After a quick trip to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, we made our way into New Mexico to tour the Carlsbad Caverns. Carlsbad Caverns National Park is literally right down the road from Guadalupe Mountains National Park. As we were driving, we were waiting for a “Welcome to New Mexico” sign and drove right by it at first. It was this little itsy bitsy green sign that blended right in with all the other green signs around it that said, “Welcome to New Mexico”. We flipped a couple of U-turns and pulled off to get our picture with the sign.
One of our favorite parts about Carlsbad Caverns National Park is that you can go on cave tours on your own for free. We probably would have paid for a tour if we hadn’t already been in three other caves where we learned all about names of formations and how caves are formed. But since our trip has taught us a lot about caves, we headed in on our own. This was one of our favorite caves! It was so nice going at our own pace without 30-100 other people scurrying about around us. We spent about three hours going through the cave, and then took the elevator (the only way out of the cave after 3:00) up to the surface.
We were waiting at the national park until sundown to watch the bats fly out, so we set up our chairs in the shade that our car provided, got the stove out, and made some dinner.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is well known for the hundreds of thousands of bats that fly out every night at sunset (some estimates are in excess of 400,000 bats). They have a big amphitheater set up at the cave’s natural entrance where everyone gathers to watch this natural phenomenon happen. Due to this being a natural phenomenon and some federal law, we were not about to take any pictures of the bats flying out. Yes, we thought about being sneaky sneaky and taking some photos or videoing it on the gopro, but once we heard about the couple hundred dollar fine for taking pictures, or even having your phone on, saw the police officer starring down the croud to catch someone in action, and saw how people were literally tattling on people they saw with their cameras out before the bats even began to come out, we decided we would just enjoy the “show” electronic free. This was such an amazing experience. Yes, bats are gross and stinky, but the bats flying out of the cave was beautiful! You can look this up online and some pictures will show up that people have taken after obtaining a permit to do so. This is something well worth the wait till sundown to watch if you’re ever in the area of Carlsbad Caverns National Park.