To Offer Ranger-Guided Cave Tour Reservations
Custer, S.D. – After four years of serving visitors with only first come first serve ticket operations, Jewel Cave is once again taking reservations for some of its guided cave tours. Working in collaboration with Black Hills Central Reservations (BHCR), visitors are now able to purchase tickets in advance using an online method or through a call center.
Advanced ticket sales are for the Scenic Tour and are available for the tours scheduled on the hour starting at 10 a.m., such as 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., etc. Reservations can be made between 48 hours and 90 days prior to arrival. To make a reservation, visit www.blackhillsvacations.com or call (844) 245-6179. Tickets for same day tours or next day tours are available at the Monument on a first come first serve basis; however, these tickets are only available for the day of the tour. Superintendent Bonnie Schwartz states, “The current set-up allows for advanced ticket sales for visitors that want to plan their vacation activities in advance. Yet, a good portion of tickets remain available on-site for visitors that arrive throughout the day. We hope this arrangement will offer a more efficient visitor experience, as well as continuing to accommodate the expectations of our varied audiences.”
Due to increased summer visitation at the Monument, it is not uncommon for available first come first serve tours to sell out by mid to late morning. Long lines in the morning have been the norm, and in some cases, visitors have had to wait for their tour for up to three hours after purchasing tickets. Because of this, many visitors have requested reservation services to save time and to create a more positive visitor experience. With assistance from BHCR, the Monument is using the feedback from its guests to create an enhanced system. Susan Johnson, CEO of BHCR comments, “Our company prides itself with being able to provide our visitors with complete information and reservation services for our national parks, memorials, and monuments. We are thrilled to add Jewel Cave to our offers.”
Online reservations are available 24 hours each day. Reservations can be made wherever internet access is available, with purchases being made over a secure network. The call center is available every day throughout the year, with summer hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Schwartz further states, “With the vast majority of visitors using mobile devices, we expect online reservations to be the most popular option. We also realize that some visitors still enjoy talking with an agent, perhaps to ask some additional questions, so the call center is a great resource. The call center assistance by Black Hills Central Reservations makes for great personal customer service.” To offer more visibility, BHCR has included Jewel Cave on over 40 search engines in the Black Hills and across the state. This extended assistance through other attractions, lodging, chamber offices, and South Dakota Tourism allows visitors to connect with the Monument through a larger number of websites.
Tickets for the Discovery Talk and ever-popular Historic Lantern Tour are only available on-site. Wild Caving Tour reservations are still made by calling the visitor center directly at (605) 673-8300, due to very specific requirements for the participants. Visitors with Scenic Tour reservations are still encouraged to participate in other programs during their visit. The Monument offers a guided nature hike every day at 10 a.m., with interpretive patio talks every day at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. Combined with robust Junior Ranger and Pee Wee Ranger Programs, visitors of all ages can engage with park staff to learn more about the surface and sub-surface resources.
For additional information, please visit the Monument at www.nps.gov/jeca or contact the visitor center at (605) 673-8300. To learn even more about the daily happenings at Jewel Cave, visitors are encouraged to follow the Monument through social media at www.facebook.com/JewelCaveNPS or www.instagram.com/jewelcavenps.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.
Bradley Block, Chief of Interpretation
Jewel Cave National Monument