Nestled in the beautiful green belt of lower Kentucky is Mammoth Cave National Park. This natural wonder owns the status of being the longest cave system in the world. Yes, in the world.
We could not resist taking a day trip up form Nashville, as it was only an hour and a half away from where we were. What a beautiful drive!
We had made reservations online the week prior. To our dismay, Saturday cave tours were completely sold out, so we reserved a time on Sunday. (Travelers note: reserve ahead of time. When we arrived, every tour was sold out for the entire day…this is a popular place!)
Arriving at the Visitor Center, we preceded to pick up our tickets, and then stopped at the information counter to obtain our Junior Ranger books.
We chose the Domes and Dripstones Tour. It is 2 hours in length and has a lot of stairs. It also begins with an entrance through a series of vertical shafts that are long and steep. If you are afraid of heights or confined spaces…this is so not for you.
The tour begins outside the Visitor Center where everyone boards a bus, which takes you to a newly created cave entrance. Be sure to eat and use the restrooms before you board the bus. There are no facilities in or near the cave. We had packed lunch so we ate before our tour. There is also a restaurant and ice cream shop near the Visitor Center and historical hotel.
Waiting for the bus was the perfect opportunity for the kids to work on their Junior Ranger activities.
We absolutely loved this tour and highly recommend it! Our favorite part was the beginning of the tour where we descended down the steep staircases through the vertical shafts.
I would not personally take young children on this tour, nor anyone who cannot stand on their own for long periods of time.
As we were in a dark cave, my pictures leave plenty to be desired…but they still provide us with wonderful memories.
In addition to the steep shafts, there were beautiful stalagmite formations to view. We had ample time to admire the formations and take photos and though we were in a large group, we did not feel rushed.
It was such a fabulous tour and visit to the National Park. I love how different this tour was from our tour of Cathedral Caverns State Parkin Alabama. This cave is less commercial than Cathedral, but equally beautiful and impressive. (To read about our cave tour in Alabama, click HERE.) There is just something so cool about a cave system with over 400 miles of explored tunnels!
We discovered a lovely way to finish off our time in the National Park…by taking a beautiful drive over to the Dennison Ferry Day Use Area of the park.
And we explored around the Green River.
As we were sitting on the banks, I dropped something and it rolled down into the river. I jumped after it…and well, slipped down the clay soil…all the way into the water…
Needless to say, I provided serious entertainment for my family…especially when I had to be pulled up the river bank with a long tree branch!…Chris and Angie thought my mishap was hysterical and we all pretty much laughed about it for the rest of the day.
So beware…the banks of the Green River are quite slippery! It does provide a great backdrop for family adventure though. (Hint: If we were to come again…I would rent canoes from one of the local shops and go down the river.)
Have you been to Mammoth Cave? I would love to know what the other tours are like.