Over Thanksgiving weekend, my sister and the kids and I made a drive west to hit up a few National Parks. Our first stop was Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. We had stayed the previous night in the town of Carlsbad. The caverns are then an easy half hour drive.
With over 119 caves, it’s as big as you can imagine. It’s the fifth largest cave/chamber in the States and the twenty-eighth largest in the world. It was made a National Monument in 1923 and put under the National Park Service in 1930.
There are a few ways to go about touring the caverns. There are multiple guided tours ranging from 1.5 to 5.5 hours. These book up, so make reservations as far in advance as you can. Self guided tours are also an option. If you choose to do it yourself, you can either walk down into the cave, which took us about 2 hours, or you can take the elevator down to the Big Room and miss out on all that walking. The paths down into the cave were steep at times, but there were railings the entire way and benches periodically. We didn’t have any issues, nor did the kids. My daughter wasn’t too fond of the dark, but there were enough lights that seeing wasn’t a problem either.
Once you get down into the Big Room, there are bathrooms, a restaurant, and the elevators. Back up top, the visitor’s center has information about how the caves were formed. They also had a big gift shop, a book shop, and a restaurant. I recommend eating here. There isn’t anything else around unless you go back to Carlsbad.