Park Hills, Kentucky; October 30, 2002: A day after a fieldtrip she’d organized for her 8th grade class deteriorated into a giggle and laugh-fest that culminated in the group being asked to leave the premises and never return, teacher Sandra Mortenson expressed regret. She also questioned her selecting Marionsville Ice-caverns as a suitable site for an outing with 27 adolescents, many of whom have hormonal hurricanes raging inside their young bodies. “Yeah, I really wasn’t thinking when I decided to take the kids to the cave,” the thirty-four year old teacher, a veteran of eleven years in the classroom, said today as she sipped coffee in the teachers’ lounge.
Asked when she realized her mistake, Mortenson responded, “oh, right away. As soon as the guide led us into the first cavern, [assistant teacher] Katie glanced over at me with a meaningful look. I saw the stalagmites and stalagtites and immediately knew what she was thinking.” Mortenson shook her head and went on, “the stalagmites were long and glistening, and some of them were shaped just like penises. I don’t mean that if you looked at them, you could imagine penises, I mean they actually looked like large, glass penises.” The experienced teacher put her head in her hands and sighed, “I might as well have taken them to a dildo factory.”
Within the first three minutes, Mortenson went on to explain, whispers had spread back and forth through the throng of school children, and giggles, gasps, and snickers echoed through the cave. “The poor guide,” she murmered, recalling the debacle that ensued. “She tried to go ahead and give her little spiel. She started talking about the layers that had been laid during the Triassic Period, or something like that, but no one was listening. Katie and I tried to get the children to be quiet, but there was no use. We’d lost the battle within five minutes.”
After leading the rowdy group of chuckling and cackling youngsters through the first two caverns, the unlucky tour guide whom Mortenson described as “a sweet, little blond girl who looked like a deer caught in headlights,” excused herself and asked the group to stay put. Minutes later, she and the director returned. “The guy was polite but quite obviously irritated,” Mortenson recalled. “He quickly told Katie and I to lead the children out of the cave and back to the bus, and then…” The teacher paused and shook her head in self-disgust once again, before continuing, “then he looked at me very sternly and said, ‘I don’t think you should bring your students here again.’ I was so humiliated.”
“We did have a mild disturbance here at the facilites,” Marionsville Ice-cavern Facilities Manager, Dr. Gerald Winston, confirmed in a telephone interview. “No one was injured, but we were forced to escort a group from the cavern premises and ask them not to return again.” He added that such incidents were not unprescidented in the cavern’s 27-year-history, “but they’re always regrettable.”