Austin Skyline with bat

Bat City - Austin, Texas - Keep Austin Weird

Austin Bat Sculpture
Austin, Texas Bat Sculpture

Bats Departing from Congress Bridge in Austin, Texas
mexican free tailed bat
Mexican Free Tailed Bat

The Austin skyline from Congress Avenue Bridge by L.A. Cargill

Biggest Tourist Attraction in Texas!

As a tourist attraction, no one would have believed that bats would be a big draw. The bats had a different opinion, however. Approximately 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats fly out every night to entertain the crowds along the Ann Richard's Congress Avenue Bridge. There is a very nice picnic spot for the evening flight at the Austin American Statesman's bank along the Texas Colorado river just below the bridge.

Every night during March through November, the bats start flying out from under the bridge at dusk to amaze their growing numbers of fans. The bats head out to forage for food. It's so entertaining that the nightly show has become one of the most spectacular and unusual tourist attractions in Texas. The best bat flights are during hot, dry August nights, when streaming columns of bats emerge like black clouds soaring up, up and away. An information kiosk is located on the north bank of the river, just east of the bridge

Cruising for Bats

Offering a Sunset Bat Watching Cruise is the popular electric paddle wheel boat operated by Capitol Cruises of Austin. This is the most fun you can have while bat watching.

The boat takes you up the river to point out some of the lovely sights along the Texas Colorado river that snakes through downtown Austin. The boat goes right under the bridge where the bats are sleeping.

Just about the time you think "What's that smell?", the little furry mammals begin to stir and you can watch them emerge from the joints of the bridge and start flapping their little wings. Some actually fall in the water and they swim to shore, dry off and fly away. No one is allowed to touch the bats, they have been known to carry rabies, but you can really get a close look at the ones in the water by just looking down at them. They are just so cute!

Kayak Bat Watching

Go to Joe's Crab Shack on Lady Bird Lake and rent a kayak or bring your own. Reservations at Live Love Paddle Kayaks are highly recommended and they run out of kayaks fast. You still don't want to touch the bats even though you will certainly be able to from a kayak. Sometimes the kayak watching is just as fun as the bat watching!

Bike Tour from Austin Cycle School

Austin is bike friendly. Austin Cycle runs a tour that takes you along the incredible hike and bike trail along the river. A stop at Barton Springs Pool is included, so bring a bathing suit. Not too many people swim in the river, but everyone loves a swim at Barton Springs.

The bike tours are limited to small groups and riding along the bridge watching the bats fly out is one of the most unusual things you can do on a bike

Grassy Knoll Bat Watching

The grassy area next to the Austin American Statesman Newspaper building is always full of tourists. Bring a picnic, bring lots of fluids. Enjoy the show! There is plenty of free parking after 6 pm at the Texas Dept. of Transportation parking lot.

The Statesman parking lot is under construction as of 2010. This event is free and whenever someone comes to visit us now, we take them downtown to enjoy the nightly event.

Interesting facts about bats...

  • The Austin bats from this one bridge eat between 10,000 to 30,000 pounds of insects nightly
  • Bats can live to be 30 years old
  • Mother bats have one pup each year
  • Bats are mammals and nurse their own pups. Mom knows her pup by its squeak and its smell
  • During migration, the bats may fly up to 10,000 feet and may fly up to 60 miles per hour!
  • Bats do not get tangled in your hair
  • Bats are not blind
  • Bats are not flying rodents, they are cat like mammals with soft fur
  • Bats are not ugly, they are really kind of cute
  • Bats are close to being on the endangered list of animals in the U.S.
  • Bats are shy, gentle and intelligent

How to find the Ann W. Richards Congress Ave Bridge, Austin, Tx 78704 - Enter your current location...

flying mexican free tailed bat

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