Our easy weekend getaway started with donuts and a 2.5-hour road trip. (sidenote: Donut Bank donuts are THE BEST donuts). About 45 minutes into our trip it was decided that all future map routes needed to be approved by Grant. The route I chose (which, in my defense, was listed as “fastest route”) took us this back-road, cockamamie way. While it may have been the fastest route to Mammoth Cave National Park, but it must have counted the very far end of the park as our “final destination” because once we arrived we still had a ferry ride (what?!) and 30 minutes through the woods to drive.
Once we arrived we stopped by the Visitors Center to schedule our cave tour. It is recommended to make a cave tour reservation in advance. I must have missed this note on their website because we did not make reservations in advance, which meant that the only cave tour available was the Self Guided Tour. We were hoping to take the Historic Modified Tour, but it was sold out.
Once we had our reservations for the afternoon locked in place, we headed over to Adventures of Mammoth Cave for a ziplining adventure. This was one of the highlights of our trip. The kids LOVED zip lining!!
After our zip, we headed back to the cave. As it turns out, the Self Guided Tour was plenty for our 4 & 6 year old. In fact, I’m not sure they would have been able to handle the 2-hour Historic Modified Tour at this point in the day. We were all hot, sweaty, and tired PLUS we hadn’t eaten anything since our stop at Donut Bank.
After the cave, we headed to our hotel for the night. It was still early in the evening, so thankfully our hotel had an indoor pool to kill some time in.
The next day we ate breakfast at our hotel then headed across the street to Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo. Another highlight!! We spent the next few hours riding around the zoo in our own personal golf cart. We got to pet and feed all kinds of animals, but our favorite was the kangaroos. I’m officially in love with kangaroos!
After the zoo, it was time to head home. We made a tiny out-of-the-way pitstop at Chaney’s Dairy Barn for some ice cream and to play on their awesome playground.
All-in-all it was a wonderful trip, one I would definitely repeat next year!
This was my second time visiting Mammoth Cave National Park. The first time was on a one-day trip, which made for a fun, but very long day. I definitely recommend an overnight stay if coming from Evansville.
Mammoth Cave National Park has so much more to offer than cave tours (although the cave tours are definitely a highlight!). They have camping, hiking, kayaking, fishing, etc.
Things To Know:
- Reservations! Definitely take the time to make a reservation ahead of time. We did not, so the only tour available was the self-guided tour. Book tickets here.
- Bring a jacket – The temperature inside of the cave always hovers around 54 degrees Fahrenheit.
Kentucky Down Under is such a unique zoo. They have so many different hands-on exhibits and shows, which is unlike many other zoo’s. The kangaroo exhibit was by far our favorite exhibit!
Another cool thing about Kentucky Down Under is the ability to rent golf carts. I must admit, our experience might have been a little less pleasant and a little more grouchy if we hadn’t had a golf cart. The golf cart was a great way to get around and a fun change of pace for the kids.
Onyx Cave is located on the Kentucky Down Under premises and cave tours are offered for free with admission. My 4 & 6-year-olds loved this cave tour because it felt like such an adventure. Lots (and lots) of steps, cave crickets, a little cave lake, and dripping noises, etc. The whole tour lasts 30 minutes, so it made for a nice break from the heat (remember, caves average 54 degrees year-round!).
Things To Know:
- Outside Food Welcome – We saw several people enjoying picnics, however, there is a snack station located by the kangaroos and other drinks/snacks located in the gift shop as well.
- Golf Cart – Golf Carts can be rented 24 hours in advance by calling the office.
- Cash For Tips – Between tipping at the animal shows and paying for food at the animal exhibits, you will definitely go through quite a bit of cash.