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“One place everyone should go at lest once.”

Mammoth Cave National Park
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: A mysterious limestone cave that has fascinated people for 4,000 years.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Reviewed November 15, 2012

It is a place everyone should go at lest once. There is a lot of history here, it was used by the Indians, The people who fought the revolutionary war, Jesse James, and a TB Hospital, it has been an attraction for a long time and I even found the names of some of my ancestors written in charcoal on the ceiling. This is a great place that is well worth the trip.

Thank gtmerkley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,587 - 2,591 of 3,086 reviews

Reviewed November 14, 2012

It was a great adventure through the New Entrance. Ranger was very knowledgeable and humorous. I would definitely recommend.

Thank msaalli
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Reviewed November 13, 2012

I haven't been to the caves since I was a little kid so bringing my 16 year old son was fun. Let me say, he is at the age where not much impresses him, but he did enjoy this. The park offers multiple tours to choose from which go to different parts of the caves and have varying difficulty levels. It is one of the things they cater to very well so do the research on each tour offered before selecting one. We took the 2 hour Historic tour which was about the right amount of time (2 hours) and learning level for my son. My comments will mostly be about this tour in particular since we didn't go on the other tours.

The historic tour is a general tour, hitting many of the highlights of the cave system. It is a good tour for adults, and for children middle school age and up since it is the age most of them are learning the science behind the formation of the caves in their schools and it will tie together nicely for them. While you can bring smaller children, I think 2 hours will get too long to keep their interest. There is also a part where they turn out all the lights in the caves which could be scary. There are other tours offered that are better suited to young children.

The historic tour is rated moderate on their scales due to the time length, number of stairs, and tighter spaces to get through. This scared me. I am over 50 years old, 5'9" tall, overweight and out of shape. I am also slightly claustrophobic. I made it through just fine. There were people in even worse shape than me that also did fine so don't let this scare you away. The majority of the cave passages are wide open with good flooring and hand rails. There are parts of the cave that are like huge ballrooms in large castles so there is plenty of room to move around and not feel claustrophobic. This is where the guides do most of their speaking. Then there are wide tunnels which get you from these large rooms to another. My son is 6'2" and he had to crouch down or duck his head in many places, but still no big deal. Fat Man's misery (a tight curvy passage) was one of the smallest passages, but easy to get through for everyone on the tour and offered a few laughs. Another tight area was a spot where you had to go down some stairs backwards to avoid hitting your head. I took a deep breath on this one due to how scary it looked, but again, no problems. Near the end of the tour, you had to ascend a fire escape type system. I would bet this was the most strenuous for everyone on the tour, no matter how good of shape you thought you were in. The guides did a nice job of moving at a slower pace. There were multiple platforms to stop to take a quick breath and the views from each platform were worth the stop regardless.

Ranger Mike led our tour and Ranger Dave brought up the rear. There were probably 100 people in the tour. I thought Ranger Mike's knowledge was incredible and he did a great job explaining things with humor offered throughout his speeches. I read on other people's comments to stay to the front so you could hear what the guide was saying. Other people must have read the same thing and were always trying to rush up to the front, being quite pushy. While the comment to stay in front is partially true, it is not necessary, and being in the back offers some advantages too. My son and I were always within 10 feet of Ranger Mike at the start of the tour. He mostly used the time traveling between rooms to answer individual questions of the most curious visitors. He was not talking and explaining things continuously as I was led to believe reading the other reviews. Ranger Mike's major speeches were in the large rooms of the cave and were very easy to hear. He also took the time to answer everyone's questions, therefore you didn't miss anything if you were not standing next to him to do it individually. What you did miss was the occasional pass of his flashlight highlighting gypsum or some candle soot, but the path lights in the cave highlight the same things. You just need to look wherever you see a spotlight. What you get by being in the back of the tour group is the ability to take your time viewing things and get some pictures without people making you feel like you need to keep moving. It is a more relaxed pace and visit. Ranger Dave is at the back and will not let you get lost.

We toured the visitor center at the end of the tour. I am not a fan of visitor centers but this one is very nicely done, interesting and hands on. It offered explanations of everything we just saw or heard about so it complemented the tour nicely.

Other things I wish I knew:
You walk as a group on paths to the opening of the cave. You are not bussed there.
You can bring a water bottle with you.
There are no bathroom stops.
The caves are at a constant temperature of 54 degrees. This sounds cold, but without wind and such, is fairly nice. People that wore coats were carrying them half way through the trip. A light jacket or sweatshirt is more than enough. I had a long sleeve tshirt and vest and was sweating at times!
I recommend you bring your own flashlight to check out the areas of the cave that are harder to see.
I recommend you leave purses and backpacks at home. They are just bulky with no purpose.

My favorite part was when they turned off all the lights in the cave. Sooo Cool! It really makes you think and thank the people that explored these places 200 years ago.

The National Parks really have done a nice job with the tours they offer here. Kudos to our tax dollars being well spent!

Thank SGS1260
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2012

I found the caves dull and boring. I have visited many other caves in the area that are much prettier and well presented to the public than the tour I took at Mammoth Cave. I was VERY disappointed.

Thank Kathleen L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2012

The Indians knew of some great places! I'm so glad we white people finally discovered it. It is awesome! I wonder what other great wonders we walk above each day.

Thank jwilson39252
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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