10 Best Things to Do in Cave City, Kentucky
Photo: Brian/Fotolia

Amid the gentle rolling hills of Central Kentucky lies Cave City, a small town of approximately 2,000 people. Cave City is a unique tourist destination in that it offers visitors two areas to explore. There are shops, restaurants, museums, and other attractions on the surface. Below the surface lie hundreds of miles of shallow caves that cross the Kentucky landscape. Visitors can view rock formations, underground rivers, and caverns thousands of years in the making.

»Diamond Caverns

Diamond Caverns

Diamond Caverns is open year-round and offers guided tours daily on a first-come, first-served basis. The tour covers a distance of one half-mile and showcases beautiful limestone rock formations and calcite drapery deposits. The cave is lighted with state-of-the-art white lighting. The tour does cover over 300 stairs, so wearing comfortable and supportive shoes is recommended. Diamond Caverns also offers a sluice mine where children can pan for gemstones. Diamond Caverns is adjacent to Mammoth Cave National Park. There is also a RV resort and golf club next to the property. Diamond Caverns is closed on major holidays.

1900 Mammoth Cave Parkway, Park City, KY 42160, Phone: 270-749-2233 Photo: Diamond Caverns

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»Dinosaur World Kentucky

Dinosaur World Kentucky

At Dinosaur World, children and adults can walk among dozens of life-sized dinosaur replica statues and play on the dinosaur themed playground. The park also contains a fossil dig, where children can dig through the sand for treasures such as small fossils and shark teeth. At the Bone Yard, guests can use brushes to extract a large skeleton from the sand. Children can also pan for gems in the mining sluice. The on-site prehistoric museum contains displays of real fossils and information about the pre-historic history of the area. Books, games, geodes, and other treasures are available for purchase in the park's gift shop.

711 Mammoth Cave Road, Cave City, KY 42127, Phone: 270-773-4345 Photo: Dinosaur World Kentucky

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»Onyx Cave

Onyx Cave

Onyx Cave, discovered in 1971, was opened for tours in 1973. It is a wet cave where underground water is actively creating beautiful formations for guests to view. Stalactites, stalagmites, columns, flowstone, cave coral, and layered mineral deposits known as “cave bacon” can all be found here. Onyx Cave is open year-round and is a comfortable 60 degrees at all times. The tour lasts approximately 30 minutes and is an easy walk for tourists of all ages. Next door is the Onyx Cave rock shop where visitors can purchases rocks, fossils, and books.

93 Huckleberry Knob Road, Cave City, KY 42127, Phone: 270-773-2323 Photo: Onyx Cave

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»Hidden River Cave and American Cave Museum

Hidden River Cave and American Cave Museum

As its name implies, Hidden River Cave contains two subterranean rivers that once provided power to the town of Horse Cave, Kentucky. The cave and the power plant have been preserved, and today they can be toured daily. Longer, guided cave tours are available but must be booked in advance. Above ground, guests can learn about the history of the cave and the geology and archeology of the local area in the American Cave Museum. Beautiful cave rocks, geodes, and fossils are available for purchase in the museum's gift shop. You can also do an exciting zip-line tour and vertical cave rappelling challenge on-site.

119 E. Main St., Horse Cave, KY 42749, Phone: 270-786-1466 Photo: Hidden River Cave and American Cave Museum

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»Kentucky Action Park

Kentucky Action Park

Kentucky Action Park is the place to go for outdoor family fun. Children and adults alike can enjoy miniature golf, go carts, bumper cars, and the quarter-mile long Alpine Slide. At the Jesse James Stables, guided horseback rides throughout the 500-acre park are offered daily, March through November. The park also contains a zip-line, rock climbing wall, and a large trampoline. On-site cabins with full bathrooms and small kitchens are available to rent, so visitors can spend the whole day and night at the park. Campsites with water and electric hook-ups are also available.

3057 Mammoth Cave Road, Cave City, KY 42127, Phone: 1-800-798-0560 Photo: Kentucky Action Park

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»Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo

Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo

Kentucky Down Under is a zoo and park located off of Interstate 65 near Horse Cave. The zoo features animal species from Australia such as kangaroos, emus, kookaburras, and dingoes, as well as familiar species from North America such as bison, foxes, and arctic wolves. The zoo also has a large collection of exotic birds, including cockatiels, macaws, parrots, and lorikeets, which guests can feed by hand. The entrance to Onyx Cave is located inside the park, and the brief, easy walking tour of the cave is included with park admission. Kentucky Down Under Adventure is open daily except on major holidays.

3700 L & N Turnpike Road, Horse Cave, KY 42749, Phone: 270-786-1010 Photo: Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo

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»Mammoth City Wildlife Museum

Mammoth City Wildlife Museum

The Mammoth City Wildlife Museum is a 14,000 square foot gallery that hosts an impressive collection of taxidermy animals and preserved insects and marine life. Guests will see real, preserved animals such as lions, leopards, bears, deer, sheep, and tigers. The museum also has a large insect collection as well as many stuffed birds. The wildlife museum is open daily, with extended hours in the summer.

409 Harper Valley Road, Cave City, KY 42127, Phone: 270-773-2255 Photo: sasimoto/Fotolia

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»Green River Canoeing

Green River Canoeing

The rolling hills and natural rivers and streams of Kentucky make it an excellent place for kayaking and canoeing. Green River Canoeing offers canoe and kayak rentals and shuttle service to and from the Green River. Trips go through Mammoth Cave National Park and range in length from a few hours to a few days. Boaters can view woodland scenery, beautiful river bluffs, and native Kentucky wildlife, all from the water. Camping is available along the river, and fishing without a state license is allowed inside the park. Reservations are required for overnight trips.

3057 Mammoth Cave Road, Cave City, KY 42127, Phone: 270-773-5712 Photo: Green River Canoeing

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»Mammoth Cave Adventures

Mammoth Cave Adventures

Mammoth Cave Adventures is home to the only zip-line canopy tour in central Kentucky. Guests can take in 60 acres of the Kentucky wilderness from two separate courses while reaching speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. The park also contains Kentucky's only vertical free-fall tower, the Mammoth Cave Drop Tower, and a 40-foot giant pendulum swing. For the less adventurous, one-hour guided horseback rides through the nearby forests can also be purchased here. Mammoth Cave Adventures is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tours may be cancelled in inclement weather.

1994 Roy Hunter Road, Cave City, KY 42127, Phone: 270-773-6087 Photo: Mammoth Cave Adventures

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»Mammoth Cave Canoe and Kayak

Mammoth Cave Canoe and Kayak

One of the best ways to view the beautiful forests and hills of Mammoth Cave National Park is by boat. Mammoth Cave Canoe and Kayak offers boat rentals and transportation to the Green River, which winds throughout the park, and trips ranging from four hours to three days are also available. All trips are easy in difficulty and contain no rapids. Native Kentucky animals such as deer, squirrels, chipmunks, turtles, and more can all be seen from the water. Float trips are offered daily, and no reservation is required except for large groups.

1240 Old Mammoth Cave Road, Cave City, KY 42127, Phone: 877-59CANOE Photo: Mammoth Cave Canoe and Kayak

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10 Best Things to Do in Cave City, Kentucky