Located in the Chihuahuan Desert of southern New Mexico, Carlsbad Caverns National Park features more than 100 caves. Explore the Natural Entrance, where stalactites cling to the ceiling of the Big Room, and the Walnut Canyon Desert Loop. There are also hundreds of different species of birds and reptiles that inhabit the area. Once you have had your fill of the caverns, you can spend some time on the Rattlesnake Springs, a wetland that attracts hundreds of bird species.
For those who enjoy nature, there is much to see in Carlsbad Caverns. Bats can be found flying high above the caves and are best viewed during early evenings in an amphitheater near the main entrance. The best time to view these creatures is from July through August. The limestone bed that surrounds the caverns is very old, which helps explain its long geologic formation. At one point, this area was a coastal region of an inland sea, but tectonic movement pushed it above the ground and deposited limestone there.
There are many cave formations in Carlsbad Caverns. Some of them look like coral, while others resemble a fish or a caveman. The Big Room has a high ceiling and is an excellent place to take a picture of them. The National Park Service has provided pictures of the most spectacular speleothems to aid visitors in deciding which one to admire. There are dozens of other great formations to explore.
In addition to the large amount of limestone, Carlsbad Caverns are home to countless stalactites, moss, and fossils. The caverns were once covered by a layer of sediment about 250 million years ago. The area was inhabited by nomadic Native American tribes more than a thousand years ago. The first European to cross New Mexico, Cabeza de Vaca, was a Spanish explorer. Throughout the eighteenth century, the industrial and commercial exploits increased.
The caves provide a rich diversity of habitats. A large number of different animal species inhabits the caves, including 67 mammal species, 357 bird species, 5 fish, and 55 reptiles and amphibians. Various migratory and seasonal migratory species visit the caverns for the unique beauty and diversity of animals they find in this geological wonder. Visiting the caverns is an amazing way to get closer to these amazing creatures.
The caverns are open most days of the year, except on Thanksgiving and Christmas. You can tour the caverns on your own or go on guided tours. During the summer, you can view bat flight through an elevator. A lighted skeleton in a cage can be seen from a distance. There are other interesting fossils inside the caves. The limestone walls were created by a volcanic eruption 250 million years ago.