Mammoth Cave National Park Favorite Tips by staindesign Top 5 Page for this destination
Mammoth Cave National Park Favorites: 7 reviews and 16 photos
Favorite thing: The low down on the cave life is pretty simple: Bats, crickets, spiders, salamanders, crayfish, etc.
Basically our tour guide told us that during this time, October, the bats are beginning to come into the caves to begin hibernation. She told us that the most common bat is the Eastern Pipistrelle or a bat that looks like a "hairy chicken nugget". They are about the size of your thumb and have the wing span of an unsharpened pencil. On the cave tours the guides are always looking for them to point out, but don't take any flash photography of them, because they don't want to be woken up!
The deal on the crickets! Okay, these things freak me out! They look like they are spiders, they have a very small body and long skinny legs. Their antlers or feelers are extra long and look like an extra pair of legs, looks like 6 legs total. I was told they have these to help them feel around in the dark. They spend most of their lives in the caves, but do venture out to eat.
Salamanders are quite interesting, the one we saw was shy in the light. He was very brightly colored, which surprised me because i thought since he is in the dark most of the time he wouldn't need the color like many other animals in the cave. There really aren't many compared to crickets, but we were lucky to see one out of 3 cave tours.
The crayfish and other water animals, we weren't able to see. They show these animals on the brochure, but there isn't really anyway to see these guys because they are located on the 5 level of the cave system where the river is located and they don't take tours that low. I do believe you may have a chance if you take the "wild cave tour" because that is splunking and you will go deeper than the average tour.
Favorite thing: At the service building, which is next to the visitor center; there is a grocery story, post office, laundry, & showers. This is really important to remember, you can get a shower for $2 for 10 minutes. Of course it isn't the most beautiful area, but really it is helpful since most of the time when you visit the park it is so hot. I am not the best camper, but for those of you that will be camping in the area, remember you can get a good shower with decent water pressure! It goes by tokens, but you can buy those in the Laundry area. The man at the service store told me that if you get too many tokens, that you can take them to the store and they can exchange them for money again.
the witches finger
Favorite thing: Stalactites begin forming by water that has minerals in it. There are cracks in the ceilings of caves that allow the water to drip through. With time the water will create a "soda straw", a small & hallow stalactite. Then as the water continues to keeps dripping it builds the cone formation larger and larger. Equally as the drip hits the floor the minerals can deposit and begin building up, a stalagmite. With enough time, these two can eventually grow toward each other and join creating a column. These formations can really create crazy forms. But to give you an idea of how long this process can take, 1 inch is produced every 800 years.
Favorite thing: This is a very cool natural air purification system. Underground it is approximately 54 degree F, the air in the cave is constantly being recirculated by a vaccum like system. The cracks in the cave suck air in from the outside and the warm air from the cave is blown out the enterance/exit of the cave. Once you walk up the the cave, within 20-30' Ft. you can feel a very strong cold draft. The ranger told us from this circulation of the air it is quite pure. He also said that you would think that to hide underground in a cave incase of a nuclear bomb, you would first be safe from the blast but because of the air system it would sweep the radiation into the cave and people hiding would die.
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