Stop one on our trip through Louisville brought us to an unexpected stop...The MEGA CAVERN!  I saw it in the hotel directory, and remembered how much fun we had years ago in Austria going down in the salt mines, so decided to surprise them with a stop here.  It did not disappoint!  The kids were very excited to go down 75 feet and explore this man made wonder!

One of the first things we learned was the difference between a cave and a cavern.  Cave’s have one way in, and one way out.  Caverns, this one man made, has multiple exit points.  In fact, they have built such an elaborate escape hatch in the event of a fire in the cavern, that the fire department considers you to be ‘outside’ once you enter the hall.  During our tour, we were never more than 350 ft from the exit at any time.

The hall lined to the ticket booth had LOTS of interesting facts.  We loved that we were underneath all of the places we saw driving in.  We learned that there were 29 feet of limestone between the ceiling of the cavern and the parking lot of Wendy’s.  They actually consider the cavern to be a building, and it is the largest in KY.  But one of the coolest things we saw, (mostly because I became *slightly* obsessed with rock formations on my trip through WV and KY) was the idea that these layers of horizontal rock show cracks which represent years where oceans covered these rocks.  The fact that they are layered horizontally makes the area extremely stable, even in the event of an earthquake, which happened a few years ago.  The rocks slide against each other, therefore they are more stable. 

These caverns are pretty amazing because through the years they have undergone several major changes.  During the Cold War they were considered for a bunker in the event of a nuclear disaster.  Funny part was, in the event of nuclear fallout—they wanted lead doors to seal off the entrance.  They quickly figured out, they would switched to wooden doors.  Naturally, not the best choice for blocking radiation, yet, they put tons of money into supplying this space with needed items for fallout.  The kids think the most interesting was the drinking water vessels.  They were giant cans...which when the water was finished...would be turned into toilets.  Ya, gives a whole new meaning to ‘got to use the can.’  Budum bum! 

There were many signs that pointed to the ultimate ‘greenness’ of this facility, but none as good as the bathroom sign.  In the cavern, they have a worm farm!  And, they compost all paper and leaves from the property into a worm farm.  The only downside they found was when they turned off the lights (they simulate the sun)  all the worms tried to flee!  Ewww!

So, after many studies regarding what to do with these mines after they were closed in the 70’s, they decided to use them mainly for recycling of stone, asphalt and largely cement.  Originally, the caverns depth was 90 feet.  Now, the area we toured is only 28 feet.  They have used recycled material from construction sights to backfill and make a floor in the caverns.  The project continues to take recycled waste and form floors within the caverns.  Within this space ‘rooms’ are created and rented out to various places.  For example, Snyders, the pretzel makers, are storing food items there.  The KY medical board is storing vaccines and antidotes in the event of a pandemic.  Additionally, there are many locals who store boats and RVs there.  Maintaining a constant 58 degrees makes it ideal for storage.  The tour was awesome, and the kids loved it.  In May they are opening a zip line.   It will ride/drop you into one of the 90 ft deep caverns, over lakes 50 feet deep.  The kids cannot wait to return for that!!!