Benson, Arizona 85602Official Website
Summer Hours (June 1 – Oct. 31): Gate Hours 6 am – 10 pm,
Discovery Center hours 9 am – 5 pm.
Winter and Spring Hours (November 1 – May 31): Discovery Center Hours 8 am – 5 pm. The gate hours do not change. The Discovery Center is closed half-day on Thanksgiving & December 24, and all day on December 25. The campgrounds are open year-round.
Visitors to Kartchner Caverns find that the Discovery Center is well-named. Caves are mysterious and unfamiliar to humans. These dark places raise many questions. Numerous interactive displays in the museum give visitors the opportunity to discover the answers for themselves.
Introductory panels in the geology exhibits show how caves form, why the formations look as they do, and the location of other caves. Other displays are specific to Kartchner Caverns, one of the most-studied public caves. It ranks in the top ten caves worldwide for its unique mineralogy. Here you can touch local rock types. A cut-away view of the cave hill highlights some major features and tour routes at the touch of a button. Take a virtual tour of some of the cave’s most prominent formations at the Underground Journey exhibit. The hands-on hydrology display allows visitors to follow water underground, usually hidden from our view, and shows why water is essential to the cavern remaining a “living” cave.
Though geology is the focus of many of the museum displays, exhibits also showcase cave and surface ecology, paleontology, archaeology, and history. The cave ecosystem is dependent upon a summer colony of cave myotis bats. Their guano nurtures a miniature world of amazing creatures. Explore the regional displays to educate yourself on the area’s plants, animals, and other attractions found aboveground. Paleontological studies inspired displays describing the area’s distant past. Bones, many from extinct animals, were discovered during the caverns’ development. Evidence of human habitation on the park property is also displayed.
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