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Old 09-22-2014, 06:50 PM
 
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My wife and I are thinking about spending two nights in the Mammoth Cave area in October. I went to Mammoth Cave as a child, and I would like to take my wife since she has never been inside of a cave. We are thinking about staying at "Serenity Hill Bed and Breakfast" or one of the similar places and taking a cave tour.

Is Serenity Hill a good place to stay? Are there better recommendations for something affordable and close by?

I saw several cave tours on the Mammoth Cave website. Is there one in particular that you recommend?

What else is there to do around Mammoth Cave? Antiques? Cool souvenir shops? Must-see local restaurants? Scenic hiking trails? Names of places would help so I can look up their locations.

Has anyone been to "Kentucky Down Under" in Horse Cave, KY? My wife loves animals, but I don't want to drive somewhere for a tiny zoo. Is it good? We went to a zoo in FL one time that was microscopic and not worth the drive.

We plan on driving South to Nashville and staying two nights.

Thanks guys and gals!
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Old 09-22-2014, 08:25 PM
 
Location: In the Pearl of the Purchase, Ky
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Hope you have a great trip! I haven't been down in Mammoth Caves since my high school years (70s). I can tell you, as far as zoo, Nashville is your closest, other than Down Under. Haven't been there. Here's what the state website has on that area. Caves, Lakes & Corvettes - Corvette Museum Bowling Green Of course you'll be going right by the Corvette Museum on the way to Nashville. If you look at the map on that state website and see Hodgenville a little north of Cave City on I-65 (google says 43 miles), You can visit the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park. Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park - Hodgenville, Kentucky
About 20 miles south of there is the Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home, at Knob Creek, Ky. Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home at Knob Creek - Hodgenville, Kentucky
If you want to drive a little, Cave City is just an hour from Ft. Knox, home of the U.S. Gold Depository. Take 65 to Elizabethtown then 31W and you'll see the Depository from the highway. Can't get near that building but Ft. Knox does have the Gen. George S. Patton Museum. Official website of Fort Knox, Kentucky General George Patton Museum - Fort Knox, Kentucky, Kentucky
But, during this drive, you're not going to be far from Bardstown, (about the same distance to Knox, an hour) home of My Old Kentucky Home and other sites. Things To Do in Bardstown, KY | Bardstown Tourism We stopped by the Jim Beam distillery on our way to Bardstown.
I know I may be getting carried away here but you can see there's a lot to see using Cave City as you "base of operations" as my dad says.
As far as the tours through Mammoth Cave, on that high school trip we took the 4 hour walking tour and ate lunch in the Snowball room a couple hundred feet underground. My wife wanted to go underground but with a bad back and other health problems, she started looking at the guide and how many stairs you had to go up and down on each tour and cancelled out. Fall 2014 - Mammoth Cave National Park (U.S. National Park Service)
Have a good trip no matter what you go see, but keep us posted! And, if you go to Nashville, you'll need more than a couple days to see much.
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Old 09-23-2014, 06:47 AM
 
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Kentucky Down Under is great: well-cared for, kindly and affectionately treated (mostly) Australian birds and animals on the surface, and a small but gorgeously "decorated" cave below. There are programs featuring the animals and various aspects of Aboriginal culture, plus more typical tourist amenities - souvenirs, a fudge factory, picnic tables, and so on.

Just down the road from KDU is downtown Horse Cave, with Hidden River Cave and the adjacent cave museum. There used to be some good antique shops on Main Street just across the street from the museum, but I haven't been there for a few years.

Cave City, just outside of Mammoth Cave National Park, is filled with antique shops lining its Main Street. The "city" very small, but close at hand and well-worth a visit.

The Frozen Niagara tour of Mammoth Cave is very scenic, but does include lots of stairs - however, you'd be going down instead of up. The historic entrance tours are also very informative, but focus on history rather than cave formations, as this portion of the cave isn't as "decorated" as other parts. The park's visitor center includes a museum featuring the natural and human history of the cave and the park, and the rangers are friendly, well-informed, and can help you find the right tour for maximum enjoyment. There are also lots of activities on the surface: hiking trails, wildlife walks, and more. Fall color is very good, too, as the surface is hilly and heavily wooded.

There are many other tourist caves in the area, and all have their own character and history, so if caves are your thing, you'll be visiting the right place! Enjoy your vacation.
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Old 09-23-2014, 08:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by CraigCreek View Post
Kentucky Down Under is great: well-cared for, kindly and affectionately treated (mostly) Australian birds and animals on the surface, and a small but gorgeously "decorated" cave below. There are programs featuring the animals and various aspects of Aboriginal culture, plus more typical tourist amenities - souvenirs, a fudge factory, picnic tables, and so on.

