Mammoth Cave was the sixth National Park we visited during our Summer 2018 Trip. This cave system is the longest in the entire world! Located in beautiful Kentucky where cave systems abound, this place is a wonderful place to visit and explore.
If you decide to make the trip to see Mammoth Cave be sure to book your tour in advance. During the summer months their tours sell out and fill up to max capacity. They have a variety of tours to experience. Check out all of them on their website, where you can also book tours in advance: https://www.nps.gov/maca/index.htm
And from the NPS website:
Here are some photos from our “Domes and Dripstones Tour”. I recommend this tour if you have children. There aren’t a lot of options when you have small kids, but this was one of the best. Be sure your kids can do lots of stairs though. I saw some two-year-olds that got tired and their parents had to carry them. No fun for mom or dad to do 500 stairs carrying a child. Be sure to bring sweaters or light jackets along, as the cave temp is a constant 54 degrees. Lots of walking is involved and stair climbing, so it is not a handicap accessible tour nor are strollers allowed. You cannot use flash, so plan accordingly. Overall, it was the right tour for our family. We all learned a great deal from the rangers during this tour, but they kept us moving along, so it never got boring for the kids.
Lost River Cave Tour
The area where Mammoth Cave is located has an abundance of caves and tours. We used Trip Advisor to find more cave tours that were highly recommended by others who had traveled to the area. One that came up top on the list and appeared unique was the Lost River Cave Tour. We booked it in advance through their website: https://lostrivercave.org/cave-tours/
This cave has an interesting history, as civil war soldiers had used the cave, it was a roaring nightclub during prohibition, and outlaws once hid out there. One more thing that makes the cave interesting is that you ride in a boat to tour it. The portion of the cave that you are able to tour is not especially long, but it is interesting. The grounds of the property are beautiful. The area where the nightclub once existed at the opening of the cave is now used for weddings and other events. They were setting up for an event the day we visited.
They also had ziplining at the Lost River Cave location. Even better, they had zip lines for kids ages 3-10. My kids have been begging to go on a zip line, but they were too young and too small to do it alone everywhere else. They spent 45 minutes doing the three zip lines over and over and over again. They had a blast!!
Nolin Lakes State Park
I highly Recommend staying at Nolin Lakes State Park if you are coming to visit Mammoth caves and looking to camp. Be sure to book in advance for the summer months, as this one fills up quickly. Their reservation system allows you to book up to a year in advance.
It is definitely one of the more beautiful state parks we have ever stayed at. The lake is gorgeous and clean. In my opinion, the best campsite is number 32. Our new friends Kendra and Andy had that space. They invited us over to their swimming area just minutes after we pulled in. They were camped across the road from us. They had direct lake access from their campsite and it was perfect for us to put the kids’ kayaks into a safe area of the lake. The photos of the kids kayaking below, were right from their campsite #32. They had two sweet kids and my kids had such a great time with them! Hopefully we can meet up with them again in the future to camp together. Anyone who loves to play games as much as I do is a friend for life. Thanks Kendra and Andy for teaching us your bundt cake pan game. It is going to be our official family camping game from now on!