Friday, September 30, 2011

Mammoth Cave National Park

More Than Just a Hole in the Ground
Mammoth Cave, the longest cave in the world.
Mammoth Cave National Park is located between Bowling Green and Louisville, Kentucky. It's a beautifully wooded and rugged part of the country. The park's limestone foundation is riddled with hundreds of miles caves. In fact, Mammoth Cave is the longest cave system in the world. Much of the cave is without mineral formations, but the sections of the cave with formations are quite amazing. At nearly 400 explored miles, the sheer size of the cave is hard to fathom, and makes the trip worthwhile.

Above ground, this 52,835 acre park is just as awesome as its Swiss cheese basement. The forest is open and clear underneath the massive hardwoods. The dense overhead canopy and abundant wildlife contribute to underbrush control. It's a very well preserved and clean national park brimming with natural beauty and furry creatures.

 Much of Mammoth cave has no formations,
but where they exist, they are awesome!
Near the park's visitor center is a the Mammoth Cave Hotel and the park's primary campground. There are many options for lodging within the park, but camping, while very picturesque and natural, is limited for the extended stay of this family of six. The lack of water and electrical hookups can make stays of more than 2-3 nights a little trying. If you need full hookups, there are several options in nearby Cave City and Park City. Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park, with its child-oriented activities and amenities, is always a hit with the kids.

The park's campground is beautiful !
There is plenty to do in the area. If you are here for a short visit, you'll have a hard time deciding which adventure to attempt. There are numerous caves outside the national park that can be toured, including one located in an Australia-themed park called Kentucky Down Under. This area possesses a "retro"  tacky tourist appeal reminiscent of Gatlinburg, Panama City Beach, and Ghost Town in the Sky. Rock shops, go karts, t-shirts, fudge, and zip-lines abound. Many of the attractions are seasonal, so do your homework before booking your accommodations. 

For more details including a Journal entry and pictures, click here,

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