Hawaii Mom Blog: Visit Austin: Capital Cruises Bat Watching Tour




April 14, 2022

Visit Austin: Capital Cruises Bat Watching Tour

Mahalo to Capital Cruises for hosting tickets.  Gratuity was paid on our own.

A must-do activity in Austin is to watch the emergence of hundreds of thousands of bats from the Anne W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge.  Some people simply go to the bridge and wait on the bridge or nearby.  We decided to take a Bat Watching Tour with Capital Cruises

The tour departs 30 minutes before sunset (check-in is 30 minutes prior to departure).  Once checked in, guests were able to select from one of two boats, both of which offered great views from no matter where you were seated.

Our Tour Guide did let us know right off the bat (pun intended) that there is no guarantee that we would see any bats, since they are wildlife, after all, but I was very excited for the cruise anyway since I was eager to learn all about Austin.

We cruised down Lady Bird Lake on the Colorado River, and learned about the various bridges, buildings, and wildlife.
Being on the water gave you a great vantage point of the Downtown skyline.  I always enjoy looking at the different styles of architecture.

Our Tour Guide told us all sorts of interesting facts about the unique structures along the lake (such as the iconic Google tower, shaped like a sail) and the lake itself (eg Lady Bird Lake was the result of the completion of the Longhorn Dam in 1960).

Of course, we were told all sorts of facts about bats too, such as how these mammals were originally feared when they were initially discovered nesting in the bridge, but now they are embraced and attract thousands of tourists a month.  Bats, which are mammals, are heavier than birds, and flap their wings faster than birds. 

Speaking of birds, we saw all sorts of birds while on the cruise - ducks, snowy egrets, and even blue herons!
Nearly 1.5 hours after departure, the first of the bats started to appear, as they went on their search for food (they fly out at night or as close to night as possible to avoid predators; their favorite food is a corn moth).

It was a really neat sight!  It wasn't a huge black mass in the sky, but instead lots of specks flying beneath the clouds.

The emergence happens over hours, and although we witnessed just a small portion of the emergence, it was still a cool experience.

Consistent bat sightings are from March through mid May. From mid May to June is birthing, and prime viewing is from July-October. Early in the year you can see hundreds of thousands of bats. After the birthing season, it's possible to see well over a million.

If you visit Austin during the winter, you can still take a nice sunset cruise (weather permitting) down the lake.

As the sun went down, the skyline lit up, and we got a really nice view of Downtown.

Our Tour Guide was awesome, and it was such an incredible experience to see the bats!

Visit Capital Cruises for more information.

Capital Cruises

208 Barton Springs Rd
Austin, TX 78704

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