Activities for Children at Mammoth Cave National Park Kentucky

The history of Mammoth Cave spans thousands of years since the underground rivers eroded 390 miles of passageways through the limestone. The thick stone topped with sandstone makes the underground experience a safe venture for the whole family. The 52,830 acre park, originally established as a National Park in 1941, became a World Heritage Site in 1981 and since 1990 has been an international Biosphere Reserve. Several generations of ancient Native Americans had used areas of the caves as burial chambers, and a discovery in 1935 of a body trapped beneath a boulder, which was deemed an accidental death, was displayed until the 1970’s, when  the remains were interred to respect the Native American culture. 

The Mammoth Cave National Park is located off Interstate 65, at 1 Mammoth Cave Parkway, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. The Mammoth Cave National Park, while extending into areas of both Hart and Barren County, is located in Edmonson County. The park visitor center hours do vary by season, and a quick check at the website before a trip will give the current hours.  Once there the activities available go far beyond exploration and spelunking. With wildflower tours, horseback riding, camping and river activities the cave explorations are just the tip of the stalactite.

The National Park’s majestic beauty can captivate the imagination of any child. Add to that the age old mystery of Mammoth Cave and its programs especially suited for the older, more curious children. For the kids 8-12, the ‘Trog Tour’ led by two rangers provides a guided cave tour from the child’s perspective. For the older kids, including mom and dad there is the ‘Introduction to Caving.’ Seasonally available is the ‘Nature Track for Kids,’ a ranger led 45 minutes of fun and games. The ‘Junior Ranger Program’ gives the kids 6-12, a chance to earn a certificate and Junior Ranger badge, after participation in fun ranger led activities.

Entry to Mammoth Cave National Park is free, and the visitor center is open every day, except for December 25th. Various fees, ranging from $3-$40, apply to the cave tours and kids’ programs, and reservations are highly recommended. Other then the kids’ programs at the park, there are activities for the whole family. The Mammoth Cave National Park has four camp grounds, a bike trail, canoeing on the Green River, fishing and hiking. While a few hours to explore the caves can be a rewarding experience, the National Park Service recommends making Mammoth Cave National Park a three day visit to fully encompass all that the park offers.