Group FAQ - (Spring or Fall Groups)


  1. What type of clothing is recommended?
  2. What should I tell my students and chaperones about cave conduct?
  3. Does the weather affect the cave tours and gem panning?
  4. How many people can go into the cave on one tour?
  5. Should I pre-assign my participants into tour groups?
  6. What do we do once we have arrived?
  7. This is my first visit, should I make up a detailed timing schedule/itinerary for my visit?
  8. Can you provide me a exact timing spreadsheet of activities beforehand?
  9. Are there bathrooms before the tour?
  10. The number of visitors for my group has changed, what do I need to do?
  11. What items can be carried into the cave?
  12. Are cameras allowed into the cave?
  13. How many adults do we need to bring?
  14. What are the payment options for our visit?
  15. What do I need to do for my visit to be invoiced (pay after visit)?
  16. Can participants pay Crystal Cave directly?
  17. We are tax exempt in MN, why is there sales tax for us?
  18. Is our group tax exempt?
  19. What is the gem panning activity?
  20. What can students find in the gift store?
  21. Do you have a place for lunch?
  22. My group is planning bagged lunches at the cave, when will we eat lunch?

What type of clothing is recommended?

The cave temperature is 50F (10C). Jackets or sweatshirts and closed-toe shoes are recommended. In addition, you will be spending some time outside on the surface. Please be aware of the weather conditions on the surface and dress appropriately.

What should I tell my students and chaperones about cave conduct?

We ask that you and your students help us ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to Crystal Cave. Crystal Cave tour guides will interpret the cave environment for your group. The task of managing students' behavior is the responsibility of your staff and chaperones. As such, chaperones and staff are required to stay with students at all times. We expect that students will follow the same behavior guidelines expected of them at school. Inappropriate behavior may result in being denied admission or being asked to leave the cave

Does the weather affect the cave tours and gem panning?

No, the cave is fun rain or shine and is not affected by the weather. The gem panning sluice at Prospector's Creek® is covered and we also have a covered, but not heated , picnic pavilion for those less than perfect days. Please be aware of the weather conditions on the surface and dress appropriately.

How many people can go into the cave on one tour?

Our tour size is 20 people maximum per tour group. This number includes students, teachers, and other adults on the tour. There can be multiple tour groups in the cave.

Should I pre-assign my participants into tour groups?

Yes, pre-assigning will get your tours started more quickly and smoothly. You will meet your tour guides upon arrival and receive wristbands. Remember that our maximum is 20 people per tour group, this includes students, teachers, and chaperones.

Example A: 47 guests = 3 groups
The example group has 32 students, 5 teachers, 10 parents for a total of 47 guests. They will need to split into 3 groups. They might split up like this:
Group 1: 15 guests
Group 2: 16 guests
Group 3: 16 guests
The tour groups are about even and there is at least 1 adult with each tour group.

Example B: 40 guests = 2 groups
If, for example, you have 40 people, we would assign you into 2 groups.
Group 1: 20 guests
Group 2: 20 guests

What do we do once we have arrived?

Upon arrival, a staff member will meet you on your bus at the designated bus unloading area. Please be ready with an accurate count of students, adult chaperones, and teachers/staff visiting the cave (including adults who drive separately). Our staff member will review the visit and answer any questions.

This is my first visit, should I make up a detailed timing schedule/itinerary for my visit?

There is no need, we work with groups every day and have a system to make your visit as smooth and stress free as possible for you. Our Group Coordinator can answer any specific questions you might have before your visit.

Can you provide me an exact timing spreadsheet of activities beforehand?

The order and timing of various activities can change based on when you arrive, if other schools are visiting, if they were early,late, the outside weather, etc. The good news is that we do this all the time and we handle timing and flow so you don't have to

Are there bathrooms before the tour?

As part of the schedule here at Crystal Cave we make sure everyone has a chance to use the bathroom before the cave tour, it is part of the rotation of activities. When you first arrive and are getting organized, we ask that you do not head to the bathrooms, unless it is an emergency.

The number of visitors for my group has changed, what do I need to do?

Please let Crystal Cave know as soon as possible about any changes in group size, up or down, so we can make sure that we can accommodate a change in your group size.

What items can be carried into the cave?

We ask that all students' backpacks, lunches and drinks stay on the bus during the tour. Your staff and chaperones may carry, small purses, small bags, or medical backpacks on the tours if needed. Larger bags or anything you don't want to carry may be locked in our complimentary lockers before the tour. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know.

Are cameras allowed into the cave?

Cameras are allowed into Crystal Cave. It is up to your group to make the final decision if you wish to allow your students to have cameras in the cave. Some groups find that cameras can distract students from the cave tour. We do ask that only still photos are taken. Video and audio recording in the cave is not permitted.

How many adults do we need to bring?

