Crowd gathers for bat procession.
Crowd gathers for bat procession.

World's Largest Urban Bat Colony

Field review by the editors.

Austin, Texas

Crowds gather nightly to watch 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats shoot out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge. Standing atop the bridge, or down below (wear a hat), visitors provide condemned mosquitoes a last meal while waiting for the bats to make their entrance.

Two thumbs up to the Austin American-Statesman for allowing the use of their parking lot, and their grass to hang out on.

Across Congress Street from the Statesman stands a sculpture, "Nightwing," that celebrates the bat.


Bracken Cave in Texas is home to the world's largest colony of bats, but on land that for the most part is not publicly accessible. Another large, convenient-for-tourists bat colony is 15 miles north of Austin, underneath the I-35 underpass at McNeil Road, Round Rock. Over half a million there; wear a hat.

World's Largest Urban Bat Colony

305 S. Congress Ave., Austin, TX
Congress Avenue Bridge on Town Lake, Austin American-Statesman parking lot on the southeast side, free parking to the public after 6 pm.
Bats take wing just before dark, usually -- March through November. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Larger-Than-Life Willie NelsonLarger-Than-Life Willie Nelson, Austin, TX - < 1 mi.
Texas Toy MuseumTexas Toy Museum, Austin, TX - < 1 mi.
Statue of Stevie Ray VaughanStatue of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Austin, TX - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Round-Headed Artist with Paintbrush, Austin, TX - 5 mi.

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