Mammoth Cave is a Wonderful National Park to Visit
Our national parks are an important and valuable American treasure that everyone should explore at some time in their lives.
On a hot summer day in South Central Kentucky, as visitors approach the entrance to Mammoth Cave the cool air envelopes you. Even before you descend the entrance stairs to the historic areas of the cave, you will begin to relax and enjoy the pleasant change in temperature. There is so much to see in this amazing cavern!
Visiting MammothCave is an adventure that families from all over the Midwest can easily enjoy. Mammoth Cave National Park is located about 90 miles from both Louisville, Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee. Mammoth Cave is believed to be one of the longest known caves in the world, with over 367 miles of cave passageways. Mammoth Cave National Park, established in 1941, is a World Heritage Site.
During the summer, Park Rangers lead cave tours that are available from about 8:45 in the morning until around 4:45 in the afternoon. Tours range from the easy Mammoth Passage Tour and Frozen Niagra Tour, which each last a little over an hour, to the strenuous Grand Avenue Tour which lasts over 4 hours and requires you to ascend or decend 670 stairs. There are a number of tours which take two to three hours and are considered moderate in difficulty. Tour prices range from as little as $5.00 a person ($3.50 for children) to as much as $48.00 a person for the Wild Cave Tour. The Wild Cave Tour is a very strenuous tour that takes 6 1/2 hours and is available only to thin, adventurous people! Yes, you have to go through some tight spots on this tour, so you cannot be overweight.
For a fun, casual cave experience, there is a self-guided tour in which you can visit the Rotunda, one of the largest rooms in the cave, and see some of the artifacts left behind by early American Indians, as well as the remains of a 19th Century saltpeter mining operation. During the self-guided tour, there are Park Rangers stationed in the main rooms, and they are wonderful about answering your questions. During the tour that our family enjoyed, one of the Rangers used his flashlight to point out a few bats when my grandson asked about them. He also answered our grandchildren's questions about the Indians who visited the cave, and the miners who extracted saltpeter for use in the manufacture of gunpowder during the War of 1812. The mining operation remains exactly as they left it, nearly 200 years ago.
If you are new to visiting our National Park System, be sure to ask about the Junior Ranger Program when you visit the information desk in the Visitor's Center. This free program is available to all the children in your group. The Ranger will provide your child with a booklet that contains a different activitiy on each page. The activities range from short questions to answer, pictures to draw, word searches, simple crossword puzzles, etc. When your child has completed some of the pages (requirements vary, depending on the child's age), they can show their booklet to the Information Desk Ranger and receive a plastic Junior Ranger Pin as their reward. This is a wonderful way to keep your children busy while they are waiting for the tour, and the activities are all very educational, as well!
For detailed information about all of the National Parks, you can use this link to purchase National Park Guidebooks from Amazon.com.
Mammoth Cave is an excellent way to break up a cross-country trip, or a wonderful place to visit by itself. The National Park and the surrounding community also provide other attractions, such as a dinosaur park, miniature golf, and camping, to keep your family busy during their stay! There are also a number of motels and restaurants in the area.
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Here's a Guide to this Fabulous Cave
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