Austin, Texas – Bats of Austin

Austin Bats 1

NIKON D300, Nikon 18-200 VR

We have lived in Austin for over 2 years and my wife has always wanted to take the bat boat bat cruise here in Austin.  With family in town – it was aperfect time!  We took the Capital Cruise Tour.  It departed the dock around 7:45 PM.  Sunset in Austin was 8:27 PM last nite.  Cost is about $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for kids.

Here is a little info on the bats from the web –  The Congress Avenue Bridge spans Town Lake in downtown Austin and is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America.  The colony is estimated at 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats.   Each night from mid-March to November, the bats emerge from under the bridge at dusk to blanket the sky as they head out to forage for food.  This event has become one of the most spectacular and unusual tourist attractions in Texas.  The most spectacular bat flights are during hot, dry August nights, when multiple columns of bats emerge.  There are several points from which to view the event.

Austin Bats 2

I thought 2 pictures from this cruise will give you a feel for the bats.  As the boat took off the driver was very informative and noted many items about Austin I did not know.   One of interest was that in the past Texas was its own country and through the years has had 6 different national flags per ownership  (Mexico, France, Spain, Texas Republic, Confederate, and US).  This is where the theme park  “6 Flags” gets it name!

There are some beautiful views of the city from on the lake.   As the sunset, we were about 30 yards from the Congress Bridge where the bats live.  Then like a fire drill – thousands of bats take off into the night.  They leave in bunches and it is an amazing sight to see!    They help out Texas by eating lots of bugs throughout the evening!

Definately a fun experience.  As you can see there are many ways to see the bats – boat cruise, rent a kayak, stand on the bridge, eat at TGIF’s or just stand on the side of the river.   Just remember that its HOT in Texas during the summer – so don’t forget some water – we did – whew!  It was about 100 degrees last nite at sunset!  If you are in Austin and have a chance to see the bats – I’d say do it!  You can’t strike out with the Bats!!

UPDATE:  The top photo will be published in the October 2009 issue of Texas Monthly.

7 comments on “Austin, Texas – Bats of Austin

  1. Amy Coleman says:

    Hi there! I am currently working on a project for Defenders of Wildlife, and I wanted to see if I could possibly include your image (at top) in the design. It is for the endangered bats (white-nosed mold). This project may/may not ever be printed. It is just a possible concept we would be presenting. Please let me know if it would be possible for us to use.

    Thank you so much!

    Amy Coleman

  2. kristyowen1 says:

    Hi, I have a blog 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas and I was wondering if I could use one of your images for my post tomorrow, I will of course give you credit and put a link to your site. Please let me know if I could use one, if not no big deal. Over 85,000 see the blog each day so it would be good exposure for your pictures as they are all great of Austin.

    Thank you,
    Kristy Owen

  3. Angela says:

    Hi there. I absolutely love your bats photo (top one). I am currently decorating my office conference room with a collage of framed photos that exemplify the beautiful city we live in. I have pictures of the 360 bridge, the capital, the skyline at night, etc. Your bats photo would be a perfect addition, if you are willing to let me use and print it. I work for an Austin CPA with 100’s of clients that would potentially see your work and bring you recognition (and of course we will give you credit). I understand if you are not interested, but thought I would give it a try.

    Thank you,
    Angela Smith

    • Angela says:

      Sorry- I meant the second one down- not the first.

    • Angela, Hello! thanks!! It’s hanging in my office as well!! One of my favorites!!! I cannot sell it to you as it is under contract with Getty…but I do have an extra photo from a while back in my office I can give you! What size are you looking for? Email me at Thanks!! Pete

      • Angela says:

        Hello, Pete! Thanks for the offer, however my boss is very particular in how she wants it printed. In fact, we are doing gallery wraps on canvas. I appreciate your quick response, though! Is the old photo available in e-mail form (like jpeg)?
        Great pictures- you are very talented. 🙂

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