I love spending time in Austin; I find it to be one of the most fascinating and eclectic cities I’ve ever been to. Any city with a slogan like: “Keep Austin Weird” is a place I’ll come back to again and again…and so should you! Besides being the capital of Texas and the “Live Music Capital of the World”, Austin is also heralded for her wide variety of vibrant entertainment and culture, her incredible array of dining experiences, her beautiful outdoor settings, and the amazingly diverse group of inhabitants who call Austin home…including about 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats!
Every night at dusk, from March-November, the sky comes alive as bats set out from their home underneath the Ann W. Richards Congress Ave. Bridge on their nightly quest for food. There are several great viewing spots on and around the bridge, all giving you a different perspective of this incredible event. If you opt to watch from the bridge, you’ll want to arrive early to make sure you get a good spot for viewing. Also, please be careful and make sure you watch out for traffic, especially if you bring along the youngins’.
Another great spot to view the bats is the Austin American-Statesman’s Bat Observation Center on the southeast side of the Congress Ave. Bridge. Many people spread out blankets on the grass and relax while taking in not just the bats, but some of Austin’s incredible sunsets. There are also companies offering boating, kayaking, biking, and even Segway tours at prime bat-viewing locations and times.
I’m heading to Austin this weekend because now is considered bat “peak season”, when the baby bats are now old enough to fly and begin joining the adults on their nightly hunts. I also timed my visit to coincide with the 13th Annual Bat Fest on Saturday, August 19th which will take place at the Congress Ave. Bridge. This one day festival promises to be the event of the summer, with incredible live music acts performing rock, hip-hop, soul, jazz, country, etc. on three stages, 75 arts and crafts vendors, a mouth-watering assortment of food and drink, fun activities for children of all ages, a bat costume contest with a $100 prize for the top costume, and so much more. Visit the Batfest event website for more information about the festival, a lineup of the Bat Fest bands and to buy tickets.
However you decide to experience Austin’s Bat Show, whether from the bridge, from the land, or from Lady Bird Lake, it is something that I highly recommend the next time you visit weird – and wonderful! – Austin.
Read more about visiting Austin at Tour Texas.