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I'm Terri. I took my kids to all 50 states and I want to help you achieve the same goal. Learn more...

South Dakota – Jewel Cave National Monument

Touch the jewels at Jewel Cave

Perhaps Jewel Cave National Monument doesn’t sound very impressive. After all, it’s just a National Monument, not at National Park, right? Wrong. Jewel Cave is the third longest known cave system in the world. And the key word in that sentence is “known.” New passages of Jewel Cave are still being discovered and mapped. Once it’s all mapped, it quite possibly could turn out to be the world’s longest cave. Scientists have estimated the volume of the cave using airflow studies. They measure how much air the caves exhales when the outside pressure drops and vice versa. The parts of […]

South Dakota – Wind Cave National Park

Wind Cave National Park Sign

I love South Dakota’s Black Hills region for all of its natural beauty, and not only is there gorgeous scenery above ground; there’s even more to be discovered below ground. As with most national parks, the place to start is the visitor center.

One word of caution: the park’s website warns you not to trust your GPS to find the visitor center. The website has a map and directions. I am one of those people who tends to trust my GPS too much, and it has gotten me into trouble more than once, so I wanted to point that […]

California – Lava Beds National Monument

Smaller lava tube at Lava Beds NM

We recently returned from a road trip during which we saw almost a dozen national parks, and you know what? My kids kept talking about one of the parks that we visited almost a year ago, one that I hadn’t yet written about. And, technically, it isn’t a national park–it’s a national monument–but that doesn’t really matter. I’m going to dub Lava Beds National Monument “The Best National Park You’ve Never Heard Of”.

Lava Beds National Monument is located in the far northern part of California, near the Oregon border. It sits on top of the massive Medicine Lake […]