Congress Avenue Bridge Bats Tours

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Austin’s Congress Avenue Bridge is home to roughly 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats—the world’s largest urban bat colony. Spectators gather here on summer nights, cameras in hand, to watch these flying mammals emerge from beneath the bridge to hunt in the sky above Lady Bird Lake. 

The Basics
You can witness Austin’s beloved flying residents from various locations, including the eastern walkway of Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, the grassy hillside at the base of the bridge, or from Lady Bird Lake in a rented kayak, canoe, or paddle board. Bat-watching tours take various forms—enjoy a guided cycling tour around the lake before arriving at the bridge in time for bat viewing, paddle to the bridge on a kayak tour, or see the bats as part of a GPS-led scavenger hunt through the Texas capital.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • The Congress Bridge bats are a must-see for animal lovers and first-time visitors to Austin.
  • The bats’ dramatic appearance usually lasts between 45 and 60 minutes.
  • A typical bat tour lasts two to three hours, depending on the option chosen.
  • The public walkway along Congress Avenue Bridge is wheelchair accessible.

How to Get There
The Congress Avenue Bridge is located roughly one mile (1.6 kilometers) from downtown Austin. The easiest way to get there is on foot or by road. Parking is available near the Austin American-Statesman office, Auditorium Shores, and along East Riverside Drive.

When to Get There
The Austin bats can be seen between March and November, with their numbers peaking in summer. The mammals begin to emerge about 20 minutes before sundown; due to the spectacle’s popularity, it’s a good idea to show up an hour or so before sunset to stake out a spot on the bridge.

Austin Bat Trivia
The free-tailed bat colony that lives beneath South Congress Bridge was once feared, but today the bats are appreciated for keeping the city’s bug population under control. Each night, the colony consumes 20,000 to 30,000 pounds (9,072 to 13,608 kilograms) of insects. This particular species gets its name from its long tail, which measures about a third of the length of its body. The bats often fly up to two miles (3.2 kilometers) high and are among the fastest mammals in the world.
Location
Address: Austin, Texas, USA
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Austin's Lakes, Springs, and Bridges Bicycle Tour

See Austin's quieter side on a 2-hour bike tour that follows the tree-shaded Butler Trail around Lady Bird Lake. Learn about the city's past and present as you ride to highlights such as Barton Springs, HOPE Outdoor Gallery, and the Congress Street Bridge.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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$54.03 USD
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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Austin in a Nutshell Bike Tour

Discover Austin by bike on a 2-hour tour that goes through Zilker Park, Congress Avenue, and around Lady Bird Lake. See landmarks like the Texas State Capitol and Congress Avenue Bridge as your guide shares stories about the Texas capital's history.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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$49.00 USD
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  • Duration: 2 hours
From
$49.00 USD

Austin Bat Watching Bike Tour

Explore a different side of Austin’s legendary nightlife during this 2.5-hour bike trip to observe the city’s bat colony under Congress Avenue Bridge. These nightlife-loving denizens may never step foot inside a music club, but they sure know how to put on a show! Cycle first around Austin’s Lady Bird Lake, arriving at the bridge just in time to watch the more than 1.5 million bat residents as they take flight for their evening feeding. A guide and all bike equipment is included.
  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
From
$80.00 USD
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  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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$80.00 USD

Austin Historic Downtown 5K

See popular landmarks as you exercise on this guided running tour around downtown Austin. Run at a casual, accommodating pace through the streets of the city passing by Lady Bird Lake, the capitol building, the Governor’s Mansion, Congress, Ave, the Bat Bridge, and more. There are multiple guides on the tour, so it’s easy to go at your own pace or walk.
  • Duration: 1 hour
From
$25.00 USD
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  • Duration: 1 hour
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$25.00 USD

Small-Group Haunted Bats and Ghosts 5k Running Tour from Austin

See a different side of Austin on this small-group running tour. Casually run about 3.1 miles (5km) around the city, exploring some of Austin’s most infamous haunted landmarks. Then, head to the Congress Ave Bridge to see the bats fly out from under it for the night’s hunt at dusk.
  • Duration: 1 hour
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$25.00 USD
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  • Duration: 1 hour
From
$25.00 USD


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