Hidden River Cave Educational Programs

The nonprofit American Cave Conservation Association (ACCA) operates Hidden River Cave and the American Cave Museum as part of our educational initiative to support the protection of caves, karstlands, and groundwater resources.

Educational Programs

Education programs are developed according to the curriculum guidelines of the State of Kentucky. Programming can be adjusted to meet the needs and standards for civic organizations interested in participating.

Please email Annie Holt, Education Director or call: (270) 786-1466 for reservations, our fee schedule and additional information.

Download PDFDownload the Hidden River Cave Educational Programs Brochure

Cave Creatures

1 hour – Grades 3-12
Adaptations of cave organisms teach children about how the environment can alter the behavior, physiology, and chemical response of organisms that visit, live in, and depend on the cave environment. Upon learning how to identify these adaptations, teams of students work together to determine in what category cave organism fit in based on their level of adaptations.

Download PDFDownload “Cave Creatures” Info. Sheet

cave creatures-Hidden River Cave education
Hidden River Cave Educational Programs-Earth Ingredients

Earth Ingredients

1 hour – Grades 3-6
Students learn how rocks indicate landscape changes over time, how minerals are the building blocks of rocks, and the 3 types of rock. After learning about physical and chemical properties, students use hands-on methods and complete 3 tests to determine the name of 3 unknown minerals.

Download PDFDownload “Earth Ingredients” Info. Sheet

Dirty Water

1 hour – Grades 3-12
In this program students compare different scenarios to determine the best method of preventing soil erosion into the water system. They will do this by measuring the percent of water absorbed, and the conductivity and total dissolved solids of the outflow.

Download PDFDownload “Dirty Water” Info. Sheet

Hidden River Cave Educational Programs-Dirty Water
Hidden River Cave Educational Programs-water quality

Water Quality

2 hours – Grades 3-12
With the use of a simulated community, students learn of sources of pollution and possible solutions. Then examine water quality by measuring indicators such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, total dissolved solids, and conductivity while comparing results from 3 different water sources. Students also learn about how macroinvertabrates can act as indicators. Through a role-playing game students experience how water quality changes can affect the biodiversity of a healthy stream.

Download PDFDownload “Water Quality” Info. Sheet

Where Does All the Pollution Go?

1 hour – Grades 3-12
We all live in a watershed. All watersheds are exposed to pollution. In this program students learn of nonpoint pollution sources and possible solutions to these problems. Afterwards, they learn about the extent pollution can have on nearby waters by delineating watersheds.

Download PDFDownload “Where Does All The Pollution Go” Info. Sheet

Hidden River Cave Educational Programs-Where Does All The Pollution Go
Hidden River Cave Educational Programs-Eco Engineers

Eco Engineers

2 hours – Grades 4-12
Students learn how fragile the environment in a karst area is by recognizing sources of karst hazards. They will learn about investigation techniques (including resulting data) and possible solutions. Teams of students will then be given an industrial site scenario in which they have to recognize karst hazards by interpreting data and then determine a solution. After reviewing the costs to implement their solutions, students will compare whose scenario is successful and cost efficient.

Download PDFDownload “Eco Engineers” Info. Sheet

Guided Cave Tour

1 hour
Go underground and join us in Hidden River Cave! A knowledgeable Guide will lead your students on an hour long tour. Explore the cave, learning about the history of Horse Cave, groundwater quality, geology, ecology, and the amazing story of the cave’s rescue!

Hidden River Cave Educational Programs-Guided Cave Tour
Hidden River Cave Educational-Programs-Immersion Off Trail Tour

Immersion Off Trail Guided Tour

2 hours 
This 2-hour immersive experience takes the students off the trail system and introduces them to wild side of the cave! With helmets and headlamps, students crawl and climb as they explore the geology and ecology up-close.

Other Experiences:

The American Cave Museum:

Students wander through this museum as they learn about the Karst geology, groundwater quality, the history of caving, archaeological discoveries, cave wildlife, and cave formations. Knowledgeable guides will be present to answer questions.

Gem Mining:

A fun and entertaining activity, gem mining can provide students with not only a great souvenir, but a tool to practice mineral identification back in the classroom with a visual ID guide.

Gift Shop:

Provide the students with an experience in money management with a trip to the gift shop. Our store boasts Kentucky souvenirs, fossils, minerals and gemstones of all sizes, t-shirts, toys, books, and more!

Facility Amenities:

■ Covered picnic area with restrooms
■ Playground
■ Ample bus Parking

Hidden River Cave & The American Cave Museum are operated by the American Cave Conservation Association,

A National 501 (c) 3 Nonprofit Organization.

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