27 Jul 2017 04.55.00 PM
In South Central Kentucky, Mammoth Cave lies hundreds of feet below the ground, stretching farther than anyone can predict. Visitors have been coming to Mammoth Cave National Park for thousands of years to explore the dark and mysterious depths of this vast cave system. An exciting family adventure, Mammoth Cave offers dozens of tours to suit every age and ability level.
ABOUT MAMMOTH CAVE
Mammoth Cave National Park is a preservation area for the massive cave system and part of the Green River valley and hilly countryside of Southern Kentucky. Mammoth Cave earned its name from its enormous size, currently the world’s longest known cave system. One of the most fascinating details about Mammoth Cave is that no one actually knows exactly how large the cave is. While the park is about 80 square miles, the cave beneath it is far larger, with only about 400 miles being explored. HISTORY OF MAMMOTH CAVE
Mammoth Cave has been around for thousands of years. It was 4,000 years ago that humans discovered its presence. Over 200 years ago Mammoth Cave was mined for saltpeter during the war of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States, artifacts were discover during the mining time of the cave, and today, the area is protected by the National Park Service.
The cave system’s official name is Mammoth-Flint Ridge Cave System, named for the ridge that the cave formed beneath. Mammoth Cave National Park was established on July 1st, 1941 and was officially named a World Heritage Site on October 27th, 1981. Mammoth Cave also became an International Biosphere Reserve on September 26th, 1990 in order to globally protect its environment and ensure its sustainability. MAMMOTH CAVE TOURS Broadway Tour: This 2 hour tour descends into the cave through its most famous entrance, down a hillside trail. Cleveland Avenue Tour: A 2.5 hour, the Cleveland Avenue Tour descends 200 stairs at the Carmichael Entrance near the area where the Rocky Mountains turns to crags. Visitors will get to see various crystalline shapes and sizes. The tour concludes in the Snowball Dining Room. The whole route is seen on the Grand Avenue Tour. Discovery Tour: This quick 20 minute self-guided tour lets visitors explore the Rotunda, one of the largest rooms in the cave and learn about 19th century mining. Grand Avenue Tour: One of Mammoth Cave’s most comprehensive tours, Grand Avenue Tour is also one of the longest. This 4 hour excursion is physically demanding. Guests will learn about the cave’s history, see some of the most picturesque passages and get a real sense of the complexity of this cave system. Violet City Lantern Tour: This 3 hour tour allows visitors to walk by lantern light through some of the most massive passages in Mammoth Cave. They learn about the history of the first visitors in the 1800’s and view remnants of an underground hospital and prehistoric mineral mining. Frozen Niagara: A little over an hour long, this tour leads through the Frozen Niagara Entrance which was created in 1924 to allow guests to view some of the most decorative areas of the cave. Wild Cave Tour: This tour is not for the faint of heart. The Wild Cave Tour is 6 hours long and requires visitors to crawl by hand and knee and on their belly through narrow cave passages as well as freehold climbs up and down ten-foot cave walls.
Discover more activities! NEARBY ACTIVITIES Beech Bend Amusement Park & Splash Lagoon: With dozens of rides and a water park to cool off at, this amusement park is the perfect place for your family to spend a summer day. Guests can enjoy a petting farm, mini-golf, go-carts and live entertainment. Dinosaur World: With over 150 life-size dinosaurs, Dinosaur World is a fascinating self guided museum. The museum features real artifacts as well as interactive exhibits where kids can dig for fossils and pan for gemstones. Mammoth Cave Wildlife Museum: This 14,000 square foot museum features exhibits on rare and exotic animals like the Snow Leopard. It also features other wildlife including marine animals, insects, birds and more.
Looking for a great place to stay while visiting Mammoth Cave? Check out these properties. BAT WHITE-NOSE SYNDROME
North America’s bats have fallen victim to a disease known as White-Nose Syndrome, and it is thought to be present in Mammoth Cave. So far, the disease has killed over 5 million bats. A fungus invades the bats skin where not covered by fur, attacking while bats are hibernating. White Nose Syndrome DISRUPTS the hibernation and may cause starvation or dehydration. Scientists are still trying to determine exactly how it kills the bats. While this fungus does not affect humans, there is still the chance that we could spread the fungus. Should the bat population decrease too drastically since bats devour insects and play an active role in pollination. To prevent spreading the fungus, everyone is asked to wash clothes before wearing an item into more than one cave system. There are also cleaning stations where you may be asked to wash off shoes before a tour.
Mammoth Cave National Park is a stunning and mysterious cave system that is protected both nationally and globally. With a range of exciting tours and fun, local activities, this park offers a trip that the whole family will enjoy.