WKU Student Benefits!

Tours!-Must show student ID at the Gift Shop when purchasing tickets!

       Cave Boat Tour – $10 Boat Tour Year Round!- We offer the Cave Boat Tour all year round, 7-days a week.          

Ziplines- $10 off the Flying Squirrel Zipline Tours! Click below for availability!


Gift Shop!

All WKU Students will receive $10 off $30 in the Gift Shop! (Must show Student ID) 


Nature Progam- Natural Dyeing Class

November 10

Upcoming Events!

Yoga at the Cave-September 19

Scarecrow Trail- October 1-31

Camping at the Cave-October 19

Reindeer Encounter-December 7,8

Volunteer Opportunities for Individuals and Groups!

Call or Email Chad to schedule your group or club volunteer activity! 270-393-0077 chadwick@lostrivercave.org

Volunteer Application

Lost River Cave and WKU’s History

In 1986, the cave entrance and the 25-acre valley was donated to Western Kentucky University by WKU professor Dr. Raymond Cravens and WKU Physical Plant Administrator Owen Lawson. The donation served as the springboard for the restoration and preservation of Lost River Cave and the surrounding natural environment. Starting in the mid-1980’s, WKU faculty and students contributed significantly to the conservation and preservation of this important historical site. They helped revitalize the valley, purchased monitoring equipment, began environmental instruction and worked to preserve the natural resources. Today, WKU faculty and students utilize the cave valley to study:
  • Karst Topography
  • Hydrology
  • Civil Engineering
  • Biology
  • Botany
  • Weather
  • Non-profit Management
  • Professional Development
  • Environmental Conservation
Incorporated in 1990, The Friends of the Lost River was organized to provide stability for the restoration work and research. A 99-year lease on the 25-acre valley is the foundation of the partnership between the Friends organization and WKU. Throughout the years, Lost River Cave has served as an educational laboratory for faculty and students and prioritizes the hiring of WKU graduates, interns, and student workers to fill its full-time and seasonal staff positions.
The 25-acre valley, owned by WKU, provides a natural environment for field-research. Students from WKU’s Department of Geology and Geography are most commonly found taking advantage of its natural features. WKU researchers have investigated subjects such as hydrology, karst biology, and karst engineering. Their findings have had implications for public health and public standards. In addition, global connections have been fostered through research at the cave. In 2012, a UNESCO research team worked with WKU to facilitate research (Research) at the park, and other caves in karst region, that would develop standard operating procedures for measuring atmospheric CO2 consumption. Today, there are multiple site-based studies being conducted on the property owned by WKU at Lost River Cave. One on-going study is examining permanent mineral erosion. The findings of this study could inform researchers and conservationists of possible reasons for erosion like waterborne pollutants and climate change, explaining changes in karst topography. Another study is investigating how commercial development in a karst region impacts the underlying ecosystem.
Service is the foundational cornerstone of the WKU-Lost River Cave partnership. For the past 35 years, WKU volunteers have contributed thousands of hours to make the valley the urban sanctuary it is today. Students and faculty who volunteer at the park practice social responsibility, while engaging with the community and nature. Their efforts not only benefit the park, the environment and visitors from around the world, but help protect Lost River Cave’s natural and historical resources. Big Red Blitz, the first volunteer event of the school year, invites incoming WKU students to participate in an invasive plant pull. Students with the Gatton Academy, WKU Forensics team, and the School of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport volunteer regularly at the cave.
Lost River Cave offers a unique opportunity for students to become engaged with nature, providing a more holistic and well-rounded educational experience. Many WKU departments and organizations have utilized Lost River Cave’s park as a resource: WKU meetings, events, and trainings also take place at Lost River Cave. The Department of Financial Assistance, Department of Applied Human Sciences, WKU Symphony, and the Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability have all used the park for professional development and learning.
From the start, the relationship between Lost River Cave and WKU was strong and remains so today. Many departments and their faculty members utilize Lost River Cave to enrich their curriculum, while also offering up their expertise in service of the conservation effort.
    WKU Biology Faculty
    • Dr. Steve Huskey (Webpage)
      • Procures bones for educational programming
    • Dr. Keith Philips (Webpage)
      • Provides insect collections for educational programming
    WKU Geography and Geology Faculty
    • Dr. Stuart Foster (Webpage)
      • Partners in the Mesonet project by hosting a station in Lost River Cave’s prairie
    •  Dr. Chris Groves (Webpage)
      • Lost River Cave works with graduate students to provide data collection opportunities for thesis work in hydrology
    • Dr. Jason Polk (Webpage)
      • Lost River Cave works with graduate students to provide data collection opportunities for thesis work in hydrology
      • Provides access to the WKU lab as a field trip location for the Karst STEM Camp
    • Dr. Leslie North (Webpage)
      •  Lost River Cave works with graduate students to provide data collection opportunities for thesis work and non-formal education in show caves
    WKU Agriculture Department Faculty
    •  Dr. Martin Stone (Webpage)
      •  Provides advice on botany related issue
    WKU Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Faculty and Associates:
    • Dr. Raymond Poff (Webpage)
      • Hosts Lost River Cave CEO, Rho Lansden, once a year for guest lecture
    •  Annie Holt
      • Active member of the Undergraduate Curriculum Review and Internship Committee for the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport
    • Tammy Stenger-Ramsey (Webpage)
      • Guest lectures “Leave No Trace” classes at Lost River Cave special events
    The park provides internships to many  Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport undergraduate and graduate students annually.
    WKU School of Teacher Education Faculty
    • Dr. Jeanine Huss (Webpage)
      • Uses Lost River Cave location to hold professional development seminars for teachers
        WKU Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability Staff
        • Dr. Terry Wilson (Webpage)
          • Uses Lost River Cave location to hold professional development seminars for teachers