Before I got married, a previous boyfriend and I went on a weekend trip to Kentuckey. One of the stops that we made was at Mammoth Cave, and believe me it was just a spur of a moment decision to go on a tour. We got our tickets and then had to wait to nearly dusk for the tour of the cave, but that was perfectly fine, since we decided to go get lost on a few of the hiking trails that were available to us in the summertime heat.
The tour guide that we had gathered us around and began to hand out lit lanterns for our trip down to the mouth of the cave, we were going in as they used to in 1816 when the cave didn't have electricity and down we went, at least thankfully, it was cooler within the cave, then it was in the muggy night time air and I was thankful for that completely. The tour started out with the saltpeter mines, and yes it is an area that still being excavated today, and they used to use logs, cedar to help transport water that was needed for the mining process.
Our next stop was Elizabeth's Dome, where we were told a ghost story about a couple of young lovers and its still said that the ghost of Elizabeth ( I think that was the name) still haunted the cave today, the tour guide that we had said that she saw her during one of her many tours that she gave.
We went through many different areas of the Cave, the Giant's Coffin, the Mummy's ledge, Broadway Avenue, the narrows, Rotundra. But two places have stuck out in my head since I took that tour nearly three years ago were the Star Chamber and the Tuberculosis Huts.
The Star Chamber, was named that because of a type of mineral that is found within the cave, and the name of it alludes me to this day. But they sat us down and then immersed us in complete darkness while they played the sounds of nature and took us the sunrise, noon and sunset, by the guide and volunteers going to a different part of the cave and coming back to where we were.
The Cave at one point in our history was home to the sick and dying because of a theory that the air that the cave held was helpful to the patients with Tuberculosis. Alot of people died within the caves, and the poor docter, did also die of tuberculosis. That was one of the more sombering parts of the tour, even though as we walked through that section one of the guides was laying on a rock formation and tried to scare those who walked past. I luckily had the lantern and was able to see him and put the ex-boyfriend on the other side so he would get that effect.
The Cave, itself is a wonderful place to visit, it is a dry cave, meaning that the cave itself is not growing, it has already finished that stage, so you are allowed to touch things that you wouldn't be allowed to in a wet cave, the chemicals in the human skin would kill the rock within the cave, if it still forming.
I do recommend this as a tour and even the others that are available, the prices are affordable. Its only fifteen dollars for an adult, eleven dollars for those who are 6-12 years old, and for the Seniors it is only seven dollars and fifty cents. Further note, it is a three hour tour, and three miles of walking with no bathrooms within the caves, so be sure to go to the bathroom before going on any tour, and no snacks are provided but you will certainly work up an appetite from the tour itself, luckily there are ammenties nearby.