BLUE MOUNDS – Whether you’re nostalgic for elementary school field trips or a hardcore fan of 1983 8-bit masterpiece Spelunker, a trip to Cave of the Mounds is one of the great joys of being a Wisconsinite.
Millions of years in the making, the landmark takes you on a journey 57 feet below the earth’s surface – the length of 3 average giraffes – and into a mostly-beige wonderland of eroded rock and a distinct, musty cave smell.
This underground treasure of the Midwest was untouched by human hands, untrod by human feet – until Charles Brigham Jr. decided to blast the shit out of his father’s long-standing dairy farm and turn it into a quarry. Now home to hundreds of thousands of springtails that are small enough to slip into your ear undetected Chekov style, there’s absolutely nothing scary about this subterranean paradise.
As you descend nearly 50 feet down into a dark, cold cavern where you can’t touch anything – the only rule of Cave Club – you might be wondering what else you can’t do. Wisconsin News Today dug deep and found out.
Here are the 5 things you absolutely cannot do at Cave of the Mounds, or they’ll ban you for life:
1. Cave Aging Cheese
Despite the statewide infamy for being able to get cheese just about everywhere – from roadside stores to the airport to your friend’s husband that works at BelGioioso – you cannot sneak cheese into the Cave of the Mounds.
In 2017, Dennis Lloyd of Shiocton was caught smuggling in six wheels of cheddar and several small wheels of brie in an attempt to cave age them and charge 5-7 more dollars an ounce. This also subsequently led to the statewide ban of bringing any dairy products into places on Wisconsin’s historical register.
2. Recording Your Podcast
This one should be a given. You absolutely cannot record a podcast in Cave of the Mounds. They don’t care how “great the acoustics are”. Nobody, least of all the tour staff, wants to hear another person thank Squarespace for their sponsorship. If they even see a boom mic sneak out of your pocket, they will ship you off to that creepy doll section of House on the Rock and leave you there.
Be smart. Record your podcast somewhere low key and where you won’t disturb anyone – like the bathroom of a Kwik Trip or in the lobby of the Pfister.
3. Conducting A Sheepshead Tournament
There’s nothing quite like sitting back with a couple of friends with a few cases of beer to play cards. Unfortunately, the good people of Cave of the Mounds don’t agree. We found that out the hard way. Despite the fact that there is actually nothing on the website that suggests you can’t, apparently you cannot conduct a Sheepshead tournament with your buddies inside the cave.
4. Recreating the “Streets of Old Milwaukee” Exhibit
When the Milwaukee Public Museum announced in January that the beloved Streets of Old Milwaukee exhibit would not be coming to their new site – the streets of New Milwaukee erupted in rage, sadness, and a little indifference. Some have banded together in hopes of finding an investor to purchase and preserve the old-timey feel of unchecked discrimination, assassination attempts on the president, and barber pole candy sticks. Before anyone tries, we’ve already asked. You can absolutely not recreate the Streets of Old Milwaukee in Cave of the Mounds.
5. Bringing In Strippers
Everyone loves a good pair of Mounds – especially if you don’t feel like a nut – which is why it’s surprising to learn that you cannot host a dozen or so strippers in the Dream River Room (or any part of the cave for that matter). We asked if cup size mattered, assuming more endowed women might have trouble squeezing past some of the more narrow facets of the cavern – but, unfortunately, bringing any and all strippers into Cave of the Mounds, even if it’s a bachelor party, will land you in Prison of the Mounds. Yes, that’s a real thing. It’s what Gerard the Cave Docent calls making you sit on the wooden benches outside while he drafts your lifetime ban paperwork.
Mary Sweeney reporting