One thing that I really, really, want to do is visit all of the National Parks. (Just the actual 56,(I think!) parks in US states. Not all 392 areas under the care of the National Park Service, and I'm not too worried about getting the the one in American Samoa or the Virgin Islands.) In order to accomplish this, and get the kids to as many as possible, we have started trying to go to at least one National Park a year. This is our second year. Last year we went to Great Smoky Mountains. We stayed in a cabin, and an 8 hour drive took more like 10, (Addie was only four months old, and required frequent nursing breaks!) but it went pretty great considering there were three little kids!
This year, we decided to visit Mammoth Cave. We chose this park because it had the least driving time. We are going on a big vacation later in the summer (Disney!), so we wanted to get our National Park trip in without it being a huge ordeal. We decided to camp in our tent. (Unlike Smoky Mountains, we didn't have to worry about bears!) Overall, the trip was really great, surprisingly kid friendly, and an easy weekend get-away.
It was a beautiful day. After we got the campsite all set up, we went on our cave tour! We chose the Frozen Niagra Tour. It was rated as the easiest tour to do with kids, and the tour with the most formations. It was amazing!
There's a tent under there!
A view of the Green River from the ferry.
Rippy's Smokin' Bar and Grill. Then we went to the best place to buy posters in the world, Hatch Show Print. I was pretty excited to get the two new posters that will soon be gracing our walls!
All in all, a pretty great trip! I am already thinking about next year's!
***A few tips on taking a trip to Mammoth Cave***
*We went on the campground's opening weekend, and did not need a reservation. Later in the season is busier, so it is reccommended to reserve a campsite before you go.
*You can purchase tickets for some of the cave tours before you go. However, none of the tours rated "easy" are available for pre-purchse. You must go to the visitor's center and purchase tickets after arriving at the park. They do sell out, so it is a good idea to make that your first stop.
*With the exception of the cave tours, all of the other ranger led activities are free! There were some really great activities offered!
*Pretty much nothing is allowed in the cave. No purses, diaper bags, food, drinks, camera bags, or backpack style baby carriers. There is a full list available on their website, and in the brochures you get at the park. Two exceptions are front style baby carriers (we took a Baby Bjorn in) and cameras not in a case.