Special events mark Kartchner's 10th - The Explorer: El Sol

Special events mark Kartchner's 10th

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Posted: Wednesday, November 4, 2009 12:00 am | Updated: 1:28 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

Governors, park rangers, cave experts, geologists, construction crews, bat biologists, legislators, and local leaders assisted in an 11-year effort to open Kartchner Caverns State Park.

Since then, the cave has been listed as one of the top 10 caves in the world because of the stunning array of delicate calcite formations found in its depths.

This Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 7-8, as part of its 10-year anniversary, Kartchner Caverns is holding hour-by-hour activities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cave tours are available for those who book in advance.

Visitors can learn microbiology from Dr. Raina Maier, cave paleontology and the history of the cave discovery from explorer Gary Tenen, and the "secret excitement of the discovery from Kartchner family members," a release said. There are workshops on bats, bobcats, mountain lions and rattlesnakes, as well as special desert interpretive walks.

A $5 park entrance fee is being waived for this event. To make a cave tour reservation, call (520) 586-2283 seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rotunda / Throne Room Tours are available for $18.95 for ages 14 and up and $9.95 for those aged 7 to 13. Children 6 and younger are free. Big Room tours are available for $22.95 for ages 14 and up and $12.95 for those aged 7 to 13. Children under age 7 are not permitted into the Big Room.

Kartchner Caverns State Park is located on Highway 90, nine miles south of I-10 near Benson. It has been estimated that more than 2 million people have been drawn to southeastern Arizona to visit the park, generating more than $12 million in economic impact dollars to Cochise County, the release said.

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