Things to Do

Get Batty This Weekend at Austin’s Bat Fest

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Tony Maples Photography


Every evening during the summer months, millions of Mexican free-tailed bats form a “bat vortex” and fly out of their home under the Ann W. Richards Congress Street Bridge in downtown Austin. People gather – some with picnics, all with great enthusiasm – to watch these curious creatures take flight and go off to do the good work of eating many times their body weight in bugs.

Saturday, August 19

Congress Bridge

Photo: Flickr/Kent Kanouse

This Saturday, August 19, you can, not only watch this incredible feat of nature in action, but also celebrate it at Austin’s Bat Fest. This family friendly event begins at 4 p.m. and lasts until midnight. As nature tends to be unpredictable, no one ever really knows the exact time that the bats will begin to emerge, so plan to be there between 7 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. if you care to see these winged mammals doing their thing.

Texas Is Home to the World’s Largest Bat Colony.

Bat flight

Photo: Flickr/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

Texas is home to many of the world’s largest bat colonies. Thanks to our warm summers and plentiful bug populations (due to farming), the Mexican Free-Tailed bats have chosen Texas as the place to give birth and raise their young. In fact, right down the road in San Antonio, Bracken Bat Colony is the largest known bat colony in the world, as well as one of the largest concentration of mammals on earth.

People often react negatively when asked how they feel about bats. They are among the most misunderstood of animals – routinely feared and thought to be disease-carrying menaces. But it’s clear that bats play an important role in our ecosystem and rarely harm humans.

3 Stages With Live Music and Much More

Bat Fest

Photo: Flickr/Nathan Peck

At Bat Fest this year, there will be three stages with live music, more than 75 arts & crafts vendors, delicious food and drinks, fun children’s activities, a bat costume contest, and other bat activities. Tickets are $15 at the gate (cash only, please, or purchase online) and children 8 years and under are free with a paying adult.

Go to the Bat Fest website to learn more about this fun, end-of-summer event.