Perhaps Jewel Cave National Monument doesn’t sound very impressive. After all, it’s just a National Monument, not at National Park, right? Wrong. Jewel Cave is the third longest known cave system in the world. And the key word in that sentence is “known.” New passages of Jewel Cave are still being discovered and mapped. Once it’s all mapped, it quite possibly could turn out to be the world’s longest cave. Scientists have estimated the volume of the cave using airflow studies. They measure how much air the caves exhales when the outside pressure drops and vice versa. The parts of […]
I love South Dakota’s Black Hills region for all of its natural beauty, and not only is there gorgeous scenery above ground; there’s even more to be discovered below ground. As with most national parks, the place to start is the visitor center.
One word of caution: the park’s website warns you not to trust your GPS to find the visitor center. The website has a map and directions. I am one of those people who tends to trust my GPS too much, and it has gotten me into trouble more than once, so I wanted to point that […]
Diamond Caverns is located in Park City, Kentucky, in the heart of Kentucky’s Cave Country, not far from Mammoth Cave National Park. Because it is located so close to Mammoth Cave, it makes sense to compare the two caves. The names hint at the differences. What makes Mammoth Cave impressive is the sheer volume of the underground rooms. Diamond Caverns, on the other hand, glitters with beauty.
You won’t find any diamonds in it, but there are many beautiful discoveries to be found on the hour-long tour. Another difference between the two cave tours is the size of […]
With so many caves in Kentucky’s Cave Country, many have added other attractions to make them stand out from the crowd. That is exactly the case with Hidden River Cave in Horse Cave, Kentucky. In addition to cave tours, they offer the American Cave Museum, along with a zipline and rappelling. And that worked out really well for our visit. It turns out that the “hidden” river decided not to stay hidden while we were in town–it flooded the cave. It wasn’t hard to find the river at all. We just walked down this long flight of stairs and […]
Cave of the Winds is in a beautiful area west of Colorado Springs. Although the reason to go into the cave is to see the beautiful formations underground, don’t miss the beautiful scenery above ground.
The canyon is truly breathtaking.
Cave of the Winds offers three different tours: Discovery Tour, Lantern Tour, and Caving 101. Those are listed in order of increasing difficulty. Caving 101 would have been great fun for my two teenagers, but crawling through muddy passages is not my idea of fun. This tour requires you to bring a change of clothes and shoes, and […]
We recently returned from a road trip during which we saw almost a dozen national parks, and you know what? My kids kept talking about one of the parks that we visited almost a year ago, one that I hadn’t yet written about. And, technically, it isn’t a national park–it’s a national monument–but that doesn’t really matter. I’m going to dub Lava Beds National Monument “The Best National Park You’ve Never Heard Of”.
Lava Beds National Monument is located in the far northern part of California, near the Oregon border. It sits on top of the massive Medicine Lake […]
Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system known in the world, is located in Southwest Kentucky’s Cave Country. It has over 400 miles of surveyed passageways! That distinction definitely makes it worth a visit.
As with most national parks, the place to start is the Visitor Center. Inside you can watch an orientation film and explore exhibits that educate visitors about the geology of the area, types of cave passages, and animals found within the caves. I really liked the 3D model of the cave passages.
The Visitor Center is also the starting point for cave tours. I strongly […]
Kentucky is known for its incredible cave country, but the Louisville MEGA Cavern isn’t that type of cave. This cavern is a former limestone mine with clever owners who keep finding new business opportunities for the cavern, including the world’s first and only underground zip line course, an underground Christmas light display, a tram tour, and the newest addition, a ropes course. In addition to the recreational businesses, the cavern is also used for recycling, storage of RV’s and PODS®, other businesses, and was equipped to be a nuclear fallout shelter during the Cold War.
I first visited the Louisville […]