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Onyx Cave, KY Action Park are Diamonds in the Mammoth Cave Rough

Updated on August 16, 2012

Onyx Cave, KY Action Park are Diamonds in the Mammoth Cave Rough

Up close views of wonderful formations are part of the intimacy offered during guided tours of Onyx Cave
Up close views of wonderful formations are part of the intimacy offered during guided tours of Onyx Cave
Whether it's popcorn, draperies or bacon, the limestone flowstone at Onyx Cave is a marvel even when not mammoth in scale
Whether it's popcorn, draperies or bacon, the limestone flowstone at Onyx Cave is a marvel even when not mammoth in scale
Was that Jimmie Johnson? No, but one little guy got to drive like him for awhile at the KY Action Park go-cart track on the way to Mammoth Cave
Was that Jimmie Johnson? No, but one little guy got to drive like him for awhile at the KY Action Park go-cart track on the way to Mammoth Cave
Bumper Boats Are Just Part of the Fun at the KY Action Park
Bumper Boats Are Just Part of the Fun at the KY Action Park

Onyx Cave, KY Action Park are Diamonds in the Mammoth Cave Rough

by Robb Hoff

August 16, 2012

Mammoth Cave is a National Park for plenty of good reasons, and its mysteries revealed below the unassuming surface suit the name "Mammoth."

But there are other sites and activities that are well worthwhile when visiting the immediate Mammoth Cave area, especially during the off-season.

One such site, the Onyx Cave and Rock Shop, offers a great value for the intimacy of the tour, including close-up and personal views of the impressive formations. In my opinion, if I had to chose between this tour and the Frozen Niagra tour at Mammoth Cave, I would choose the Onyx Cave tour for its magnified and better lit pathway into the underground wonders of the region.

The Onyx Cave should not be confused with the Crystal Onyx Cave. The former is located on the way to Guntown Mountain and was actually discovered when construction of the Guntown Mountain parking lot was underway.

As great as the options are to experience the cave network of the area, sooner or later both adults and kids alike are prone to grow weary of caves, especially at Mammoth Cave where the fixation on the white-nosed syndrome affecting bats gets more than a little old in a hurry.

Fortunately, the KY Action Park near Mammoth Cave offers good value and off-season availability for a variety of fun -- including its own cave -- as part of a $25 ticket. For kids over 55 inches tall, the NASCAR-styled go-carts are a lot of fun and the track is in excellent condition. There's also a chairlift for a 1/4-mile downhill Alpine slide included in the price, as well as other fun included with admission like bumper cars, bumper boats, trampoline and miniature golf.

Off-season at Mammoth Cave may limit some of the attractions, especially during the week, but there's still enough open to make it a worthwhile stay for a few days to experience one of the most naturally unusual parts of the country.


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