NileGuide Expert Says:
Catching the bats emerging from the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge is an exhilarating experience. For the best view, get there at least 30 minutes before dusk and wait on the southeastern side of the bridge, just over the water.
305 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX, United States
Though it may look like your average overpass, Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge houses one of Austin's natural wonders -- the world's largest urban bat colony. Small spaces in the expansion joints on the underside of the bridge are just the right size for little bat condos -- very crowded bat condos. From March through September, approximately 1.5 million bats make this simple structure their summer home. The Mexican free-tailed bats take flight nightly at dusk, consuming nearly 20,000 pounds of insects with each evening meal. As they emerge and head eastward, it looks like a ghostly dark river in the sky. Just 10 blocks south of the Texas State Capitol
and a mile north of the popular South Congress Avenue shopping district
, this fascinating sight draws thousands of onlookers to both sides of the bridge, as well as just below on the southeast bank of Lady Bird Lake (previously known as Town Lake.) There's a free parking lot near the bridge, but it fills up fast, so get there before sundown.