Mammoth Caves Kentucky - An Exciting Experience
By Ada Smith
The Mammoth Cave is among the oldest tourist attractions in North America. Tours started as early as 1816.
In 1941, Mammoth Caves gained the status of national park. It went on to become a World Heritage Site in 1981 and an international Biosphere Reserve nine years later.
The caves cover a surface of 52,830 acres and the Mammoth Caves park encompasses large parts of Edmonson County, Kentucky and a smaller area of Hart County and Barren Counties.
The Cave was discovered in 1797 by the European John Houchins. Later on, it was bought by Franklin Gorin who used his slaves as guides. Remember Kentucky was part of the South during the civil war. Therefore slaves were plentiful in the area. The African-American slave Stephen Bishop, was among the first persons to draw extensive maps of the cave, and became a legendary figure of the sight, which he described as a 'grand, gloomy and peculiar place'.
The Mammoth Caves were used by Native Americans as a burial place, as most mummies presented evidence of pre-Columbian funerary practice. The only exception were the remains of a pre-Columbian miner, who had been accidentally killed by an enormous boulder. He is called 'Lost John', and was first exhibited to the public and then buried in a secret location of the park.
The park is visited by almost 2 million people every year. The main attractions remain features such as Grand Avenue, Frozen Niagara, and Fat Man's Misery. The cave tours vary in difficulty and length, the cave being either lighted electrically or by the paraffin lamps carried by the visitors themselves. Along with these tours, visitors can choose among plentiful outdoor recreation activities, such as riverboat rides, campfire programs, hiking, biking, riding or canoeing and kayaking.
If you are looking for a place to stay after visiting the National Park, try out BookYourStay.com which provides a nice list of all the hotels closest to the caves.
Another good resource for travel information at Mammoth Caves National Park is MammothCaves.us. This is an unbiased review of information pertaining to your visit.
Ada Smith is an author and writes for many business and travel related websites including http://www.mammothcaves.us.