Just down the road from KDU is downtown Horse Cave, with Hidden River Cave and the adjacent cave museum. There used to be some good antique shops on Main Street just across the street from the museum, but I haven't been there for a few years.

Cave City, just outside of Mammoth Cave National Park, is filled with antique shops lining its Main Street. The "city" very small, but close at hand and well-worth a visit.

The Frozen Niagara tour of Mammoth Cave is very scenic, but does include lots of stairs - however, you'd be going down instead of up. The historic entrance tours are also very informative, but focus on history rather than cave formations, as this portion of the cave isn't as "decorated" as other parts. The park's visitor center includes a museum featuring the natural and human history of the cave and the park, and the rangers are friendly, well-informed, and can help you find the right tour for maximum enjoyment. There are also lots of activities on the surface: hiking trails, wildlife walks, and more. Fall color is very good, too, as the surface is hilly and heavily wooded.

There are many other tourist caves in the area, and all have their own character and history, so if caves are your thing, you'll be visiting the right place! Enjoy your vacation.
I love Mammoth Caves...been their twice, once as a kid and then again in 2011 with my wife...
This time of year in late October you'll be able to see the fall color on the hillsides and ridges along the Green river....it's the best time to visit. However, the cave will be chilly....

Never been "KDU" but heard good things about it and "yes" "Cave City" is a nice place.....I also like Brownsville as well...
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:11 AM
 
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A light jacket should be just fine for Mammoth Cave (or any of the many other caves in the area). Cave temperatures are stable year-round, and are usually in the low to mid-fifties. You'll be walking at a moderate pace during most of the cave tours, so factor that in as well. Good walking shoes are recommended.
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by CraigCreek View Post
A light jacket should be just fine for Mammoth Cave (or any of the many other caves in the area). Cave temperatures are stable year-round, and are usually in the low to mid-fifties. You'll be walking at a moderate pace during most of the cave tours, so factor that in as well. Good walking shoes are recommended.

Yeah My wife and I went in June of 2011, it was in the upper 90's outside...we hit that cave and it was like walking into pure AC!!
It was a relief after walking up the trail aliong the ridge over the green river...it was soo hot and sticky down in those woods on that trail. However, I'd love to walk that trail during October and see al those leaves.... My wife is from Argentina, she's never seen woods, nor trees like that. Big tall Hickories and Oaks, Beech trees....she was totally fascinated by the huge trees LOL.

we still have pictures....
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Old 09-24-2014, 03:13 PM
 
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This thread is timely in that I just did the "Historic Tour" of the cave. It was awesome!!!
Now, I want to rent a cabin and stay up there for a long weekend and just explore. All the little junque and 'soovineer' shacks on the way there actually added to the experience--lolz
It is very cold, and just a warning, they say if you question your physical abilities, think about which tour you take. I thought it was just standard tour guide disclaimerisms, but certain parts of the cave and the climb out were really hard. One older individual had to be taken out the back way when he couldn't make it through the "Fat Mans Regret" part of the cave. Also, I had T-Mobile, and got a big red stop sign pop-up on my phone that said "call not allowed" every time I tried to make a call. So, make sure your plans are very clear between all the people involved in the trip.
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Old 09-24-2014, 05:52 PM
 
Location: New Albany, Indiana (Greater Louisville)
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Always take a light coat into a cave, even in the summer. It stays in the 50s year round and there are lots of water falls that can get you wet. MCNP tours are pretty hard hiking excursions. Wear good shoes and make sure you're in average shape. I like hiking so I enjoy it, but don't take a 2 year old child down there like I've seen people do lol. It's amazing how beautiful nature is even under ground.

There are lots of private cave tours outside the park boundary too. KY Down Under and Crystal Onyx are both top notch.
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Old 09-24-2014, 06:47 PM
 
Location: In the Pearl of the Purchase, Ky
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Thunderkat, you mean you tried using your phone IN the cave? I'm glad I wasn't in that tour group.
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Old 09-24-2014, 07:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kygman View Post
Thunderkat, you mean you tried using your phone IN the cave? I'm glad I wasn't in that tour group.
No, of course not!
Outside, waiting for my friends to arrive . . . They were coming in from another state. Its nice if everybody can maintain contact in these type of plans. Everything went OK, just very frustrating thinking that if something happened, got lost etc, no way to know about it.
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