Friday, May 17, 2013

Flash Back Friday: Cave City, Kentucky

 For Flash back Friday I obtained these pictures from 2005. Cave City Kentucky had to be one of the most interesting places I have ever visited. Apparently founded in 1853, it still holds some of the character from that era. We had gone into Kentucky on a visit to a horse stable (Lands End) on Mark's request and found a night in Cave City to keep ourselves entertained for a day or two. This town/city was a throw back to the days of the 50's with it's old style tourist traps, and it's smack dap right in the middle of NOTHING! We did a little exploring and ended up at this Old Town General Store that appeared to have items dating back to the 50's and earlier. Along with the décor (or perhaps the store did not intend to have this nostalgic look about it on purpose) it sold everything one would expect for a trip West. Guns, outdoor supplies, wood, moccasins, and even featured slabs of meat hanging exposed to the elements from the ceiling. Another store (I think) had about 25 of those old metal statues scattered through out the area. There were jackalope, gorilla's, buffalo and even an old time riding horse with a buggy like when I was a kid. We had so much fun just looking at these artifacts from days gone by and marveling at once was possibly a big tourist attraction.

Here are the kids (then little and without Ben) posing next to a statue of a Buffalo. Further on down the road we entered some more modern, yet still nostalgic tourist traps. Stop and see BIG MO at Big Mike's.
Here is a replica stone statue of Big MOE!!! Pretty BIG hun! Well his fossil remains were much much much smaller inside the Mining store located behind his roadside draw in, but he is something like 65 million years old and I understand we shrink with age. The store hosted several draw in's beside Mo, apparently we could also get a view of Big Mike, whom we never met and I still have no idea who he is, but you could also purchase tickets for like $2- to enter the "Mystery house".
Intrigued, we coughed up the $2- (I think it was for just us adults) and went into this bizarre "house" like barn and began our self guided tour. If I recall, there was one room full of glow in the dark paint and posters surrounded by black lights to illuminate the colors. There was also a room with everything on the ceiling, but the room with the most fun was the slanted room that eventually got smaller and smaller as you approached the tiny door at the end. Was it worth the entrance fee, probably not! But we are now able to make claim that we now  have the answers to the Mystery at the Mystery house in Cave City Kentucky.
As fun as all this strange but really cool tourist stuff was, what we were really looking forward to was Mammoth Cave, which, by the way is the areas largest tourist attraction and perhaps why this little odd town exists in the first place.
Mammoth Cave National Park is one of the largest caves in the United States and boasts some 350 miles of underground passages throughout, and many more areas have gone unexplored and continue to form. There were multiple cavern tours that we could have taken, anything from deep spudunkling (I know this is not a word really I do) to a gentle and not so difficult descent into one of the largest parts of the cave. We choose the least expensive and less challenging of the choices and began our trip underground.  I do not want to sound boring or at all put off, but its a cave. What else can you say about it. I am sure that there is much more exciting and factual things to present about this particular cave, but it is still a cave. I could go on and on about the geological formation of the cavern noting the sedimentation of the chambers BLAH BLAH BLAH, but I honestly do not remember much about that stuff, as I am sure the tour guide informed us of,  I simply remember it was dark, damp, fully of stalactites and stalagmites and the kids all seemed to enjoy it. I do remember and I always love these fun facts (at least more then the facts about the rocks etc.) the cave was once home to many people suffering from TB. The hope being that the consistent cool temperatures would somehow help with this incurable disease. Unfortunately no one was saved by Mammoth Cave's cooling air.
After the cave we enjoyed time at the relic of a hotel (also I am sure dated back to the 50's), but it had a pool, an ice machine and a tv so we were all well suited for the evening. I wish we had found the TP camp grounds and stayed in one of those, but maybe next time.

The following morning we were up and off to Guntown Mountain wild west Theme Park.
Talk about old time tourist fun! I absolutely LOVED this place. I have always been a sucker for history and even if it is as corney as this theme park was it was so much wild west fun. The actual park is NOTHING like any theme park I've ever been to, the only ride we took was a chair lift that took us up the mountain to the grounds where this replica of an old west town sat filled with gun slingers and chorus girls. We toured the shops and entered the pub, visited the jail house and got a view of the horse stalls (although there were no horse anywhere in this town, I guess spurs were not needed, although most of these cowboys had them on their boots. We watched a gun fight in the center of town, and were lucky to see the survivors (all of them) willing to pose for a picture with two of my kids.
 Staging Mark in the casket. Here lies an unlucky gun fighter although he held an honorable fight.
 This is where all the bad children go. Notice all three were placed in the jail. I love that Alexis posed to look forelorned. Even little Gavin posed to look like please please let me out.
We rounded out the Wild West day with a visit to the Saloon (no one ordered sassafras) for a chorus girl show. These ladies really kicked up their heels. The fun part was the cowboys in the audience, who were loud and unruly throughout the show, they stirred up the crowd and encouraged such antics.  There was some invites to join on the stage but we passed the opportunity. (I just cannot kick that high...)
The days well spent, we ended our Cave City adventure and headed towards a more modern affair, and much less dusty. Although at a horse stable, one would expect a lot of dust, but not this one. I will give more about Lands End Horse Farm in another Friday Flashback.
I will never forget the fun we had at Cave City. If in the area again I would have to make a stop even if it was to get another glimpse at Big Mo.