The Lodge at Mammoth Cave gets more than $500,000 in renovations - WDRB 41 Louisville News

The Lodge at Mammoth Cave gets more than $500,000 in renovations

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MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky. (WDRB) -- One of North America's oldest attractions, Mammoth Cave National Park, is getting more than $500,000 of updates. 

Part of the park is under new management. A company called Ortega National Parks, which operates in 13 national parks across the country, took over in January and immediately started renovating the cafe, gift shops, guest rooms and cottages.

People have been touring Mammoth Cave for 200 years, and some visitors say the buildings and amenities are outdated.

"The busses and the buildings are kind of dated,” said Donnie Leach, a visitor to the park.

The Mammoth Cave Hotel was built in the 1960s. The rooms were old and small, so most of the guest rooms closed and the name of the building is was changed.

“We are changing the name from, historically known, the Mammoth Cave Hotel to the Lodge at Mammoth Cave,” Ortega's Kevin Carney said. “We do not have a tremendous amount of hotel rooms available now, but we do have cabins and other lodging.”

The updates made the Lodge at Mammoth Cave more sustainable, using LED lights and reclaimed wood. The café inside the lodge was made three times bigger, the gift shops have more natural light and have more variety, and the cabin rooms, which are separate from the hotel, are more modern and inviting.

“Before, it was very dark,” Carney said. "The paneling was very dark, and there was about a six-foot wide opening here and it went down about four or five stairs. So it was a little dark, a little gloomy. Not a whole like of visitors could get down into this area.”

Although the Lodge at Mammoth Cave is more modernized, the cave itself hasn’t lost its historic wonder.

“The kids, seeing their faces...” visitor Maria Leach said. “My first time seeing mammoth cave, I remember how “wow” that was when I was little, so I'm excited to share that with them.”

This round of renovations will continue over the course of the next three years. 

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