|We left the RV park about 8:30 am and headed to the caverns. Rather than attempting to walk from the natural entrance down to the caverns, a 1 1/2-hr steep walk, we rode the elevator down the 750 ft. drop to the rest area in one minute! Without any lighting, it would be completely dark. Dim lighting has been placed throughout the areas open to the public. The temperature is 56 degrees year-round. A light jacket was essential. We met the ranger (Mandy) and about 25 other folks for the ranger-led tour through several rooms, e.g. Kings Palace, Queens Chamber, Papoose Room, Green Lake Room, etc. It takes some imagination to see the "forms" that the ranger pointed out. That tour took about 1 1/2 hours. After a brief rest and a bottle of water, John and I headed into the Big Room, a self-guided tour. This is the largest cavern, about 1 mile around the perimeter of the 8.2-acre room. This walk took another 1 1/2 hours. Whew! How amazing to see these stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, draperies, columns, popcorn, and aragonite crystals. John and I agreed that exploring caves and caverns is not our thing! But, we've been there, done that, and don't have to do it again. We went out to our Roadtrek for a bite of lunch and a nap. We waited there until time to go down to the amphitheater at the natural entrance. There is a bat cave 200 ft. down from the surface. Each evening thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats emerge at dusk to go bug-hunting, mostly moths. How do they know it's dusk when they are down in the dark 200 ft. below the surface? They began emerging from the entrance about 6:30 pm. We watched them until nearly dark and then left. The ranger said it could take up to three hours for the estimated 200,000 bats to emerge. We drove into Carlsbad for dinner at the Red Chimney BBQ Restaurant.