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The internationally known Carlsbad Caverns are the biggest tourist draw in this city on the Pecos River. But before or after you've experienced the magnificent caves, you can round out your weekend with some wonderful above-ground sights and activities. If the thought of caves conjures up visions of narrow spaces and dark, cold clamminess, the comfortable year-round 56-degree climate, wide-open spaces and magical underworld of naturally created sculptures will amaze and enthrall you. In the summer, you get to see another natural wonder - some one million bats taking to the skies from the cave entrance every evening at sundown. Hardier cave explorers can take a side trip to the wilder Slaughter Cave for a down and dirty ranger-led tour. Come out from under to the zoo at Living Desert State Park for a glimpse of Chihuahuan Desert wildlife - everything from mountain lions, buffalo, bears and coyotes to reptiles, prairie dogs and roadrunners. Head over to the Lake Carlsbad Recreation Area for river swimming and waterskiing or to Guadalupe Mountains National Park for hiking trails with diverse terrain and incredible views.
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