By Annika Erdman
When it’s spring time in Austin, warm weather and SXSW aren’t the only things arriving in town. The bats are back as well. Austin is home to the largest urban population of Mexican Freeail bats. Beginning in March, thousands of bats make their home under the Congress Avenue Bridge and each night take flight at dusk. Watching them swoop from under the bridge, across the treeline and off into the eastern sky is incredible, even for squeamish visitors.
The bats stay in Austin until November, which means there is plenty of time to see them — and lots of different ways. Walking down Congress Avenue and standing on the bridge to watch the bats from above is an easy and free way to watch. Just make sure to get there early to snag a spot to stand!
It’s even battier to watch from below the bridge, so you can see the bats emerge from underneath, and hear them too. Capital Cruises offers tours on boats along Town Lake March-October. For more adventurous visitors, there are also kayak tours available. I recommend Live Love Paddle because they provide all the equipment (even bottled water) and offer guided tours with both single and 2-person kayaks. Expect to spend at least $10/person for tours and $35/person for kayaking.
Watching the bats are fun for all ages, so treat your guest to a batty night you can’t experience anywhere but Austin.