Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

by Sandra Merville Hart

Over 300,000 people visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico every year. Over 119 caves lie beneath vast deserts and canyons.

Explore the cave

Rangers encourage everyone to see the 8-acre Big Room, the main section of the cave. This is the only section that contains a lunch room. From there, tourists can take guided tours or explore certain areas on their own.

Guided tours with rangers

Park rangers lead several tours. Explore Left Hand Tunnel by the light of a handheld lantern. Go to Slaughter Canyon Cave to find a Christmas tree formation.

Bat Flight

Brazilian Free-tailed bats fly from the cave at dusk every night by the hundred thousands. Watch this amazing sight during the Bat Flight program at the park’s amphitheater from May to September.

Bats leave the cave daily to find insects for food. Bats can eat 600 mosquitoes in an hour.

 Night Sky Events

Rangers lead a night hike on a rugged desert trail that is suitable for all ages. It begins after the Bat Flight Program ends.

Take a scenic drive

A seven-mile drive on Walnut Canyon’s gravel loop travels along a ridge to Rattlesnake Canyon.

Wildlife at the park

Along with bats, guests to the park may see the gray-banded kingsnake, the Rio Grande cooter turtle, mule deer, mountain lions, and black bears.

 

Sources:

“Carlsbad Caverns,” National Park Service, 2016/01/07 http://www.nps.gov/cave/index.htm.

Flynn, Sarah Wassner. National Geographic Kids: National Parks Guide U.S.A., National Geographic Society, 2012.

McHugh, Erin. National Parks: A Kid’s Guide to America’s Parks, Monuments, and Landmarks, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc., 2012.

 

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