We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Calling Cavern Experts

Texas
Level Contributor
124 posts
16 reviews
Save Topic
Calling Cavern Experts

Hi Guys,

My hubby, 2 children (4 and 9) and I will be visiting Carlsbad for the first time next weekend (17 - 18 Oct). I am so excited to be able to visit the caverns at last, just need some advice:

I have arthritis in my knees but am determined to not let that stop me from getting the most out of the caverns. So I'm thinking should we do the natural entrance and big room tours then elevator up, OR take elevator down, big room, and Kings palace tour and elevator up, OR would it be dooable for me in one day to do the natural entrance, big room and Kings palace tours.

I have no idea how strenuous they are and which one is better/ not to be missed.

Also, if we get there friday at sunset as we plan to, (travelling from Juarez, Mexico) could we see the bat flight? -

or would we have to purchase tickets at the visitor center that closes 5pm for that?

Thanks so much for your advice

Albuquerque, New...
Level Contributor
2,169 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Calling Cavern Experts

Unfortunately, we don't have any Carlsbad Caverns Experts at this time, so you're stuck with me, and hopefully some other contributors.

The last entry into the Caverns is 3:30pm after Sept. 7th. For me, the first visit to the caverns should be through the Natural Entrance (huge cave mouth) just outside the Visitor's Center. You will gradually decend about 600ft. via well maintained trails which take you past some real "closeup" views of the natural wonders that are so numerous inside Carlsbad. The NE Trail is approximately 1 1/2 miles, and fairly easy walking. It is also easier since you're not in a race, and stop so often to see things. You then come to the old dining room area, now a reststop, and here the elevators come down from the Visitor's Center. You can take on the Big Room (about another mile) from here. I would just suggest you take the Natural Tour, then decide what you can do from there. If you have bad knees you might want to limit your walk to two, not three tours. The kids should not have any problems, at least on the first tour. I was six the first time I did the Natural Tour, and Big Room.

The bats fly south into Mexico for the winter, and this is "usually" around mid-October, so you'd have to contact the caverns to see if they are still around or not. If they are...you could begin your tour around 1pm. or 2pm , and be out for the bats' departure if they are still present.

For more information................

http://www.nps.gov/cave/index.htm

Texas
Level Contributor
124 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Calling Cavern Experts

Thanks NM_ for such a speedy answer. You're plenty expert enough for me:) Your advice sounds good and I think I will do just what you suggest.

Have you (or anyone else) done the Kings palace tour and is it very different from the natural entrance? Just wondering if we do the cavern on Saturday, should we come back Sunday to do the Kings Palace, or should we go to Living desert Zoo? Oppinions?

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
Level Contributor
21,400 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Calling Cavern Experts

We did all 3 tours in one day, then went back the next day just to do the Natural Entrance again! If you have 2 days, I would do all 3 tours. Look at the photos on www.nps.gov/cave for info. On the Kings Palace tour there is a time that the rangers will turn off the lights, very cool. Make sure this is something your kids will be ok with. My son loved it. Have a great time.

Albuquerque, New...
Level Contributor
2,169 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Calling Cavern Experts

Children of your kid's ages would also enjoy the Living Desert Zoo. It's not that far north of Carlsbad, so you could probably take both the Kings tour, and the zoo in, in one day. Have a great time. It is something even youngsters will remember for a lifetime!

Albuquerque, New...
Level Contributor
2,169 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Calling Cavern Experts

Children of your kid's ages would also enjoy the Living Desert Zoo. It's not that far north of Carlsbad, so you could probably take both the Kings tour, and the zoo in, in one day. Have a great time. The caverns are something even youngsters will remember for a lifetime!

Albuquerque, New...
Destination Expert
for New Mexico, Albuquerque
Level Contributor
2,197 posts
131 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Calling Cavern Experts

I agree that you could try the Natural Entrance with one caveat: it is steep at times, and if you have problems going down hills or stairs, as my friend does, this might be a little hard on your knees. The option is the elevator down, do the big room, and the king and queens chambers. You need to know that to get into the latter requires a short steep slope down and a similar one back up, but it might be more doable than the NE. My friend can no longer do the NE, so we restrict ourselves to the other two. Any walk you do in the caverns will be spectacular.

Texas
Level Contributor
124 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Calling Cavern Experts

Thanks all for the good advice, I just called the caverns and they say they plan to have the bat flight program up until the 18th, we will be there on the 17th, so hopefully (if the bats don't decide to depart suddenly early) we will get to see them fly - YAY! Now were really excited, can't wait to get in the caverns!

8. Re: Calling Cavern Experts

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 12:17 am, April 12, 2010