Tips to Visit Carlsbad Caverns with Kids


New Mexico is home to so many incredible state parks, national parks, trails, and more.

Carlsbad Caverns, located in the Southeastern part of the state, is just under five hours away from Albuquerque and makes for the perfect weekend getaway. Known for its extensive underground limestone cave system, Carlsbad Caverns is an absolute treasure and a must-see!

» » » » » » » » » »  RELATED READ: White Sands: Adventuring in New Mexico  « « « « « « « « « « «

Carlsbad Caverns with ToddlersHere are a few things to know before entering the caverns, especially if you’re visiting with a toddler:

  • A reservation is required, but it’s super easy to make online.
  • Strollers are not allowed inside of the caverns. Be sure to bring a hiking backpack or baby carrier or prepare your little one to walk. My son walked for the most part but had to be carried toward the end.
  • Take the elevator! This may be an unpopular opinion, but I know my limits and my two-year-old’s limits (remember, strollers are not allowed). The elevator takes you directly to the Big Room in roughly a minute. The Natural Entrance Trail is a roughly 2 km descent and something I cannot wait to do when my children are older.
  • Wear layers and closed-toe shoes. The average temperature inside the cave is around 56 degrees, so a very light jacket might be worth bringing. I also know toddlers love to rock a croc, but the ground is a bit slick and some parts are fairly steep.
  • You can bring/buy snacks, but can only consume them in the Underground Lunchroom, so if your toddler needs a bit of extra motivation (fruit snacks, in our case) due to the walking, they can have a quick bite before or after you enter the Big Room.

» » » » » » » » » »  RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: Guide to New Mexico Travel  « « « « « « « « « «

  • Use your inside voice, as the caverns ECHO. Thankfully, my son was in a great mood and willing to whisper, but since sound travels, I think a gentle reminder is helpful. When we visited, our reservation was around 9 am, so there weren’t a ton of people and it was very quiet.
  • Once you exit the caverns via the elevators, there are a few hands-on exhibits for kids to explore. They can crawl through a “cave” and check out the local plants and animals.

Carlsbad Caverns with ToddlersCarlsbad Caverns with ToddlersBat Flight Program

The Bat Flight Program is a very cool opportunity for visitors to watch the bats exit the caverns at the Bat Flight Amphitheatre. However, it’s at sunset, and you have to be very quiet, which is a lot to ask for a toddler. In retrospect, my little one did his best. However, once he started counting the bats aloud as they exited the cave, we decided to head toward the parking lot and watch them there. So while your toddler may be completely fine, sit near the end of each aisle in case you need to skedaddle.

Have you visited before? Have any extra tips? Let us know in the comments!

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.


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