$16 million visitor center opens at Mammoth Cave National Park
Officials at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky recently unveiled a new $16.4 million visitor center at the park, reports The Associated Press.
Planning and construction of the new facility began in 2007. The visitor center now offers guests more space, in addition to a range of educational exhibits focusing on the geology of the caves and the wildlife that lives in them.
"We talk about eyeless fish and all these things, but in reality people will not have a chance to see those," said Mike Adams, chief of interpretation at Mammoth Cave, as quoted by the news source. "So the exhibits are a chance to show people those."
In addition to providing guests with a more educational experience, the visitor center may also promote regional tourism to the area. Dwayne Hatcher, mayor of Cave City, told the news source he hopes the new facility will boost the economy of local communities and increase tourism revenue.
According to the National Parks Service's official website, Mammoth Cave is the world's longest cave system, and is more than 390 miles long in its entirety. Above ground, the national park boasts more than 70 miles of hiking trails that lead to popular tourist attractions such as Cedar Sink, Sand Cave and Turnhole Bend.