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Austin Bats of Congress Bridge

As Halloween approaches, Archer invites you to join him in exploring one of Austin’s most unique spectacles. Below the famous Congress Avenue Bridge lives the largest urban bat colony in North America. Populated primarily with Mexican free-tail bats, the colony emerges in the evening during bat season, March through November.

The colony is composed of nearly 750,000 pregnant female bats that make this annual trip from Mexico north to Austin. During their stay under the South Congress Bridge, they each give birth to one “pup” and double the population of the colony to 1.5 million.

The best viewing spots to see the bat colony include The Austin American Statesman Park on the southeast side of the South Congress Bridge, as well as the sidewalk of the bridge itself.

The Lone Star Riverboat Bat Cruise on Lady Bird Lake is another excellent way to view the colony in season. March through November, the Bat Watching Cruise departs from the southeast side of the First Street Bridge approximately 30 minutes before sunset every night and lasts about one hour.

The “cloud” of bats that is the most magnificent is the “first shift” wave, which flies out right before sunset, ready to hunt small insects. After the first shift, it can take two to three hours for all of the bats to come out and more than seven hours before they all return.

Each bat season has a distinct personality, and Lone Star Riverboats has partnered with Bat Conservation International in Austin to keep track of the bats’ departure times nightly. Check Lone Star Riverboat’s website for tour times and availability, or ask an Archer host for assistance in booking a tour during your visit to Austin with Archer.

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