We require at least 1 adult per tour group (1 per 19 students). You are welcome to have more adults on your field trip, there is no maximum. If you do not have enough adult staff, we must refuse admission to the cave for the tour groups that do not have a responsible adult, i.e. no tour groups without a staff member or chaperone.

What are the payment options for our visit?

We accept credit cards, cash, a school/organizational check, or you may pay after your visit (we can mail you an invoice). We are unable to accept personal checks.
Remember to have your field trip leader stop at our gift store ticket counter before your group departs Crystal Cave .
To receive the discounted group rate, you must pay for your visit with one payment, ie one check or one credit card transaction.
If you would prefer Crystal Cave to handle admission payment for each of your chaperones separately, we would be happy to do so, however they would be charged our regular public admission rates and would need to pay at the day of the visit, before the tour starts. (any major credit card or cash)

What do I need to do for my visit to be invoiced? (ie school mails a check after the visit)

On the day of your visit after your tours, stop by the gift shop ticket counter and we can assist you.

Can participants pay Crystal Cave directly?

To receive the discounted group rate, please pay for your entire party with one payment. Anyone in your group may pay separately, however they will not receive the discounted group rate.

We are tax exempt in MN, why is there sales tax for us?

Each state handles sales tax differently. If you are a public school from out of state (say from Minnesota) you must pay sales tax, even though you are exempt within the state of Minnesota. You (and us) are stuck in the middle of a tax fight between Wisconsin and neighboring states. Please see below for more detailed information on WI sales tax exemption eligibility.

Is our group tax exempt?

We are required by Wisconsin state law to charge sales tax for: MN public schools, public colleges, and public universities from Minnesota or any state other than Wisconsin. (even if you are exempt in your home state). [WI sales tax 5.5%] Please see the next paragraphs for a list of organizations that are exempt from Wisconsin sales tax.

Yes, tax exeempt for:
1) Tax exempt organizations registered in WI : We will need a copy of your WI tax exempt form AND CES number for our records. Please fax, 715-760-4449, or email, groups@acoolcave.org, your form to us. If we do not have a copy of your WI tax exempt form when your group visits we will have to add tax to your invoice.

2) Tax exempt (501-c-3) organizations registered in other states : we need a copy of your WI tax exempt form for our records. We can help you fill out this form, if needed. Please fax, 715-760-4449, or email, groups@acoolcave.org, your completed form to us. If we do not have a copy of your WI tax exempt form when your group visits we will have to add tax to your invoice.

3) WI Public Schools : We need a copy of your WI tax exempt form AND CES number for our records. Please fax, 715-760-4449, or email, groups@acoolcave.org, your form to us. If we do not have a copy of your WI tax exempt form when your group visits we will have to add tax to your invoice.

4) WI Private Schools (501-c-3) : We need a copy of your WI tax exempt form and CES number for our records. Please fax, 715-760-4449, or email, groups@acoolcave.org, your form to us. If we do not have a copy of your WI tax exempt form when your group visits we will have to add tax to your invoice.

5) MN and other state Private Schools (501-c-3): We need a copy of your WI tax exempt form. Your MN tax exempt certificte is not valid in Wisconsin but we can help you fill out the WI form if you have questions. Please fax, 715-760-4449, or email, groups@acoolcave.org, your WI Sales tax exemption form to us. If we do not have a copy of your WI tax exempt form when your group visits we will have to add tax to your invoice.

Please remember that The State of Wisconsin, not Crystal Cave, determine who is or is not charged sales tax. If your accounting department has any questions on sales tax in Wisconsin please have them contact us.

What is the gem panning activity?

Each student can pan for their own collection of gems and minerals at Prospector Creek®! A Crystal Cave staff member teaches your students to prospect at our water sluice and tells them about the gems they discover. This led activity takes about 10-15 minutes and is fun and educational for all ages! Each prospector receives one bag of ore mix to pan and one identification card to take home with their gems. We will gladly hold your group's gems until your departure home, so there is no need to carry them through the cave or during other activities on site

What can students find in the gift store?

The student-friendly gift store has a wide variety of educational items for students including rocks, minerals, fossils, bats and nature items starting as low as $1. We can store your students' purchases in individual bags, with their name written on the bags, during your visit. We do this so they do not have to worry about losing them before they get back to school. At the end of your visit we will give you all purchases and you can determine when you would like to hand the purchases out to your students.

Do you have a place for lunch?

Crystal Cave has designated picnic ground areas where groups can enjoy their packed lunches. There is a shaded outside area well as a covered pavilion. The pavilion is not heated. Please let us know if you plan on eating lunch on site.

My group is planning on having our bagged lunches at the cave, when will we eat lunch?

The time that your group is scheduled for your visit is the time that your tours will start. If you would like to eat before your tour you will need to arrive before your scheduled start time.
If you would like to arrive early to eat lunch before your tours, please let us know so we can meet you upon arrival.
The other option is to eat lunch after the tours. If you have questions about lunch timing please let us know, we would be happy to help.