Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

Our next destination on our list is Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico.  It is located in southern New Mexico.  The weather is warm, sunny and gorgeous! On the drive to Carlsbad we drove through the most western part of Texas. We hit a bonus National park, The Guadalupe Mountains!  The highway took us right by El Capitan, how cool!  We were able to stop at the visitor center, learn some information from the park ranger, and earn junior ranger badges.  

We arrived at Carlsbad Caverns at 4 PM and they stop selling tickets to go into the Caverns at 3:30!  That's alright, we walked over to the natural entrance and walked through the museum.  Horrible, no good, very bad news....Christian dropped his Go Pro at the entrance of the Visitor center and broke the lens!  So, no video of the awesome caverns and no videos until he can replace the lens on his camera.  Good news, it is replaceable and it can be replaced for $20. 

We stayed the night right outside the National park and woke up extra early to get in line for cavern tickets as soon as they opened. The tickets were free for us because of Elijah's Every Kid in a Park National Park pass! Every Fourth grader in the United States can get an annual pass that gets themselves and their family into National parks for FREE the year they are in fourth grade.  Eli loves the fact that he is paying for his family to get into all of these awesome places ;)

We rode an elevator 900 feet down into the heart of the caverns.  We walked out into a large cave room, it was cold and humid, and absolutely amazing! There are miles of trails under the earth in the caverns showcasing God's amazing artwork in stalagmites and stalactites.  Every step we took someone was saying "wow" or ohhing and ahhing.  We walked all the trails and climbed the natural entrance out of the cave. The kids are now Junior Rangers of Carlsbad Caverns National Park.  I will make sure to add a picture of their cool badges on a future post.

*The cave was discovered in 1898 by a 16 year old cowboy named Jim White.  After the discovery, people harvested bat guano from the caves for fertilizer. The caves were later dedicated into a national park in the early 1920's. Explorations of the caves continue to this day.  Bat guano is no longer harvested.  You can watch the bats leave the cave at sunset at the natural entrance. ( The natural entrance smells like bat guano.)

 

El Capitan from the highway

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is in the vast Chihuahuan Desert of western Texas.

We made it!

Natural entrance (below) into the cave. Bat flight viewing area.

 We are inside the cave...900 feet below ground!

Check out this ceiling...I'm praying nothing falls.

Bat boys...Just hanging at the caverns 

This is path we have taken across the United States so far!