In a tiny remote spot of New Mexico is a national wonder that is not to be missed - Carlsbad Caverns. Here you will find over 100 caves with beautiful formations, open to the public to be explored. Inside, year round, the temperature is about 56 degrees so remember your jacket for a comfortable day inside. (Outside is still a desert with very hot, dry heat). You enter into the guest area where you can purchase tickets, visit the gift shop, and look at displays on how the caves were formed. You are welcome to bring your small children in a backpack (no strollers) when exploring the caves. However children under 4 are not allowed on any guided hikes. Here the spaces can be tight - it's not unusual to crawl on hands and knees while wearing a headlight. Our kids got a big kick out of this unusual hike. Not all 100 plus caves are open to the public of course but there are so many that you will be awed by the vastness, the beauty, and the intricities of the icicle-like formations. The highlight of visiting Carlsbad for many including my family is the "Bat Flight". Thousands of bats fly out of the caves just before dusk every day, before a large audience. This performance is repeated when the bats return to the caves pre dawn. Don't fear the bats for they are intent to be on their journey to find their meal.
This national park is more unusual than most, well worth the trip. We had planned to hike on some trails after exploring the cave rooms but the difference in temperature wore us out. We'll be back again for more fun.