Everything You Can Do At The Carlsbad Caverns National Park Visitor Center
- Date Visited: February 2, 2021
- Address: 727 Carlsbad Cavern Hwy, Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220
- Phone: (575) 785-2232
- Hours: 8 AM-5 PM
- Price: Free
Carlsbad Caverns National Park Visitor Center is your go to spot for all the information you will need for your visit. Rangers staff the information desk to answer all your questions and provide maps and publications on the park. The visitor center is also where you will go to get your entrance passes to the cave. The Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Caverns also lies behind the center.
There are a number of cool hands on exhibits in the center discussing the cavern, local wildlife and plants as well as the history of the area. Every 30 minutes the visitor center shows a free, 16-minute film on Carlsbad Caverns titled Hidden World. It was down while we visited so I can’t tell you if it’s worth your time or not.
A couple gift shops, a restaurant and bookstore are also available. If you exit the caverns through the elevator it opens up into a gift shop. If you plan on picking up some souvenirs I highly suggest you go to the gift shop at the front of the center and not this one. The variety is much better up front and I wish I would of waited.
Pets are not allowed in the caverns. Carlsbad Caverns Trading Company operates a kennel service at the visitor center so you can kennel your furry friends. The kennel is for day use only. There are no overnight stays. It is temperature controlled and you must provide verification of a rabies vaccine with the expiration date to board your pet. Water is provided for the pet, but you must provide food and bedding.
Operating Hours: 8 am–3:30 pm
Last Time to Drop-Off Pet: 2:15 pm
Last Time to Pick-Up Pet: 3:30 pm
Thousands of Brazilian free-tailed bats call Carlsbad Caverns home from April through October. From late May-October the park offers a free Bat Flight Program every night. The program takes place at the Bat Flight Amphitheater, located at the Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Caverns, behind the visitor center. No reservations are required for the event. Each evening there is a ranger talk before the bats exit the cavern. In order to protect the bats, electronic devices are not allowed at the Bat Flight Program.
The bats had migrated south for the winter while we were there so we didn’t get to see the flight. It is definitely something we want to go back to see though.
The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail can be accessed from the parking lot of the visitor center. This day-use trail is a 0.7 mile loop that is mostly paved. Along the trail are informational placards that identify plants and animals of the Chihuahuan Desert. Some benches and shade shelters can be found on the path. While on your walk you will will enjoy some amazing views of the surrounding area.
The trail is closed just before and during Bat Flight programs. You can also access the Old Guano Road Trail to White City from here (more info on that trail here).
Beside the parking lot in front of the visitor center there are a number of picnic tables. It’s the perfect place to gather the family for an afternoon lunch. While enjoying some yummy food you will get to enjoy some very epic views of the area that stretch on for miles.