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One of the best and cheapest family outings you’ll find is a visit to your nearest National Park. There’s no better way to spend quality time together than exploring our nation’s valuable resources and rich history.
Mammoth Caves National Park is located in south Kentucky near the Tennessee border, about an hour and a half from Nashville. Those Kentucky hills have maze of treasures beneath them, and a trip to Mammoth Caves will only reveal the tiniest glimpse of them. But it’s worth it.
This was my second visit, and I have to admit, my first was better. The first time Hubs and I visited, the kids were too small to take down. The tour we took, “Frozen Niagara,” has winding passages, grand rooms, and a few minutes of freak-yourself-out no-lights. It was memorable.
|Remains of the original 1812 saltpetre mine. |
The dry, cool conditions of the cave are ideal
for preserving wood
During the War of 1812, the area was used as a saltpetre mine. Because of the centuries of bat guano (pooh), the ground of the cave contains high levels of potassium nitrate (a.k.a. saltpetre) which is used in the production of explosives. During the war, the British cut off our supply of explosives, so without mines such as the one in Mammoth Caves, we would not have been able to fight them.
|"petered out" dirt|
I often classify my park visits by how friendly the rangers are. (Park Rangers, take note!!) Sad to say, Mammoth Caves ticket staff were the opposite of friendly. If you happen to visit, when you get up to the counter to purchase your tour ticket, you better not have any questions, because it’s not their job to answer them. At least, according to our ticket saleslady.
Word to the wise—if you plan to make national parks a regular part of your life, buy a National Park Passport! Have it stamped at every park you visit. Each of my kids has their own. It’s something they cherish and a hobby they can take with them into adulthood.