Iowa’s Secret Shelter from the Heat: Maquoketa Caves State Park

MAQUOKETA, Iowa  --  With extreme heat moving over the state, many people are looking for new ways to cool off.

In eastern Iowa's Jackson County, there is a cool place that was first discovered by settlers back in the 1830s; Maquoketa Caves was named one of the early Iowa State Parks back in 1921.

The park averages around 300,000 visitors a year. Forty-five percent of those come from out-of-state and 55% visit from around Iowa.

Jason Juron went to the park with his family from Indianola.

“We just got done with the Iowa Games we participated in,” said Juron. “It's cool and we love nature, we want to get the kids outside, so this is a win-win. It's a good day.”

The caves are cool and wet.

"In the winter time it gets cooler, it gets probably in the 40s in the summertime, probably the highest we get is maybe 55--that's inside, as far as you can get into the caves," said DNR Park Ranger Scott Dykstra.

Dykstra said the mercury averages around 50 degrees.

“Wet, dark, there’s a little creepiness to it, that's why you need a flashlight or you're going to get lost,” said Juron.