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Get ready to dive into the wonders of Carlsbad Caverns!

Carlsbad Caverns New Mexico

History of Carlsbad

Carlsbad Cavern is one of over 300 limestone caves in a fossil reef laid down by an inland sea 250 to 280 million years ago. Twelve to fourteen thousand years ago, Native Americans lived in the Guadalupe Mountains and officials found some of their cooking ring sites and pictographs within the present day boundaries of the park.

By the 1500s, Spanish explorers passed through present-day west Texas and southeastern New Mexico. Spain claimed the southwest until 1821 when Mexico revolted against her and claimed independence. Mexico, fighting the westward expansionist United States in the late 1840s, lost the southwest to the US. In 1850, New Mexico Territory was created, and for the next 30 years the cultural conflict between American Indians and the US government continued. The government established Eddy, New Mexico, the future Carlsbad, in 1888, and New Mexico became a state in 1912. Carlsbad Caverns became a national monument in 1923 before finally becoming a national park in 1930.

Going Batty

In addition to self-guided and ranger-guided tours in the caverns, Carlsbad Caverns also offers some unique programs such as their Bat Flight Program and the Dawn of The Bats Program. The Bat Flight Program is a free event that runs from late May through October when an evening ranger talks about bats prior to their nighttime flight. This free event doesn’t require reservations and it runs every evening from Memorial Day weekend through October in the outdoor Bat Flight Amphitheater, located at the Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Cavern. The start time for the program changes as the summer progresses and sunset times change.

Carlsbad Caverns bats

The Dawn of the Bats is an annual program that takes place on the third Saturday of July. Participants gather at dawn to watch the return of hundreds of thousands of Brazilian free-tailed bats who call Carlsbad Caverns home. After the bats return, enjoy bat-related activities throughout the day in the visitor center before concluding with the Bat Flight Program.

Dive into Carlsbad

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