Bat Watching – Austin TOP sight

Bat Watching in Austin

Austin is the capital of the state of Texas and a great place to visit with the whole family. Austin’s slogan is “Keep Austin Weird” and holding true to that, you can be sure to see some really unique things here!


Bat Watching – Austin – LOTS of bats

One of the most unique and unusual experiences you can have here in Austin is bat watching. Austin’s Congress Street bridge is home to the world’s largest urban colony of bats.

bats flying in the air - Austin, Texas

This colony of bats is 1.4 – 1.5 MILLION strong. That is a lot of bats – what an incredible view. How did scientists arrive at that number? It is an estimate based on the size of the bat (about the size of a chicken nugget) and the size of the space in the bridge. This amazing number is even bigger when these bats give birth .

Bat Watching – Austin – Type of Bats

This ALL female colony of Mexican free tail bats come here each summer to give birth. The best time to view these bats flying out at night for dinner is during late July and early August when the baby bats are old enough to fly out with mom.

You can watch the bats emerge each night from the bridge – ribbons of bats take flight beneath you as they head out each evening to feast on insects. Collectively this colony east 20,000 pounds on insects each and every night. Stop and think for a minute just how many insects that is….insects are tiny!

Bat Watching – Austin – The Best View

The very best stop for viewing the bats isn’t from the bridge – above them, but from the water – below them. See this phenomenon with the colorful Austin sunset in the background. Doesn’t this photo I snapped look like a postcard? If you are watching from the bridge…the sunset is behind you.

Congress street bridge in Austin with sunset and bats leaving

Another – and really important reason, to reason for watching from a cruise ship on the water is that kids are safely contained. I had 5 kids – from 3 families with me (yes, I was the only adult) with me for this bat adventure and no way was I going to stand on a bridge with cars buzzing by! There is always a wait for the bats because you don’t know exactly when they are coming out. Since that bridge is a busy street I chose to have that down time with 5 kids safely on a boat.

Bat Watching – Austin – Why THIS bridge?

Congress street bridge in Austin, Texas


Bat Watching – Austin – River Cruises

I chose a cruise for the bat viewing. There are 2 companies to choose from. They are literally side by side on the river and similar in experience.

Lone Star Riverboat

Capital Cruises

Since I made my reservations the day of, I simply went with the one who still had openings. You can sit wherever you like and we chose the double decker boat over the smaller pontoon boats – since it has a bathroom. Turns out that the lower level of this boat also has AC. Since Texas in July and August is miserably hot, the AC was really a welcome treat.

Bat Watching – Austin – Cool Bat Facts

The commentary and lame jokes had the kids in stitches. They also take questions. My group of kids aged 7 – 13 had a marvelous time!

children in Austin near street art of bat

We learned:

*Bats can swim! According to our commentary, they do the bat stroke.

*Bats can not glide like birds so they must constantly flap their wings.

*Bat can’t fly from a standing positing so they must ‘fall’ first which is why they live under a bridge!

*Bats are mammals.

*Bats are NOT blind! They see well AND use echolocation to find all those tiny bugs.

If you are coming to visit Austin, capital of the Lone Star State of Texas you’ll be interested in these related posts.

Austin Weird – Cathedral of Junk

Austin – Top Tips for Visiting

If you bring the kids, you’ll want a travel guide written JUST for them! Adventures in Austin

The Educational Tourist is proud to be included in the TOP Family Blog List.

Blogger award - Top 100 Family Travel Blogs

Happy Travels,

Natalie, The Educational Tourist

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4 Responses

  1. Kristi says:

    So cool!

  1. August 21, 2017

    […] Bats! – See the Largest Urban Colony of Bats in the World […]

  2. October 2, 2017

    […] Bat Viewing! – Largest Urban Bat Colony – Austin, Texas […]

  3. October 17, 2017

    […] Bats – View the largest urban bat colony in the world. […]

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