fun to do kids arizona southeast caverns   Travel for Kids
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Caverns

  Kartchner Caverns State Park – Kartchner Caverns are ancient, but were only discovered in 1974, and made public in 1988. Formed by water over the past 200,000 years, the caverns have pristine stalactites, fried egg stalagmites, soda straws, cave drapery, and the cave formations continue to grow. Kartchner Caverns are also home to female bats, who take up residence from April to September, have bat babies, then migrate south in the fall.
Ground sloth diorama
    Discovery Center – Before going on a tour of the caverns, kids will enjoy the Discovery Center. Watch a 15 minute video about the discovery of the caverns, check out the diorama of a 86,000 year old Shasta ground sloth found in the cave and exhibits about how the caves were formed by water, look through a microscope at soda straws and fossils, learn about bats in the caves, touch rocks found in the caves – limestone, quartz, chert, hematite. Pick up a sheet with the Discovery Center Scavenger Hunt.
Cave formations
    Cave Tours – There are two cave tours, Rotunda/Throne Room and Big Room Tours. The Throne Room tour is your best bet with kids. The Big Room tour is for kids 7 and up and there are no Big Room tours between April 15 and October 15 (because of the bats).
    On the Throne Room tour, kids will see cave bacon, sparkly totem pole stalactites, cave popcorn, butterscotch colored drapery, formations that look like rows of shark's teeth, moon milk and dark chocolate rocks, a soda straw 21 ft long, and the dramatic dripping column, "Kubla Khan."
      Tip: The caverns are warm and humid, 70 degrees. On the tour, you can't bring purses, backpacks, cameras, binoculars, baby backpacks or water bottles. (There are lockers where you can stash your valuables.) Reservations in advance are required. Click here or call 520.586.2283.
      Outside the Discovery Center is a snack bar, shaded picnic tables, garden walk (look for hummingbirds), campground and hiking trails.
  Colossal Cave Mountain Park (Old Spanish Trail) – Located just east of Tucson, take a one hour tour of Colossal Cave. Unlike Kartchner Caverns, tourists have visited Colossal Cave for over a hundred years. It's a dry cave and no new formations are growing, but walking through it, we had a real sensation of cave exploration, following a labyrinth of twisting and turning passages.
    On the tour, you'll see formations such as the "boneyard," "bottomless pit," crystal waterfall," cave popcorn, bacon and broccoli, and "Frank's living room" – Frank Schmidt, who conducted tours in the early 20th century, would set up his camp in the cave. There's one formation you can touch – "old baldy," a stalagmite worn smooth by tourists rubbing the calcite.
     

Tip: The cave is 71 degrees, no need for sweaters. The cave trail has guard rails, but it isn't closely fenced, so hold onto your little ones. No reservations are needed.

  Horseback riding and wagon rides – Bandit Outfitters has one or two hour trail rides, dinner rides, horse drawn wagon rides, lead line rides for little kids, and cowboy cookouts. For the trail rides, helmets are provided, wear closed toed shoes.
       
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