Saturday, October 2, 2010

Wheelchair Accessible Caves

A little over a year ago my daughter asked if I could ever take her to go see some caves. To which I immediately replied, "I'm sure I could. We have to do some research first though." I don't know if you've ever done a search for wheelchair accessible caves before, but nature isn't too wheelchair accessible sometimes.

I read a number of reviews, and went to so many websites that my head started to spin. It was a little confusing, because I would read websites that said there was no wheelchair access and then read reviews that would say some of the caves were accessible. I think the discrepancy has something to do with the difference between "wheelchair accessible" and "handicap accessible". Just because something is handicap accessible, doesn't mean that it will work out for wheelchair users.

We got to Mammoth Cave National Park, and I expected to be able to do something there cave related. After all, it's a national park. Nope... none of their cave tours are wheelchair accessible. All tours start at the Visitor Center, then a (non-wheelchair accessible)bus takes you to the mouth of the cave. I was told that I could follow the bus to the entrance of the big cave so I could hear a story, but then my daughter couldn't even go on the tour alone since she was only 12.

One of the rangers got an excited look on his face and told us to hang on, he'd be right back. He came back with a pamphlet for Cub Run Cave in Cub Run, KY. They have built a boardwalk that goes about 1/2 mile into the cave. I believe they did this just to keep people from walking on and contaminating the cave floor. It would have been great if the owner had the forethought to make the ramp ADA accessible... no such luck though. There are 12 steps to get up to the boardwalk. I just got out of the wheelchair and bumped up the steps on my butt and got back in the chair with a slightly wet butt. It a little narrow, so I could only turn around at certain spots. The tour guide was super great and friendly, however due to liability purposes can't help anyone up and down the steps. They supposedly have tentative plans to someday get rid of the stairs and slope the ramp down to the cave floor.

I took some pictures but the Cub Run Cave website has some good pictures as well. If you're interested in caves, and you have help or can bump up 12 steps, it's well worth the trip.


The other cave that we found was the Kentucky Action Park/Outlaw Cave in Cave City, KY. There isn't a ramp or boardwalk in this cave. The entrance is ground level though, a little rough... but there are no steps. The two caves and how they're treated couldn't be more different, but I think they're both great experiences though, especially considering the limited wheelchair accessible options.

Happy Caving!

23 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Hi, very interesting post, greetings from Greece!

laser spine surgery Houston, TX said...

I have heard about the Mammoth Cave national park. Sorry to know that there is no wheelchair accessible caves. nice sharing your experiences here.
Keep posting.

Handicap accesible said...

Thanks for give a info about the Mammoth national park..

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Anonymous said...

Ohio Caverns in West Liberty, Ohio, opened a wheelchair accessible entrance in 2012. Unfortunately, the passages throughout the cavern are not wide enough for wheelchairs, but there is a short section at the beginning of the new opening that allows complete wheelchair access.

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Liftplus said...

Wheelchair accessible caves are an interesting idea but nature itself doesnt make caves accessible. There arent that many caves that would make it possible without destroying the cave.