CARLSBAD, N.M. As the final beams of sunlight shine on the mouth of the natural entrance of the Carlsbad Caverns, the warm red sky turned to a pale blue.

Hundreds of cave goers waited patiently at the cave’s Bat Flight Amphitheater to watch the thousands of Brazilian Free Tail bats living in the cave to swirl in a tornado formation before the bats spent the night looking for food.

Flowstone along the pathway at Carlsbad Caverns National Park Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Eddy County, New Mexico. The cave features a variety of speleothems including columns, soda straws, draperies, helictites, and popcorn. Carlsbad Caverns includes the largest chamber in North America, named the Big Room, which is almost 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide, and 255 feet high at its highest point. The park offers bat flight viewing of Mexican free-tailed, also known as Brazilian free-tailed bats, at sunset and sunrise. The park contains over 119 caves but only three caves are open to public tours. Carlsbad Caverns is the most famous and is fully developed with electric lights, paved trails, and elevators. Slaughter Canyon Cave and Spider Cave are undeveloped except for designated paths for the guided “adventure” caving tours. Reservations are currently required to enter the caverns and must be purchased by calling 877-444-6777 or visiting the National Park Service website. (Odessa American|Jacob Ford)

One of the attendees to watch the bat flight was Tobias Domabyl of Germany. The 25-year-old said he visited the Carlsbad Caverns a decade ago, but wanted to return as an adult.

“I hope that I can refresh my memories, but make some new memories too,” Domabyl said.

The price to watch the bats fly out of the cave is free with seating at the amphitheater on a first come-first served basis.

However, the National Park Service details that electronic devices are not allowed at the Bat Flight Program and surrounding area to protect the bats. Electronic devices include cameras of any kind, laptop computers, cell phones, iPads, iPods, tablets and MP3 players.

“It was very exciting, because it’s not on video tape or pictures or anything,” Domabyl said. “You have to see it live in person or you don’t see it at all.”

Visitors wait in line at the elevators at Carlsbad Caverns National Park Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Eddy County, New Mexico. (Odessa American|Jacob Ford)

Prior to exploring the Carlsbad Caverns, cave goers will need to make a reservation whether it’s online or over the phone. The online reservation can be found at, while the telephone number is 877-444-6777.

The price to reserve tickets is $1 and the price for a 3-day adult entrance is $15. Pass holders along with children 15 and under can get in for free. The NPS website also detailed that when using an America the Beautiful — National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, Senior Pass, Access Pass, Military Pass or Volunteer Pass, the pass admits the cardholder plus three adults.

The NPS website also details “Consistent with CDC recommendations, people who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.” Masks were welcomed as cave goers trekked down the natural entrance where there’s a heavy odor of bat guano.

As the smell subsides temperatures start to become cooler, the natural entrance is about 1.25 miles that takes on average an hour to complete. The Big Room is also about 1.25 miles and takes about an hour and a half to walk it.

Members of Boy Scouts of America Troop 1861 from College Station, Texas, read an info board at Carlsbad Caverns National Park as they make their way through the Big Room Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Eddy County, New Mexico. (Odessa American|Jacob Ford)

While trekking the cavern, there was a scout group from College Station. Scouts BSA Troop 1861 had eight scouts and four leaders, which included Scout Master David Inbody. Following the journey through the caver, Inbody said the last time he been to Carlsbad Cavern was about three years ago.

“I told them that it’s really cool,” Inbody said about what he told the troop before entering the Carlsbad Caverns. “I really wanted them to discover it on their own.”

In addition to the scout troop, there were a wealth of families, photographers and other cave goers looking at the sights and sounds of the Carlsbad Caverns.

The Giant Dome, center, is considered a column as it meets up with the ceiling while the nearly identical Twin Domes, right, come up short and are stalagmites in Carlsbad Caverns National Park’s Big Room Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Eddy County, New Mexico. (Odessa American|Jacob Ford)

Fifty-nine-year-old Barry Jucha of Austin and 67-year-old Celia Silberberg. Jucha, who is originally from South Africa, took photographs of sights in the caverns and Silberberg said she is an avid cave goer.

“For me, I think they have done a great in lighting the cave, which has made it a lot easier to do photography in the caves,” Jucha said. “There’s so much to take in and it can be overwhelming at time.”

Silberberg added: “We did the walk down on the natural entrance which was spectacular. It was very different from any other entry into a cave that I’ve ever done.

“That was special. It was beautiful. It was very speechless for me at times.”