While we have been in New Mexico we have had a horrible time getting out and sight seeing. The reasoning is because I have been pregnant most of the time we have been here. Now that I am healed from giving birth and our boys are finally big enough, we decided to travel out of town for the day. Where to? Well the Carlsbad Caverns in southern New Mexico. We drove 2 hours south through Roswell, which was an awesome visit, but we didn't get to stop and shop (might have to do that before we leave), then we traveled two more hours to the Caverns. It wasn't that bad of a drive!
When we got to Roswell we were able to grab some starbucks, which is like a luxury for those of us living in Clovis, because we don't have one! Then as we started back on the road, our oldest son got sick. Poor guy has been fighting a cold, as I have too, and it finally got to him and he just made a mess of his outfit and carseat. Thats always fun! After a wardrobe change and some medicine we were finally back on the road to the caverns.
The national park entrance was a fun drive! Its curvy and the speed limit is 40, so it makes it fun to drive. Once at the top, at the center, we were able to unload, go to the restroom, and grab our tickets to the park entrance. We checked out the gift shop and got a few items for our collections. I love to collect shot glasses from each place I go, so of course I had to get one! We also got a small shirt for Brian, which in a year or so Jared will wear too. Once the shopping was done, we were off to the actual caverns.
The caverns entrance is extremely steep. Both myself and my husband had a child strapped on us, I had the youngest and my husband had the oldest. It was a workout for both of us. They have an elevator entrance for those who use wheelchairs or walking assistance but if you take the elevator you drop right down into the bottom of the caverns. Its great if you need the assistance, but I highly recommend making the walk. Half of the exhibits and unique rock formations are along the path. They also have seats and benches along the walking path so if you need to rest; or for us feed the little ones, then theres plenty of areas to do so!
Once you get to the bottom you can walk around several different paths. Some say it should take an hour to walk, but for us most of them only took about 30 minutes. I believe the time is based off walking with the audio; meaning you would stop and listen and then walk, stop and listen, etc. We walked along slowly but like I said, we made it through most of the areas in about 30 minutes.
Also at the bottom is a very small selection of food and drinks. The water bottles were small and $5 each, so be sure to pack a hydro pack or a couple bottles of water. The food selection was also small, but we had snacks so I didn't even bother looking at any of it, especially after seeing that the water was $5 each. They also had sweaters and a few other souvenirs for purchase, the sweaters were $40 and hard helmets with lights were $5 each. The caverns are cold, around 50 degrees so be sure to pack a sweater, or in our case we had kids keeping us warm!
The sign at the top of the facility said that the elevators could be an hour wait, but when we got in line it was a little after 4pm. When we got on the elevator it was only a little after 4:30pm. It really moved fast as they had two elevators running. The elevators go up several feet and it goes fast so if you have kids I would recommend a pacifier, bottle, feeding them or giving them something to chew because your ears will pop. The elevator was worth it at the end, as all our legs were killing us.
It was a fun day trip, and totally worth it. I would love to do it again, but I think it would have been a lot more enjoyable if the kids were bigger. Our drive home was an easy one, and we made sure to grab some starbucks on the way home.
I would highly recommend the Carlsbad Caverns to any family or couple,