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Find winter warmth below ground: Kartchner Caverns Arizona, live bat cave

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As snow flurries fly across the country, in Arizona thoughts begin to turn to warm, furry, little creatures that fly the summer night skies at Kartchner Caverns State Park and their warm underground habitat. The cave below the hillside has an average temperature of 72° Fahrenheit (22° Celsius) and 99% humidity year-round, so it will feel very warm and steamy inside. So make the trip to visit southern Arizona this winter.

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The Discovery Center at the park features museums exhibits, an inviting gift shop, a theater, and educational information about the caverns and the surrounding landscape. Make sure to see “The First Day Journey,” a 20-minute video journey through the Sinkhole to the Big Room, following the original path of cave discoverers Gary Tenen & Randy Tufts. There is also a café deli, an amphitheater, and a hummingbird garden so allow time to look around before your cave tour.

Kartchner Caverns is a summer maternity roost for approximately 1000-2000 cave myotis bats. The pregnant females first arrive at the cave in late April, giving birth in June, leaving again by mid- September and the Big Room is closed during their nesting time. These bats are an important element in the cave ecosystem because their excrement introduces nutrients, which support a complex invertebrate cave fauna.

Kartchner Caverns State Park in southeastern Arizona’s Whetstone Mountains, is covered with interesting vegetation and great hiking trails. The hillsides bloom with Ocotillo, Creosote Bush, Mesquite, Desert Broom, Acacia, Wait-a-Minute Bush, Scrub Oak, Barrel Cactus, Prickly Pear Cactus, Buckhorn Cholla Cactus, and Hackberry.

Park Hours: 7 am – 6 pm
Discovery Center Hours: 8 am – 6 pm
Tour Cost: $23.00 for adults and $13.00 for children
Tour Time: 1½ hours throughout the day
Tour Length: ½ mile
Reservations are recommended

For more personal insights and travel tips on this and other destinations, go to my blog at www.crosscountrytravelinfo.com
Follow Cross Country Travel with Lindsay on Facebook for original photography and more.
©Lindsay Godfree 2014 article
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