Nature — 05 September 2013
A cave that seems ready for Hollywood—whether the script is about running moonshine, hiding from authorities, alien planets or Kentucky’s underbelly.

By Hope S. Philbrick

Stalagmites and stalactites, cave popcorn and cave cauliflower are among the spectacular formations inside this spacious cave that’s 137-feet below the surface. When it rains, water drips into this active cave—so if you have a few hundred years to stand around, you could watch new formations grow. Alternately, take a picture, visit again in a few years to snap another, and see if you can spot any changes.

Mammoth Onyx CaveYour best bet is to simply appreciate how it looks now.

Mammoth Onyx Cave was discovered by a little girl named Martha in 1799. The first public tours of the cave began in the ‘20s.

Today, the cave is wet and natural, easy to tour and camera-ready.

What Distinguishes This Cave…

“It’s a perfect beginners cave,” says tour guide Cara Forsythe. If you’re not sure whether or not you’ll enjoy caving, try this one: It’s short at just an eighth-mile long, mostly wide open, and boasts pretty formations to capture your attention.

What To Do…

Talk to the animals: The cave is located at Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo, a family-friendly Australian-themed zoo with kangaroos, kookaburras and more.

Other nearby attractions include Kentucky Action Park, Hidden River Cave, Mammoth Cave National Park, Dinosaur World, Diamond Caverns, antique shopping and more.

Odds of Encountering Children…

Inevitable. For the best odds, visit when school is in session and from November 1 to mid-March.

Admission includes all exhibits including the zoo, aviary, woolshed, and more—except from November 1 to mid-March when the cave is the only attraction open.

Getting There…

Exit 58 off I-65 and follow the signs.

More Information…

Mammoth Onyx Cave

Horse Cave/Hart County Tourist Commission

Read More about the subterranean world “Under Kentucky”

– Photos © Horse Cave Hart County Tourism

Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.

HopeP_144Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. She became a freelance writer and editor because she believes that work and fun should not be mutually exclusive. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.


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