Day Trips

Bracken Bat Cave outside of New Braunfels is home to the world's largest bat colony

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

Bracken Bat Cave outside of New Braunfels is home to the world's largest bat colony and is open to the public for a trial period on weekends this summer. There are so many bats emerging from the opening at the bottom of the limestone sinkhole that they show up on weather radar.

As the sun drops behind the live oak covered horizon, 16 to 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats fly into the night looking for insects. The bats reside in Central Texas from March to November before migrating to Mexico.

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

Bat Conservation International acquired the property in 1992, but access has been limited to members. They're the same folks who do educational programs about bats at Austin's Congress Avenue Bridge, the largest urban colony of bats in the world.

BCI provides a bat briefing at Natural Bridge Caverns before visitors drive to the property. As twilight engulfs the landscape, the flapping of thousands of wings grows into a soft roar as the bats execute their well-choreographed exit. Ribbons of flying mammals flutter into the fading light like columns of smoke. The display continues for four hours until the last insectivore goes on a dinner run.

Bracken Bat Cave is open by reservation at $24.99 per person (www.brackenbatflight.com). Discounted tickets are available by joining BCI at 327-9721. Combination tickets include a tour of Natural Bridge Caverns.

1,089th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Day Trips
Day Trips: Roberto's River Road Restaurant
Day Trips: Roberto's River Road Restaurant
Baton Rouge cafe serves Cajun food on the Mississippi River

Gerald E. McLeod, April 26, 2019

Day Trips: The Elissa, Galveston
Day Trips: The Elissa, Galveston
Tall ship returns as sailing school and museum

Gerald McLeod, April 19, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Bracken Bat Cave, New Braunfels, Mexican free-tailed bats, Bat Conservation International, Congress Avenue Bridge, Natural Bridge Caverns

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle