Austin BatsCurrently Open
- Address: 305 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704, United States
- Timings: 24-hrs Details
- Phone: +1512-3279721
- Ticket Price: Free
- Tags: History Museums, Park, River, Bridge, Historical Site, Family And Kids
Did you know a bat baby is called a pup? Or that bat mothers can identify their babies by their unique smell and high pitched squeak? You’ll be able to learn these facts, and more, at the Congress Avenue Bridge; the kind of destination that will leave you batty about Austin! This is no surprise since the city itself is home to the largest urban bat colony in the world. Besides parks and museums, another incredible wonder is the Congress Avenue Bridge, which makes a lovely home for nearly 1.5 million bats that fly in during spring. These bats are just as useful and important to the ecology of Austin as the bridge is to commuters, and visiting this site will tell you why.
In 1871, a big, beautiful bridge was constructed over the Colorado River, this was replaced by a wooden toll bridge and then finally, in 1980, the Congress Avenue Bridge was born. Unknown to the builders, the crevices under the bridge made for ideal bat roosts and soon attracted thousands upon thousands of bats, mostly female, that were flying into Austin for spring. Though these misunderstood creatures were first met with animosity by the locals, it was soon apparent that the bats were sweet, peaceful creatures that helped everyone out by eating up pesky insects! Soon, the people of Austin and these Mexican Free-Tailed bats began to live in perfect harmony.
The bridge became a tourist destination, attracting visitors and animal lovers from all kinds of places. The Austin American Statesman created the Statesman Bat Observation Center that’s just adjacent to the bridge. It’s from here you’ll be treated to fantastic views of the bat families flying and swooping around at night, while learning interesting details about the lives of these sophisticated flying mammals. These beautiful creatures are awe inspiring to watch, with their cute faces but smooth, elegant wings, gliding upon air currents through the sky.
- You can visit this place after sunset around 6:30 pm.
- You can view the scenery and the bats from atop the bridge, from the water on a canoe or kayak, from the Austin Statesmen grass and from the Radisson hotel so take your pick.
- Head to the South end of the river on the east side of the bridge, immediately adjacent to the Statesman parking lot. There's a viewing area there that’s better than the view on the bridge.
- Take something to sit on or you will be sitting on the ground.
- Wear long sleeved clothingas there might be mosquitoes from the river.
- Do donate to the Bat Conservation gentleman that monitors the place.
- Check out the bat statue on the NW corner of Congress Bridge at the Statesman parking lot intersection.
- The place is open all day.
- Be sure to arrive maybe 30-40 minutes before sunset, make sure to think about parking time.
- By bike: Yellow Bike Project, Phone- 512-457-9880; Bicycle Sports Shop - Bike Rentals, Phone- 512-477-3472.
- By taxi: Yellow Cab, Phone- 512-452-9999. website includes fare estimator and online booking.
- You can travel Austin by car and taxi as well.
- The Driskill Bar & Grill
- ChiLantro Korean BBQ+Mexican
- Roaring Fork
- The Hideout Theater
Love this? Explore the entire list of things to do in Austin before you plan your trip.
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95% of people who visit Austin include Austin Bats in their plan
08 AM - 09 AM
37.82% of people start their Austin Bats visit around 08 AM - 09 AM
People usually take around 30 Minutes to see Austin Bats
91.45% of people prefer to travel by car while visiting Austin Bats
Fantastic experience! Wow. Hundreds of thousands of bats, streaming out for close to half an hour. Unbelievable. If you are interested in bat watching only, remember to check the date in advance. try standing on top of the Congress Bridge or rent a kayak.
Fantastic experience! I had read mixed reviews and wasn’t sure if we would see any bats, and if so how many. Wow. Hundreds of thousands of bats, streaming out for close to half an hour. Unbelievable. And free! Except for the parking. If you are in town at dusk, make this a priority!
It's overrated. If you take boat ride and if guide explains you things than it is little bit OK but otherwise don't waste your time standing above or under bridge just to see Bats fly around. In dark mostly you don't see much. We learned this hard way spending more than 2 hours.
A very interesting place. The annual bat festival blocks the entire region, however. If you are interested in bat watching only, remember to check the date in advance.
Experience was great!! Try to be at the location during sunset. Thousands of bats flew out.