During our stay in Austin we spend an evening waiting at the South Congress bridge to see the bats make their daily exodus from their shady hiding spot. There are up to 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats that live under the bridge during the day and then sunset triggers them to leave in big swarms. It was really stunning to witness, and not something you see every day (unless you happen to live in Austin of course!). The excitement of everyone waiting together for the bats really ads to the atmosphere too.
The bats can be seen from March to September, and I recommend getting to the bridge with plenty of time before sunset so that you can get a good spot as it does get very crowded. Also take a water bottle as Austin gets quite warm and muggy in the summertime. If you don’t want to stand on the bridge you can also get some good viewpoints from the lookout and parkland on the riverbanks. The bats actually fly so fast it’s hard to even get a good picture you really have to experience it for yourself.
The majestic display lasts about 30 minutes after which we walked back down South Congress Ave to our accommodation at the Austin Motel, which is a great location an easy 15 minute walk from the bridge.
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