Natural adventures await just a short drive south to Mammoth Cave National Park.

At the park 70 miles of nature trails can be explored and visitors can canoe along the Green River and explore the massive cave.

Mammoth Cave National Park, in the Central Time Zone, is open year round but the hours vary by season. It’s best to check the park’s website for current hours and tour times.

Tours include Frozen Nia­gara, Historic, Domes and Dripstones, Accessible, Grand Avenue, Vio­let City Lantern, Star Chamber, Discovery and Wild Cave. Each tour differs in length and physical difficulty. The website provides detailed information of what to expect from each option.

Jack and Lyndsey Taylor took their family on a trip to Mammoth Cave National Park last week. They went on the Historic Tour and took two hikes near the visitor center.

“I like going because it’s a totally different experience and setting than anywhere else we could go, plus we stay active the whole time with all the walking, climbing steps and the long hill back to the visitor center,” Lyndsey said. “The kids love it when they turn off all of the lights in the cave and the tour guides do a really good job teach­ing about the cave’s history as well.”

Visitors also can do many activities above ground at the park, including hikes, ranger-led activities and horseback adventures.

On the water, boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing all are options.

Camping and lodge facilities are available at the park for an overnight stay. Camping on the river is another option.

Jack said he loved the history he learned on the family’s visit.

“Especially learning about Stephen Bishop,” he said. “He has a great story and example.”

Bishop was one of the early explorers of the caving system.

He said the family also enjoyed walking trails and the visitor center’s museum.

“I love going to the cave tours in the summer because it is always 54 degrees in the cave,” he said.

Mammoth Cave also takes efforts to preserve the natural environment and wildlife found near the caves.

A disease called white-nose syndrome that can kill bats and bat populations is not known to affect humans but can be transmitted by them. Because of that possibility, each visitor participating in a Mammoth Cave National Park cave tour is required to walk the length of an artificial turf mat and biocleaning mats to remove spores and dirt after exiting the cave.

Along with the adventures in the park, nearby Cave City provides many activities including zip lines, adventure parks, Dinosaur World and Kentucky Down Under.

If you are mapping directions online, Mammoth Cave National Park’s address is 1 Mammoth Cave Parkway in Mammoth Cave.

For information, go to www.nps.gov/maca or www.cavecity.com.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1740 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

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