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Cave of the Dark Wind: A Never Land Book | Kartchner Caverns State Park

24 March 2009 3 Comments

Long drives are the perfect time to read chapter books together as a family. Enjoying a story passes the time quickly and keeps the kicking, poking, and yelling to a minimum. One we recently enjoyed, Cave of the Dark Wind: A Never Land Book, is a great story full of excitement and adventure. A chapter book intended for 9-12 year olds, it’s a fun and simple read but the storytelling and imagery are fantastic! We found this to be a great book for boys - it’s a Neverland adventure - and yet there is a brave heroine named Pearl who kept my daughter’s interest. It’s a nail biter for children and tough to put down. You will love imagining the treasure hunt through The Cave of the Dark Wind together.

You could finish the book on your drive down to Benson, AZ - just past Tucson. Here you will find Kartchner Caverns, an amazing cave in pristine condition. You and your children will be wowed as you seemingly enter another world full of stalagmites and stalactitles! It can only be accessed by tour and a reservation is required.  Get the book and plan your trip. It will be an inexpensive mini-vacation the kids will talk about for months!

The Book

Title: Cave of the Dark Wind: A Never Land Book Click the book cover to find the book and more in our Amazon store!

Author: Ridley Pearson and Dave Berry

Illustrator: Greg Call

Recommended Age: 9-12

Book Brief: While Peter is away from the island, James and the lost boys discover a mysterious cave.  Shining Pearl and her sister, Little Scallop, warn the boys it is a dangerous place, inhabited by a creature known as the Goat Taker — a beast so scary that even the Mollusk tribe fears it. But the boys can’t resist trying to discover the cave’s secrets. When the first of those secrets turns out to be a tantalizing hint of a famous haunted treasure, Captain Hook and his band of cut throat pirates quickly join the hunt. Before long, the children are fleeing for their lives in a dark and deadly underground labyrinth…and their only hope for escape is to solve the mystery of the Cave of the Dark Wind.

About the Authors: Dave Barry is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of more than two dozen books including The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog; Dave Barry’s Money Secrets; Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys; Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway; and Big Trouble.

Ridley Pearson is the bestselling author of twenty-three novels, including the young adult novel The Kingdom Keepers and the adult thrillers Killer Weekend, Cut and Run, The Pied Piper, The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer, Beyond Recognition, and Undercurrents.

The pair wrote the thrilling Peter and the Starcatchers series.

The Blast

Kartchner Caverns State Parkkartchner-caverns

Location: Benson, AZ

Click here to find a map and directions.

It’s a Blast! Experience a stunning limestone cave in Southeastern Arizona that boasts world-class features. This “live” cave, discovered in 1974, is host to a wide variety of unique minerals and formations. Water percolates from the surface and calcite formations continue to grow, including stalactites dripping down like icicles and giant stalagmites reaching up from the ground. Tour guides will unveil this fascinating underground landscape during a memorable 1½ hour tour.

In November 1974 two young cavers, Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts, were exploring the limestone hills at the base of the Whetstone Mountains. In the bottom of a sinkhole they found a narrow crack leading into the hillside. Warm, moist air flowed out, signaling the existence of a cave. After several hours of crawling, they entered a pristine cavern.It wasn’t until February 1978 that Tenen and Tufts told the property owners, James and Lois Kartchner, about their amazing discovery. During the four years of secret exploration, the discoverers realized that the cave’s extraordinary variety of colors and formations must be preserved.

The cave’s existence became public knowledge in 1988 when its purchase was approved as an Arizona State Park. Extraordinary precautions have been taken during its development to conserve the cave’s near-pristine condition.

Cave Tour Information

To make Cave Tour Reservations and Book Tickets: Call (520) 586-2283. You can call 7 days a week, from 8 am to 5 pm MST.

Kartchner Caverns State Park
Cave Tour Prices
Cavern Tour Ages 0–6 Ages 7–13 Ages 14+
Rotunda/Throne Tour: October – July
Rotunda/Throne Tour: August – September
Big Room Tour

* Children 6 and under are not allowed on this tour.

All tours are led by a trained guide, no self-guided tours are available. Twenty tours are scheduled daily, and are available year round, for the Rotunda/Throne Tour and fifteen tours are scheduled daily for the Big Room Tour from mid-October to mid-April. It is recommended that tours be booked as far in advance as possible to ensure availability. No items (bags, purses, packs, bottled water, etc) are allowed into the cave while on tour. Try to arrive at least 1 hour in advance of your tour time. The tour operators request that you familiarize yourself with our very important Cave Tour Rules.

Extra Tips For a Good Time:

  • The cave has an average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 99% humidity year-round, so it will feel very warm and steamy.
  • Most areas are dimly lit and some passages may pass through narrow or enclosed areas. This may be difficult for persons with mobility, respiratory, or claustrophobia issues.
  • Schools and group tours should read some additional information.
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  • The Book Blast Team (author) said:

    Short National Geographic video about the Caverns:

  • The Book Blast Team (author) said:

    Neil Miller wrote a book about the two men who discovered the caverns and then devoted their lives to preserving them. Check out this link to see an interview with Miller.

  • Luanne said:

    Good idea to get kids to read and see something great! Kartchner Caverns State Park is offering discounted tours starting in June. See the “Amazing Summer Discount” at http://azstateparks.com/Parks/KACA/index.html.

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