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Mark Twain Cave Complex back to hosting pre-pandemic number of school field trips

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 7:05 PM CDT
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HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) - If you’ve visited the Mark Twain Complex over the past three months, you might have noticed more children there. That’s because the caves are back to hosting the number of school field trips they did pre-pandemic.

The Mark Twain Cave Complex said over the past three months, they’ve hosted about five schools a day. That wasn’t the case last year. In 2021 had about 25% of the number of field trips they would get pre-pandemic.

Owner Todd Curry said the pandemic made it difficult for students to get out into the community and take field trips.

Curry said he is glad things have returned to normal, as hosting a large number of field trips gives them a financial boost.

“It’s a great feeling. It really is. There’s always uncertainty when business is disrupted. It’s nice to get back to normal or what we think is normal,” Curry said.

The caves hosted two schools on Thursday morning, Denman Elementary School from Quincy and an elementary school from Chicago. Denman Elementary School had about 85 kids there.

Denman Elementary School teacher Caitlyn Hecht took her third-grade class to the caves.

“It was such a wonderful experience getting the kids out. We’ve been cooped up in the classroom a lot, and especially with COVID restrictions, we haven’t been able to do what we wanted to do with field trips,” Hecht said.

She said previously COVID-19 restrictions made it difficult to leave the classroom. But, Hecht is glad they are back to learning out in the community.

“It’s that hands-on learning, that actual interaction with something that we have been talking about,” Hecht said.

“We like to see them at a young age, and they become interested in Mark Twain. Then they come back and they bring their children back. It’s funny people come in third grade and 20 years later, they come back when their child is in third grade,” Curry said.

Third-grader Rose Eckersley said she is happy they came.

“It feels good to just walk around, and the experiences in the caves were very fun,” Eckersley said.

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