Posts Tagged ‘family fun’

Junior Naturalist Program

I have been called lots of names by my daughter. None of them have been mean so far. The ones that make me smile the most are, “Nature Detective Dad,” “Nature Tracker Dad,” and “Bird Watcher Dad.” It seems that she has signed me up for all of her nature clubs. We hike through the woods looking for animals, observing their behavior, following their tracks, and doing all sorts of other fun nature activities. She has learned a passion for nature through a variety of inputs, but I firmly believe that the most effective teaching methods we have used with her have been direct exposure to nature. While she does enjoy learning about nature through books and television shows, nothing compares to getting out there and getting her little shoes dirty.

The challenge for me as a father is to make sure I have enough information to share with her, she is learning at such an amazing rate that I have to study just to keep up with her questions. Thank goodness for a little something called Google.


At Lost River Cave, we have an even better resource to get kids learning about nature, and that is the Junior Naturalist Program. We schedule six classes throughout the year, starting in January, then every other month with the last session in November. Each class features a different aspect of the natural world. Topics this year include the water cycle, birdwatching, trees and wildflowers in the natural habitat, the insects, reptiles, and amphibians in the nature center at Lost River Cave, seasons and their effect on the natural habitat, and cave geology which features a wild caving trip for kids.

For full information on this program, visit our website at this link.

Writings on the Wall

Men at Lost River Cave when the dam was being built.

Lost River Cave Historical Photo

With over 600 known miles of cave passages networking their way through South-Central Kentucky, many residents of these areas are well aware of our unique underground. Even with this, massive subterranean caves in the region are still being forgotten and our children continue to grow up without ever experiencing this frontier. Perhaps this can be accounted to a lack of knowledge, or maybe you’re just not quite ready to shell out $150 for a headlamp that boasts a 200 lumen light… especially when you’re not even sure what the heck a lumen is. Regardless of the reason, caves remain a valuable, entertaining, and hands-on way to educate our children on a variety of topics ranging from safety to science, to interpretive storytelling.

Every cave has a story to tell, from the writings on the wall, to the way the carbonic acid carved its way through the soluble bedrock; and nearly every caver will agree it is a major reason to venture into the dark (with at least three sources of light of course).  Did you know over a dozen names of both Confederate and Union soldiers are written on the cave walls with smoke at Lost River Cave? All of these soldiers called the Lost River Valley home during their respective encampments. Of course, this is merely a speck of Lost River Cave’s timeline that has spanned hundreds of thousands of years.

With so much raw maturity, it’s no wonder why caves remain such a beautiful and fragile environment. For many first time cavers, simply seeing this maturity from an up-close perspective is enough to instill a genuinely profound, lasting respect for the natural world which, as you can imagine, truly helps in our conservation efforts of these karst features.

Rewind to the days of oil lanterns and manila rope, when the excitement of caving lay in the thrill of discovery. When early guides like Stephen Bishop, who discovered most of what is today Mammoth Cave, would spend days at a time traversing passages, that back then, had more than likely never seen a footstep.  It’s what keeps cavers coming back; the thought that, at any point, only a handful of people have ever witnessed the same jaw-dropping formation.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way advocating throwing on an old pair of Levis, grabbing the closest BIC lighter and taking to the underground. Proper caving requires much more organization and planning. There’s equipment to gather, people to inform, batteries to check, and maps to read. All of which can result in a serious headache for the under-experienced. Then, there’s the final issue of tracking down a knowledgeable guide. This has to be someone who’s undoubtedly familiar with the cave and knows the challenges the group may face (I say ‘group’ because a general rule is to never go caving in groups of less than three

Kid's Discovery Cave Crawl

Now, beginning April 14, Lost River Cave can help your children ‘dig deeper’ into this environment by way of our new Kid’s Discovery Cave Crawl. This tour is designed for children ages 6-12. It not only gives children an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Civil War soldiers and famed speleo-explorers while learning safe caving practices, but also allows them the chance to fulfill one of their earliest fascinations… to get dirty. And by dirty, we mean REALLY DIRTY!


Guest Writer

Outdoor Adventure Journalist, Danny Dresser

Annie Holt – Nonformal EE Certification Program

Congratulations to our Park Naturalist, Annie Holt, who recently became one of the 2012 graduates of the Nonformal EE Certification program.

The Kentucky Environmental Education Council (KEEC) is a state agency within the Education Cabinet. One opportunity it offers is an annual Nonformal EE Certification program. The course work includes debates and research papers over prominent environmental topics, in addition to tests over theory and practice of environmental education techniques.

In reflection, Holt said, “It was very challenging, stressful at times, but fun. In the end I was very proud of what I was able to bring into our programming at Lost River Cave.”

We are so proud of what Holt has accomplished to forward our mission as well as provide schools and families with fun and educational programs.


Annie Holt

2012 Graduating Class

8th Annual Earth Day Invasive Plant Pull

It’s time to root out and destroy pesky plant invaders with at the 8th Annual Invasive Plant Pull!  In celebration of Earth Day, Lost River Cave and Valley invites you to spend an afternoon to help re-invigorate the valley floor, on Saturday, April, 23th from 1:00PM – 4:00PM. Bring your entire family and join other community members as they band together in an attempt to eradicate invasive plants from the Lost River Valley.

Pre-register so we can plan a plant plot for you to help pull pesky plants from the valley. Early-bird registrants will receive free Invasive Plant Pull t-shirts, Free Boat Tours, Door Prizes, and Gift Shop Discounts.  Volunteers can pre-register by visiting us online at to download the application. Applications can also be picked up at Lost River Cave and Valley located at 2818 Nashville Road in Bowling Green, KY or calling us at 270-393-0077.

The Invasive Plant Pull is an annual event at Lost River Cave & Valley offering individuals a chance to gain volunteer experience while teaching you to detect invasive plant species wherever you see them. With your help Lost River will one day be rid of the pesky sprouts that run rampantly over the 25-acre valley floor. Clearing plants like winter creeper and privet is easy work that provides much needed elbow room for our long suffering native plants. Your handiwork will be rewarded when you see that sunshine, rain and nutrients are helping to re-invigorate the forest floor with a carpet of ferns and native flowers that provide food and shelter for the valley’s native and migrating animals.


FRIENDS OF LOST RIVER is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The organization is committed to environmental education, community building, and natural resource preservation. Lost River Cave has been visited by travelers from all over the world who come to experience Kentucky’s Only Underground Boat Tour.

Butterflies Flutter at Lost River Cave

One of the most unique features of the wooded, 70-acre valley at Lost River Cave is the Charlie Miller Butterfly Habitat.

Photo courtesy of Laura Kissinger

This gem, located approximately a quarter of a mile down the Blue Hole Trails, is the only butterfly habit open on an annual basis in the commonwealth of Kentucky. Make a special trip to witness hundreds of native Kentucky butterflies flutter around you as they land on specially selected vegetation.

During the months between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the habitat is open everyday from 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. at no charge for guests.

On Sunday, June 27th, the annual butterfly celebration will take place! From 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. children will be able to release their very own butterfly into the habitat. Other activities include face painting, a butterfly talk, and the ability to walk around and enjoy the park.

Your children will be amazed as they take a butterfly into their hands and watch it fly away. The heat from the sun and the oxygen from the air give the butterfly the lift that it needs to soar through the habitat.

Many different types of butterflies fly around the habitat everyday including, painted ladies, monarchs, black swallowtails, red admirals, morning cloaks, gulf fritallry, and giant swallowtails.

Can you find all of them?

We hope to see you this Sunday at the Butterfly Habitat at 1 p.m.!

Laura Kissinger Designs