These Kentucky Attractions Are Millions of Years Old…With One Exception [VIDEOS]
The Commonwealth of Kentucky celebrated its 230th birthday in 2022. When I was a kid, I always took great pride that we made it into the "top 15." I was also a little disappointed that we DIDN'T make it into the original 13 colonies, but Mom explained that we WERE; it's just that Kentucky was part of Virginia.
KENTUCKY IS 230 YEARS OLD, BUT IT'S WAY OLDER THAN THAT
But 1792? That's INFANCY compared to how old Kentucky REALLY is. Statehood and borders are political distinctions, not indications of how geographically old we really are.
Multiple attractions in Kentucky are actually MILLIONS of years old, and if any of them have visitor centers, you'll likely get their histories.
That's most definitely the case with regards to Mammoth Cave, a world heritage site and a product of erosion that began around 10 million years ago...LONG before the gift shop opened.
LET'S START WITH VENERABLE OLD MAMMOTH CAVE
The world's longest cave system, Mammoth Cave stretches some 400-plus miles under central Kentucky and is one of the nation's most popular attractions. By the way, I've had family members out West ask me if there are any unguided tours, and the answer is a firm "no". They do a lot of spelunking out there, so I can understand the question.
THE OHIO RIVER IS NO SPRING CHICKEN, EITHER
Have you gone boating on the Ohio River, lately? Are you wear that your big old watercraft my be a bit heavy on the "back" of something that's between 2.5 and 3 million years old? I jest, of course, but that IS impressive. Let's take a journey WAY back in time to the last Ice Age.
And yes, when the opportunity presents itself, I WILL incorporate drone footage into a story. And the beautiful Ohio River Valley PROVIDES such an opportunity:
THE CUMBERLAND RIVER AND LAKE CUMBERLAND (JUST A BABY)
Have you ever gone camping at Lake Cumberland State Park? You probably know that the lake is just a wide spot in the Cumberland River, but did you know that that river is ANCIENT? According to the National Park Service, erosion began with the Cumberland Plateau, and--lo and behold--the beginning of the Cumberland River, most of which is Tennessee, by the way.
If you're wondering how lakes develop within river systems, this description of the formation of Lake Cumberland from the Cumberland River might serve as a blanket explanation.
LOST RIVER CAVE IS A TEENAGER BY COMPARISON
One of Bowling Green's most popular attractions--and getting more popular by the year--is Lost River Cave.
Some friends of mine and I spent New Year's Day of 1993 exploring the cave before it became a commercial property. It was a blast untouched, but I'm glad the city recognized its value and poured money into it to maintain it. Here's a description from VisitBGKY.com:
Lost River Cave’s history dates back to 8,500 B.C. when Native Americans used the cave for shelter and buried their dead in the cave’s entrance. Some of Warren County’s earliest industries were located at the cave’s entrance in the late 1700s. These included a grist mill, a saw mill, wool carding and a distillery.
So the next time you visit any of Kentucky's natural beauty, take a carbon-dating kit with you. (I know, I know. It's not like you can grab one at WAL-MART, but you know what I mean.)
You never know just how long ago the ground on which you trod was formed.