The differences between Tuckaleechee Caverns and Mammoth Cave were stark. We had a great time at Tuckaleechee. At Mammoth, it was very dark, there were none of the spectacular cave formations, and we had the distinct feeling of being "herded" throughout the tour. So, today we decided to forego another Mammoth tour in favor of one of the private operations nearby.
We decided upon Crystal Onyx Cave, located just south of Cave City. When we pulled up, we had second thoughts. An old trading post-styled store marked the entrance, and a disinterested college dude took our ticket money. However, he warmed up when he found out Laura was from LA, since he was also from California. We thought we were going to get a private tour, but an Amish family joined us at the last minute.
This tour was much more like Tuckaleechee. The focus was on geology, and our guide turned out to be very good. The cave itself wasn’t large, but was filled with interesting formations. It was discovered in 1960, well after the Kentucky Cave Wars, when owners of rival cave attractions would break in and vandalize their competition’s cave formations.
Having a smaller group gave us plenty of time to look at things and ask questions. The tour was well worth the price of admission.
I wound up taking a ton of pictures. Rather than post them all here, I’ll just link to these…