Over the past few years we have visited several National Parks. When we originally planned a little getaway for Thanksgiving break, we considered camping. We’d drive as far as we could in one day and it should be warm enough. However, I learned that Mammoth Caves campground would not have any electricity, so we decided to just stay in a hotel!
That was a great idea because you get to enjoy great treats like those hotel waffle irons and this new-fangled space age pancake maker. OMG, so cool!
If you go to Mammoth Caves, it’s a really good idea to book the cave tours in advance. Even in the off season the tours sell out. Is there really an off season for caves? It’s always a constant 54 degrees down in the caves and it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or snowing outside! You have to trust me on this, the caves are very interesting inside… but super hard to photograph. You will probably be underwhelmed with these pictures! 🙂
We booked the “Domes and Dripstones” tour on our first day. I will admit, this one freaked me out a little. If you are claustrophobic you might want to think hard about this one. The first 5 minutes will be spent going down underground on a narrow ladder system. My knees were shaking a bit as we descended. I had to convince myself several times that we weren’t going to run out of oxygen or I was going to be trapped down there! What can I say, that’s just how I feel.
After we got moving around, all fears subsided and it was a good tour. We went through several larger areas of the caves too, and then ended near the grand finale – Frozen Niagara. Picture taking in the caves were a challenge, but here is my best attempt. Yes, there were orange lights down there!
That night we got to have dinner in the town of Horse Cave. There’s not a lot of restaurants there, but we did find a really good Italian buffet and filled our tummies up.
The next day we went for a short hike while waiting for our next tour – the Extended Historic Tour. The hike featured a trip along the Styx river. The Styx river actually goes into the cave. We wanted to go on the River Styx tour, but it was sold out both days.
As for our cave tour, I highly recommend the Extended Historic Tour! It starts out in the “historic” cave entrance, which is a wide open area which leads through some large tunnels. It’s very pretty in those caves! There is lots of story telling along the way.
We also got to see the remenants of buildings for a failed medical study for patients with tuberculosis. Hard to believe people lived in the cave for months and didn’t see the light of day!!
That tour did end up going into some really small spaces, but we were told about that ahead of time and I was prepared for that. Fat Man’s Misery? LOL . Here’s 8 seconds of us in a tight space, until I ran into a rock…
We even got to see old graffiti from the 1800’s, a bat, and a tiny cave salamander. Cute!!
Outside of all of the cool things we got to see, the best part of this trip was being able to spend time with my family. My kids are growing up way too fast and it’s hard to get their undivided attention these days due to busy schedule of friends, school and sports. Hanging out with my kids was something I’m always thankful for 🙂
Have you ever been to Mammoth Caves? How did you like it?