Posted May 14, 2010 by Jaclyn Liechti
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, located in southern New Mexico, is comprised of 117 caves (part of a system of more than 300). Unlike most caves, these weren't created by running water; they were formed by sulfuric acid, which dissolved the surrounding limestone. There are several different tours available beneath the earth, including self-guided tours of the Natural Entrance and the Big Room and guided tours of Kings Palace, Left Hand Tunnel, and Hall of the White Giant. The grounds are also open for camping and hiking.
Bat Flight Program: From Memorial Day weekend through mid-October, visitors can watch bats exit the caves around sunset or return to them pre-dawn. The free program includes a talk by a park ranger beforehand, and in the evening, the chance to sit back and watch as thousands of bats head out for their nightly feast. The early morning program offers the chance to see bats dive hundreds of feet to re-enter the caves. While the best flights can be seen in August or September, when baby bats join the mix, this awesome sight is worth catching anytime.
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(Photo: On the White Line via Flickr. CC Attribution. http://www.flickr.com/photos/42406847@N07/)