While access to the park itself comes with no fee payable, you do need to pay for tours, which each have a different price. You don’t have to book your place on a cave tour, but it is strongly recommended that you do, as there are a limited amount of places on each tour, and you don’t want to travel all the way to the park to discover there isn’t room for you on a much anticipated experience.
Safety is always an important consideration when you visit any natural environment, but possibly more so in an area defined by caves. Always ensure that someone knows where you are off to, when you have a yen to go and walk along a cave path. There are a number of plotted paths in the caves, but you don’t want to get lost in a place which is not only dark, but also cold. Remember that most of the caves do not permit the use of flash photography and you need to bring flashlights.
Dress appropriately for the caves. The walks can be strenuous for a number of different reasons, ranging from the darkness to the slippery surfaces to a sense of feeling enclosed. If you are not comfortable to enter a cave, just don’t. Also, there are a fair amount of wild animals in the area. Do not engage with them: even a raccoon in this kind of context can be dangerous.
And thinking of animals in this national park, there’s one creature that only exists here, nowhere else in the world, that you might be fortunate enough to see when you visit. It’s the Kentucky cave shrimp. It’s heavily endangered, but is an albino shrimp and thrives in the darkness of the caves.
You might think of caves and think of bats and their bad reputation in idioms and children’s fairy tales. In truth, bats are fascinating creatures that use a form of radar to communicate, and there are at least five distinct species of bat that live in the caves or their surrounds. They won’t lay eggs in your hair, or whatever it is that old wives’ tales have warned you about bats, but need to be treated with the same caution and respect with which you would regard any other wild animal in its own environment.
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