Rock Bridge Memorial State Park Interpretive Themes:
Important Connor's Cave Access Information:
Connor’s Cave is open to the general public from May 15 through Sept. 16 and to scheduled school groups from April 15 through Oct. 16. See “Weekends on the Boardwalk” and programs available for groups below.
To schedule a group tour or to learn more about Connor’s Cave, call the park office at 573-449-7402.
Weekends on the Boardwalk – On certain weekend afternoons in the summer, the public is invited to walk to the Devil’s Icebox/Connor’s Cave entrance where volunteer naturalists will guide you into Connor’s Cave on 15 minute tours and answer questions. Flashlights and helmets will be provided. Come prepared to get your feet wet. Visit http://www.mostateparks.com/events/park/rock-bridge-memorial-state-park for individual event listings.
Please help us protect Missouri’s bats: White-nose syndrome, a fungus that is fatal to bats but does not affect humans, is found throughout the eastern United States and Canada. The name describes a fuzzy white fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which typically appears on the faces and wings of infected bats. This serious wildlife issue was first detected in Missouri in 2010, and bats with the disease were discovered in several Missouri caves by 2014.
There are precautions you can take to minimize the potential spreading of white-nose syndrome in Missouri. Please do not wear the same clothing, footwear, accessories or equipment that has been in any other cave and follow these same guidelines when visiting other caves. If you want to help us protect bats, remember that twice is too much when it comes to what you bring into a cave!
For more information about white-nose syndrome, go to http://whitenosesyndrome.org/.
Programs Available for Groups of 15 or More People (school, civic, family, business):
Group leaders should call 573-449-7400 and speak with the park naturalist to make arrangements. A call is preferred over e-mail for discussing what best meets the needs of your group. For best results, call at least two months in advance and have two or three date options in mind.
Connor’s Cave TourGroups of 15 to 35 are guided on the half-mile Devil’s Icebox Trail and into Connor’s Cave.
- Connor's Cave is a wild cave about 150 ft. long with a stream flowing through it that is usually a few inches deep. There is space for walking upright except for a few feet where you will need to stoop.
- You will get your feet wet, experience a lights-out period and have the opportunity to see cave animals.
- Information is shared about geology, cave life and features along the trail.
- Time required is 1.75 hours (can be reduced if the information or the hike is reduced).
- Larger groups can usually be accommodated by dividing into multiple groups and staggering the tours. An option for very large groups is to move independently to three stations.
- If your group is not very large and you have additional time, you have the option to explore additional cave passages called the “Crevice Climb” and/or “Cave Cricket Crawl.”
- Connor's Cave Tours are not available Oct. 15 through April 15 because preventing disturbance to the hibernating bats will help them survive white nose syndrome (precautionary for whenever the disease may arrive in this area).
Habitats – Experience and learn about prairie, pond and forest habitats all within short walking distance.
Creek Discovery – Use small nets (provided) to catch aquatic animals in a shallow stream and learn about stream ecology.
Snake and Turtle Program – See, touch and learn about a live snake and turtle (depends upon availability of animals, usually available in spring).
Hikes – Distances, times and topics can be tailored to your group’s needs.
Activities – Several activities are available. An example is “Seeing with Sound” – a game where two are blindfolded within a circle of people and use shakers as the bat tries to tag the moth.
Portable Cave – This activity is conducted at your site, where you will need 20’x 20’ of floor space and electricity. Kids crawl into a big plastic blown-up “cave” and view an audio/visual program about bats or caves.
PowerPoint and other audio/visual programs – These programs can be conducted at your site or at the park’s meeting room (holds 25). Topics specific to the park:
- Devil’s Icebox Cave (geology, biology, tours)
- Devil’s Icebox Cave Life,
- The Chapters of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park (caves, ecosystems, history, recreation, etc.).
- Additional topics: bats, butterflies, frogs and toads, owls, spiders, snakes, prairies, Ozark glades, white nose syndrome, invasive plants, bird watching, Osage Indians and Missouri State Parks.
Programs Available to Individuals and Families:
Advertised programs - Those usually offered include wildflowers (spring), bats (summer) and others. Check the website’s “event” listing or send an e-mail to request to receive announcements.
Explorer Day Camp - Designed just for kids 9 to 11 years old, three days of nature activities during the summer enable participants to earn the Explorer patch. Activities include cave exploring, hiking, creek walks, nature programs and a service project. Check the website’s “event” listing or call 573-449-7400 in the spring for dates.Weekends on the Boardwalk – On certain weekend afternoons in June and July, the public is invited to walk to the Devil’s Icebox/Connor’s Cave entrance where volunteer naturalists will guide you into Connor’s Cave on 15 minute tours and answer questions. Flashlights and helmets will be provided. Come prepared to get your feet wet.
Rock Bridge 101 – Offered once every year or two, this introduction to everything Rock Bridge and more in-depth sessions scheduled later can be taken just for your information or to equip you to serve as a park volunteer. E-mail for more information.
Devil's Icebox Wild Cave Tours
The Devil's Icebox wild cave tours have been suspended until further notice to protect the bats within Devil's Icebox Cave from white nose syndrome, caused by a fungus that affects bats but not humans. For more information about Devil's Icebox Cave, call the park office at 573-449-7402. For more information about the disease, go to http://whitenosesyndrome.org/.