of the other trails
- Play on the playground
- Have a picnic
Thankfully these aren’t the kind of caves where Goonies-type mishaps happen. Nope, these are the kind of caves where warm family (possibly funny) memories are made. Who knows? You might just want to explore more Wisconsin caves.