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Contact: Bridget Litten, 505.785.3024
Contact: Dave Thomas, 505.785.3097
Carlsbad Caverns National Park staff plan on lighting up Carlsbad Cavern this holiday season with lanterns and special winter-themed tours along the Natural Entrance route and in the Kings Palace area, as well as on a Rock of Ages tour in the cave’s Big Room.
The Rock of Ages tour, a Carlsbad Cavern hallmark from 1927 through 1944, will be presented on Saturday, December 23, starting at 5 p.m. “The Rock of Ages tour was an extremely popular tour with early park visitors,” said superintendent John Benjamin. “And, based on the response we had when we gave the tour last year, it still is. This year, the park’s first superintendent Colonel Tom Boles will even make an appearance.” The tour is limited to 100 people; tickets are $15 for adults and $7.50 for children 4 through 15.
To experience the cave much the way early explorers and visitors to Carlsbad Cavern did, join park staff on a historic lantern tour along the Natural Entrance route. Offered on December 22 and 24, at 3 p.m., each tour is limited to 75 people; tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for children 4 though 15.
The Kings Palace area, one of the most highly decorated areas of Carlsbad Cavern, will be lit only by the lanterns carried by park visitors on December 23 and 24. An additional tour will be given in Spanish, on December 22. These Kings Palace tours start at noon and are limited to 75 people. Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for children 4 through 15.
To reserve tickets for any of the special holiday lantern tours, call 505.785. 3152. Tours are limited to children 4 years and up.
The special tours for the holiday season will not affect the park’s normal tour schedule. The self-guided Natural Entrance route will be open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The self-guided Big Room route will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Carlsbad Caverns offers six guided tours year-round—Kings Palace, Left Hand Tunnel, Lower Cave, Slaughter Canyon Cave, Spider Cave and Hall of the White Giant. Reservations are required for all ranger-guided tours. Reservations can be made by calling 1.800.967.CAVE (2283); they can also be made online at https://reservations.nps.gov. Entrance fee tickets ($6 for adults, free for children 15 and under) are good for three days and allow visitors to enter the cave on the self-guided Natural Entrance and Big Room tours; additional fees are required for all guided tours.
If you’re shopping for that last-minute holiday gift, the Carlsbad Caverns-Guadalupe Mountains Association, located at the park, will be having a book sale from December 22 through December 24.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is open every day of the year except December 25. For more holiday tour information, contact park ranger Dave Thomas at 505.785.3097.