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Best tour at Mammoth Caves

Old Feb 4th, 2003, 03:21 PM
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Best tour at Mammoth Caves

Trying to decide which tour to take. We'll have four middle-aged adults, one child and one teen. Nothing too strenuous (not because of dissibilities, just laziness). Which tour offers the most interest for about a two hour time investment.

Christensen is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2003, 04:10 PM
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The Great Onyx or Mammoth Passage tour are each 2 hours or less in duration.
There are some steps but neither are too strenuous.
Different tours are offered at different times of the year, so you really should phone to see what will be available when you plan to be there.
The tours fill quickly and have capacity limits ,it is a good idea to make reservations.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 06:15 AM
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I took the 'historic' tour a few years ago. We didn't see any stactics or stlagmites (I know the spelling is off, but the cool things growing up from the ground or down from the ceilings). We saw a big giant open area underground. Did I mention it was BIG. Went through one area where I had to stoop over -- I guess it was around 4-5 feet tall and was a little tight too. I wanted to see stactics or stlagmites so I messed up with the tour choice. There is also a boat tour that I didn't know about until we arrived (I did my not so great research about tours through the NPS website). I wish we had the time to take the boat trip, it sounded interesting.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 06:34 AM
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These are all the tours at Mammoth Cave:
Discovery Tour
Frozen Niagara Tour
Grand Avenue Tour
Great Onyx Lantern Tour
Historic Tour
Introduction to Caving
Making of Mammoth Tour
Mammoth Passage Tour
Travertine Tour
Trog Tour
Violet City Lantern Tour
Wild Cave Tour

The Travertine Tour is the easiest. The one which you will enjoy the most is Grand Avenue or Historic. I would suggest taking more than one. Check out more info about the tours at:
kychris is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2003, 07:23 AM
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Depending on the time of year you are going, you may want to make sure you reserve your tour in advance. We were there in July, and all the good tours were sold out. (Fortunately, we DID have advance reservations, but we saw an awful lot of disappointed people.) The recommendation to review the tours via the NPS website & then reserve that way is a good one. Some tours have more historic interest, some more focus on interesting formations. I've done the Historic and the Wild Cave (which from the sounds of your note, you definitely do NOT want - however, anyone else reading this, the Wild Cave is a blast - just be prepared & you MUST wear hiking boots or they WILL kick you off before the tour even starts.)

Regarding the boat tour, Mammoth Cave does NOT do that anymore, and I don't think they ever will again, primarily due to environmental issues. They sold their boats to another cave. (Lost River Cave).

If you are interested in tours other than Mammoth, there are lots of smaller, privately owned caves in the region with reasonably priced, short (1 hr.) non-strenuous tours. Go to to learn about them. I have been to Diamond Caverns (this one has gorgeous formations, if that is what you are looking for), and Crystal Onyx, which also has neat formations & some ancient historical interest. Wanted to try the boat ride at Lost River, but didn't have time.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 10:01 AM
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Thanks for the info. I do plan to make reservations, they are only taking Spring reservations now, I'll be there May 26.
Sounds like the Historic tour might be a little boring, I'm sure the kids want to see all the cool formations, not just blah, blah, history. I'm considering, if they are offered, the Great Onyx Lantern tour, Frozen Niagara tour or Mammoth Passage tour. Anyone have info on these specific tours and what exactly you see?

Christensen is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2003, 10:05 AM
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Again...go to the website at:

There's a description of each tour.
kychris is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2003, 11:50 AM
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If I remember correctly several of the tours (including FROZEN NIAGARA) have many many ladder steps.

Depending how young your child is, you may not want that.

I'm sure if you call the national park reservations, whoever is on the phone will be able to help you decide what is best for children.
Syv is offline  
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