As thrilled as we are to view and experience the majestic heights of the mountains, we are just as excited about the wonders that can be found beneath the surface of the earth. Carlsbad Caverns (southern New Mexico) is a great place for just such an experience. Before we even got into the caverns, we were excited that they have pet kennels on-site. Many people travel with their pets and we cannot leave them in our vehicles when it's warm, or in this case HOT. With our dog safe, we could take our time in the cavern without worry. It is a lot of walking, but then you don't have to walk the whole cavern. You can, when the elevator is working, go down, look around and then leave. The elevator was out of order the day we visited, so the walk was longer. There are also other caverns for a variety of experiences and varying degrees of challenge that you can choose at Carlsbad. Another great feature is the bat emergence. We have not seen this at Carlsbad, but we have seen other bat emergences that were spectacular. We watched one in Texas that was one of the larger bat colonies with millions of bats emerging from the cave in a short span of time. We have been to bat emergences from caves, tunnels, and under bridges. We highly recommend seeing this event, and you can do that at Carlsbad Caverns in the evening.
Inside the cavern, it is damp and temps are cool. It's quieter. The "trail" is clearly marked and not a worry even in the dimmer environment. There are a variety of formations, each outdoing the other in their amazingness, forms like straws, pipes, and other shapes. The formations are intricate and delicate, while also massive and towering. Just look at the detail! It's tons of fun to see what each formation or group of shapes looks like, just like seeing pictures in the clouds or Rorschach ink blots. You can find jaws of a shark, a lion's head, castles, and the landscapes of planets in distant galaxies. How can anyone choose a favorite? There are too many to choose from! This was one of our grandson's favorite stops on this particular adventure (5 weeks through the Southwest.)