Wind Cave National Park Facts To Know Before You Make Your Next Trip! | Kidadl


Wind Cave National Park Facts To Know Before You Make Your Next Trip!

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The Wind Cave National Park was the first cave anywhere in the world to be given the title of a national park and is the third-longest cave in the US too!

The Wind Cave National Park is also the seventh national park of the United States. It was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903.

Roughly 95% of the world's discovered boxwork formations are found in the Wind Cave. The first discovery of the wind cave entrance was recorded to be in 1881 by two brothers, Tom and Jesse Bingham. These brothers were drawn to the cave by a strange whistling noise accompanied by the wind.

In the due course of time, many experts and scientists were able to determine that the wind and air flows in and out of the wind cave are due to a difference in air pressure inside the cave and the wind outside. A large cave like the Wind Cave, which has small openings, will only 'breathe' much louder than a small cave with large openings! Many American Indians and Native Americans, specifically the Lakota, who are indigenous people and live in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, consider it to be sacred and holy. During the late 1800s, it was found that the cave was not suitable for mining purposes, and so, landowners began to offer cave tours, and eventually, a hotel was built to attract visitors. These tours that were held earlier were physically demanding, and sometimes they had to crawl through the narrow passages. The Wind Cave National Park is located in southwestern South Dakota, in Cluster County.

The Wind Cave National Park's wildlife species and natural history are also quite popular among the common folk. The area of the national park has about 28,295 acres (11,450 ha) of pine forests and prairies and is home to a wide range of plant and animal species like elk, black-footed ferrets, prairie dogs, antelopes, wild turkeys, mule deer, and the prairie bison, or American buffalo.

Wind Cave National Park is particularly well-known for its dual preservation goals: for the conservation of its distinct mixed-grass prairie habitat and wildlife and for the protection of its cave system, for which it is named. The three levels that make up the wind cave system are situated in the upper part of the Mississippian Pahasapa Limestone. Sedimented in an inland sea, the deposits of chert, anhydrite lenses, and gypsum in the limestone are proof of high periods of evaporation.

By visiting the wind cave, you can do a number of fun activities with your family and friends, like going on hiking trails, nature trails, scenic drives, and bicycle riding! However, backcountry camping requires a free permit that you can get at the visitor center. There is no entrance fee for the Wind Cave National Park, but you will have to pay a small fee for the cave tours and cave exploration. There were so many wind cave explorations done by a large number of people between 1890-1903. The most famous one is the cave diary that was kept by Alvin McDonald, who fell in love with almost everything about the cave! Interestingly, the bison herd found at Wind Cave National Park is one of the only genetically pure and free-roaming herds in Northern America. The other three herds are said to be the Henry Mountains bison herds on Elk Island in Alberta, Canada, and in Utah.

Wind Cave National Park History

  • For many years, the Wind Cave National Park has been home to many different communities of individuals. Folktales will tell you that the American Indians in the area went around telling stories of a potential hole in the Black Hills that blows air.
  • Tipi rings located at the cave's entrance indicate that they would have very well known about the cave. The natural entrance was believed by the Native Indians to be the entrance to the spiritual world.
  • The cave was first noticed by two brothers named Tom Bingham and Jesse Bingham. They were the first ones to actually discover the cave! In 1881, they were riding their horses on a calm morning when, all of a sudden, they heard a loud whooshing sound that almost passed as a whistle.
  • Following the sound, they stumbled upon a hole in the ground, and when Jesse peeped into the hole, the wind knocked his hair right off! The tale of this strange experience spread like wildfire among the people living in that area. Finally, in 1892, the cave was finally open for visitors and tourists to explore its insides.

Wind Cave National Park Location

Wind Cave National Park is located in Cluster County in South Dakota in the United States of America.
  • The Wind Cave National Park is a 52,886 sq mi (136,974 sq km) park that is located in Cluster County in South Dakota in the United States of America.
  • You can find the park located 10 mi (16.09 km) away from Hot Springs.
  • The cave was given the title of a national park by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 and was the first cave in the United States to be given so!

Animals Present In Wind Cave National Park

  • Above the marvelous underground labyrinth from which the park got its name lies an unusual ecosystem that consists of elements from the ponderosa pine forests of the Black Hills and the mixed-grass prairie of the Western Great Plains.
  • As a result, the national park houses many plant and animal species that belong to unique geographical areas.
  • If you are a wildlife watching enthusiast, then you'd enjoy the great number of animal species you'd get to see at the Wind Cave National Park. It is an excellent destination for both park flora and fauna.
  • The kinds of animals you'd see at the national park are coyotes, elk, bison, mule deer, prairie dogs, black-footed ferrets, wild turkeys, several hawk species, silver-haired bats, mountain lions, porcupines, yellow-belly marmots, whitetail deer, and pronghorn. The Wind Cave National Park is also home to the highly-venomous prairie rattlesnake!

 Things To Do In Wind Cave National park

  • There are plenty of things you can do when you visit the Wind Cave National Park! You can see the largest natural entrance to the cave even without going on the tour.
  • The Lakota oral traditions claim that the first bison and humans to have walked on the earth emerged from this natural entrance.
  • You can go on hiking trails, and if you own a pet, they can tag along too. There are two pet-friendly trails that are located close to the visitor center and are precisely about 1 mi (1.6 km) in length. Furthermore, there are 30 other hiking trails that will lead you to some amazing views of the Black Hills.
  • You can enjoy the wildlife that this national park offers and observe a wide variety of animals in their natural environment.
  • There is something in store for the little ones too! Kids of all ages can become a Wild Cave Junior Ranger by completing the activity book they give you, learning about the park, and finally, by taking the pledge to earn a Junior Ranger badge!
Sharon Judith
Written By
Sharon Judith

<p>A humanities and Science student, Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a specialization in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology from Mount Carmel College and is currently pursuing her Master's in Science from Bournemouth University. She is passionate about research, content writing, and development, and has a keen interest in international finance and economics. With her strong analytical skills and inquisitive mind, she is always striving to deepen her knowledge and understanding of these subjects.</p>

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