Thursday, August 9, 2012

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Top 5 Tips to See the Austin Bats

If you ask people what to do in Austin, one of their top responses is "See the Bats!!"  But as a local, we tend to shy away from it.  At least we did. We always made excuses..."it's too hot" or "the bats aren't coming out like they used to!"

But we had a new mindset this summer, putting all the things we wanted to on a Summer Bucket List, my son wanted to see the bats.

 So we treked on down on Monday and parked at the Austin American Statesman parking lot (free!!).  We arrived at about 8:20 pm and sat down on the lawn set for bat watchers (is that what we call ourselves?).
 You do have a choice to watch from Congress Ave. bridge or the lawn down below.  We choose the lawn, as I didn't want to be watching 3 kids on a sidewalk next to busy Congress Ave.  As you can see, it gets pretty busy, but the lawn had plenty of room to find a nice spot to place a blanket or a few chairs.
 There are guys selling ice cream bars and light up toys.  And you can begin to hear a few bat "squeaks" as the sun starts to go down.  When dusk officially settled in, this guy started jammin' on his "drums" as if waking the bats up and inviting them out.

Slowly, one at a time, a bat would fly up and out.  But at about 8:40 pm, right at dusk, thousands of bats came pouring out from under the bridge.  It was certainly a site to behold, with lots of "wows" and "oh my goodnesses" murmured throughout the crowd. It stopped all three of my kids in their tracks and had them mesmerized for close to 5 minutes.
And as quick as that, they were gone.  You almost wanted to clap as if they had put on a 'great performance".  Watchers quietly shuffled away, exclaiming in excited tones what a neat experience that had been.

And I was happy we had made the trek down to Austin to see the infamous bats, almost kicking myself for waiting so long. It wasn't hot.  The bats came out in droves and it was an incredible experience for my kids to see.

Top 5 Tips to See the Austin Bats:
1. Go in Late July - Early September to see the best flights
2. Park in the Austin American Statesman parking lot on Congress Ave. (free after 6 pm)
3. Arrive by 8:20 pm to ensure you don't miss the sunset and the flight
4. Bring a blanket and sit on the lawn (less dangerous than the bridge if you have kids)
5. Bring some bug spray (the bats are coming out to eat mosquitos y'all, so who are the mosquitos going to eat?)

To ensure they are flying when you are heading down, call the Bat Hot Line at 512-416-5700 Ext. 3636

Other Fun Things to Do in Austin:



Texas Travel Facts for Austin Bats:
Location: Congress Avenue Bridge (between Cesar Chavez (north) and Barton Springs (south))
Hours: Daily: At Dusk (ours came out between 8:30-8:45 pm)
Admission: free (parking in Austin American Statesman lot is free after 6 pm)
Recommended Time: 20 minutes
Good to know: Bats emerge between March - November, but late-July through mid-August are best; bring blankets and sit on the Austin American Statesman Bat Observatory lawn; remember to look but do not touch the bats

3 comments:

Michele @ Malaysian Meanders said...

I've always wanted to take the Bat Watching Cruise. Of course, sitting by the Statesman parking lot is much cheaper. When we were there last, I remember seeing so many young kids reading Stellaluna while they waited for dusk to arrive.

Tonya @ The Traveling Praters said...

We'd planned to see the bats when we went through Texas but we were running a bit behind a very rigid schedule and had to cut it out. It looks like a cool experience.

MiMi said...

That's bizarre! Is that bizarre??