Science Museum Oklahoma, Oklahoma City

Visitors loved this awesome free event at SMO from 9AM-6PM!  Thank you to SMO for making this event possible.


The Hall family having a great time exploring CaveSim.  Photos by Amy Hall.

Grove School District programs, Grove OK

This was our second year doing programs for students in the Grove Public School District.  This year, we expanded our program beyond Elementary School and we worked with older students as well.  A huge thanks to caver and teacher Deitra Biely for making this 5-day program happen!

Dave at home preparing Petri dishes with agar for our high school biology lab about cave biota. During the lab at Grove High School, a student asked his teacher, “Why can’t we do this kind of thing in biology class?” to which Dave replied, “This IS biology class!”  Student: “Oh, right!”  Photo by Tracy Jackson. 


Left: Dave and Pat demonstrate rappelling and ascending on the new tower. Right: caver Brent Biely having fun in the squeezebox during the after-school program. Photos: Paul Schwotzer.


Left: High school biology students explore CaveSim and look for cave biota. Right: Dave teaching knots. Photos by Paul Schwotzer.


High school students learn Single Rope Techniques (ascending) on our new tower.  These students volunteered with us later in the week by teaching the 3rd graders all about bats. Photos by Paul Schwotzer.

Legacy Academy, Elizabeth CO

About 54 fifth graders had an incredible time learning all about caves, science, engineering, teamwork, and more at six different stations during this four-hour program.  We had incredible help from five parent volunteers and two CaveSim educators (great job teaching geology, Tracy and Paul!)

Big Cool Science Festival, Colorado College

Colorado College is Tracy’s alma mater and the site of our first CaveSim school program back in 2010.  We had great turnout and awesome weather for this fun free public event.

Tracy, holding vertical caving gear, and Bob Colloply (former student of Dick Blenz, our biggest supporter)

Spring Break Camp, CaveSim at CityROCK

We had strong turnout for the 5-day Spring Break Vertical Caving Camp in the CaveSim system at CityROCK Climbing Gym in Colorado Springs.  The Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper came and took some great pictures of our participants learning to ascend in the 40′ vertical cave.

While ascending 40′, Merrick waves through a window from the vertical cave to the children’s playroom. Photo by Mark Reis, The Colorado Springs Gazette.

Lake George Charter School Science Night

In addition to bringing CaveSim to this school-wide event, Dave was the keynote speaker and spoke from personal experience about caves, science, engineering, and cave rescue.  CaveSim was hugely popular, with families staying beyond the end of the event so that they could try exploring the cave.

Students learn about the similarities and differences between bat and human skeletal structures. Photos by Lake George staff. Student photo permissions on file with school.

A student about to enter CaveSim. Watch out for those speleothems!

Students adjust the squeezebox, which teaches measurement science and shows the students their personal limits (it’s like the limbo, but for caving!)

Dave teaching cave science (speleology) while students wait in line to use CaveSim.

Dave calls on students during the keynote speech.

Patriot Elementary School STEM Night

We had fantastic turnout at this great Patriot Elementary School STEM event for the second year in a row!  Even the teachers and staff had fun:

Photo by Cara Greene, Patriot Elementary School STEM Coordinator.

The Colorado Springs School, Spring Hackathon Seminar

What an incredible program! Students in grades 6-8 learned basic circuits, programmed microcontrollers, and built cave-proof electronics projects. They got to test their projects in a giant bucket of muddy cave water, and then bring the projects down to CityROCK to try them in the CaveSim system there.  Not only that, but each student got to rappel into the cave, and everyone got a behind-the-scenes tour of the system and the associated electronics.

     Learning soldering (left) and “Look at what I built! It works!”  All photos in this post by CSS staff.

     Left: Dave helps a student debug his circuit.  Right: Building a circuit with a computer chip!

   Left: Students work on their circuits. They also learned computer programming by writing code for their computer chips. Center: caver Patricia Malone helps a student. Right: Learning to use power tools to drill holes in a container for a waterproof flashlight.

   Left: Reviewing a design by talking with Dave. Right: Circuits are for girls!

Please buy from our generous NEW sponsor

Because cavers love a nice warm tub, and every tub needs a replacement cover at some point!  The Cover Guy has everything you need for your tub: hot tub covers, lifters, hot tub filters, chemicals, and accessories.  Plus, they have a great blog.

Kartchner Caverns Cave Fest

We had great turnout for our third visit to Kartchner Caverns in Arizona.  Check out our event flier to see all of the activities we did over a 2-day period.  A huge thank-you to cavers Teresa and Hanna for helping.


A caver from one of the Tucson grottos explores CaveSim. Photo: Dave Jackson


Belinda Norby, a caver from Tucson, takes pictures of her friend, who was visible on the CaveSim night vision cameras. Photo: Dave Jackson.

Winter Break Caving Camp at The Cave at CityROCK Climbing Center

Campers ages 8-16 learned rappelling and ascending in our CaveSim system at CityROCK climbing gym. The campers made the most of their winter break, and had a great time — our quote of the week: “Mom, this was the best camp ever. I want to come back and do it again,” James, age 8.

Ellen learns to rappel using a rack in the 40′ pit entrance of CaveSim at CityROCK. Photo: Dave Jackson

James learns to rappel on the climbing walls before rappelling in CaveSim.  Photo: Gill Gilliland.


On June 25th, 2016 we opened this amazing new cave to the public. Come explore over 225′ of highly realistic water-carved passage, including a 40′ rappel / ascent. Try not to bump into any of the 50+ beautiful cave formations, and compete with friends using the computer system.  More cave passage coming soon!

Carson Middle School STEM Night

Many middle school students explored CaveSim (some as many as 7 times!) despite freezing temperatures and snow (this was definitely our coldest program on record).  A big thanks to Lydia and James for helping us with this event, which ran from 4-6PM.

Pikes Peak Council Boy Scout Family Campout

This completely free event was made possible by our generous sponsors Barb Bentzin and Bob Montgomery.  Hundreds of Scouts and their families explored CaveSim and did our many other activities.


Left: Dave teaches about gypsum flowers. Right: Waiting to explore.

CoolScience Festival

Over 300 people visited our mobile CaveSim system at this great free public event. This was our sixth year in a row attending CoolScience!  Please visit us next year on the UCCS West Lawn (WL).

Parents watch their kids on the night-vision cameras. Photo: Dave Jackson.

Dave talks with participants about our new cave simulator at CityROCK. Photo: Jim Taylor.

Dave teaches cave conservation as kids and adults wait to try CaveSim. The cave model was by 4th and 5th grade students in a Catamount Institute YES Club. Photo: Jim Taylor.

CaveSim awarded second patent

We are excited to report that CaveSim is now covered by a second patent, US 9,399,178 B1.  We’re always innovating and working hard to bring novel solutions to the problem of cave conservation education.

NSS Convention, Ely, NV

Local kids learn about cave conservation while waiting to explore CaveSim at a free event in Ely, NV before the 2016 NSS Convention. Photo by Chris Hanefeld, BLM.

A child finishes exploring CaveSim during the free public event in Ely before the 2016 NSS Convention. Photo by Chris Hanefeld, BLM.

CaveSim at the 75th Anniversary NSS Convention is funded by grants from Nevada Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Great Basin Heritage Area Partnership.


Additional sponsorship is provided by: