There are some things that you just have to see to believe. I came across Wigwam Village #2 a few years ago when researching interesting places to take my son. Ultimately, we decided head to Cincinnati for our trip but the wigwam village has stayed on my must see places. Over Thanksgiving, we planned to drive past Cave City and I seized upon my opportunity to stop in and visit the area. And the good news? They take mastercard.
In our current political climate this motel's theme could be skewed as racist but it's history indicates that its creator, Frank A. Redford, intended to recreate a Sioux Tribe he once visited. (It should be noted that the dwellings are teepees and not wigwams) He wanted to emulate the feeling of community and warmth. Wigwam Village Inn #2 was completed in 1937 in Cave City, and five more were built over time in Alabama, Florida, New Orleans, California, and Arizona. The Cave City location is one of three left in the United States and has been added to the historical registry.
It is definitely worth the drive just to see it, not to mention all the attractions in the area. The largest attraction, Mammoth Cave, is only 10 miles from Cave City. Mammoth Cave boasts the longest known tunnel system coming in at 400 surveyed miles. Tours are offered daily ranging from beginner to experienced explorers. This little stop between Bowling Green and Elizabethtown has character for days. I have never seen so many putt-putt golf courses in such a small area save for Gatlinburg, Tennessee. My kids were over the moon with thoughts of go karts, zip-lines, and dinosaurs when we go back to visit this coming spring. My older son remarked at one point, “This is every kids dream vacation.” I would hesitate to categorize this town as a dream vacation but if you put on your kid colored glasses and ignore the worn out vibe you will enjoy yourself. It felt like the kind of place to put down technology and make memories instead.
Dream vacation or not, Cave City would be fun place to spend your time. After we drove the main strip, we headed for Wigwam Village. I was literally vibrating I was so excited to visit. My first look at the village had me scrambling out of the car without my gear I was so excited. It is completely adorable and over the top kitsch but it is oh so much fun. The wigwams resemble upside down concrete ice cream cones and are arranged in a semicircle around a play area. Once I got rid of the huge grin on my face, I shook my head. This place is tucked in the middle of a dying town with semis and 4 wheelers roaring by every other minute. It just seemed so incredibly out of place. It felt like wearing your prom dress to PJ day at school. Now granted, I don’t know that you would want to wear your prom dress to wigwam village if you want to ride the slide in the common area. Each wigwam boasts a bathroom, bed, TV and air conditioning. According to the website, each room is decked out with the original 1930s furniture. Think of each wigwam as a bedroom and you are getting the picture. Each wigwam opens to a common area filled with (slightly outdated) playground equipment. When I spoke to one of the occupants, he remarked that the wigwams were enough to sleep in but not much else. If you have a large family you would need to rent more than one wigwam. I am doubtful my family of 4 could handle the room size for more than a couple days. The great news is that the room rates run from $42 to $67 depending on the season and an overnight stay wouldn't break the bank if you needed to rent more than one. Wigwam Village, typed as a motel, is big on character and when placed against other attractions like dinosaur world doesn’t seem as out of place as I originally thought. If you decide to visit Cave City, don't forget a sensible pair of shoes and a sense of nostalgia. Both will help you fit right in.