The Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge (formerly known simply as the Congress Avenue Bridge) crosses over Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas. Before construction of the Longhorn Dam was completed in 1960, the bridge crossed the Colorado River from which Lady Bird Lake is impounded. The bridge was known as the Congress Avenue Bridge from the construction of the first span across the Colorado River at that location in the late 19th century until November 16, 2006, when the Austin City Council renamed the current bridge in honor of Ann W. Richards, the 45th Governor of Texas and a long-term resident of Austin. The bridge is a concrete arch bridge with three southbound and three northbound vehicle lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the bridge.
The bridge is currently home to the world's largest urban bat colony. It is a maternity colony, meaning it is a place where pregnant females come to roost in the spring and raise their pups from mid summer to fall. Until the pups are born, male bats are not under the bridge.
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Josephine Shea | May 3, 2018
Way cool thing to do! My husband wanted no part of this but I persuaded him and he really enjoyed it. :-) We viewed from the little park next to the parking lot. You can also view from river on the boat tours.
Joshua Brown | Apr 9, 2018
A pretty unique chance to see a stream of bats fly out from the bridge. It was crowded when we were there and parking was expensive. And you can't see The bats any better than a far away flock of birds or swarm of insects. All that said, it's a nice way to spend an evening.
Alan Cohen | Apr 18, 2018
Incredible experience to see thousands of bats pouring out from the Congress St bridge and flying east in an organized swarm over riverside trees as the sun set. Great commentary by our riverboat captain/guide who drove us to the optimum spot on the river to view the bats.
Bekki Kirby | Mar 20, 2018
I took my kids so we could finally check this off our Texas Bucket List. We got there early and the bats flew late, but it was worth the wait. We started out down at river level, thinking that would be the best view. Once it seemed they were thinning out, we headed up, since we needed to get dinner. As we started crossing the bridge, we quickly realized the best view was up top. Such an amazing experience to have waves of the tiny little things flowing out, over the river, and then forming into their smudgey bands. Definitely worth the trip, and we hope to come back during peak bat season.
Cam Bogan | Apr 15, 2018
If you visit Austin, TX, you would be remiss to leave out this tradition. Each night of the week people congregate around the S. Congress bridge around sunset, to watch the “flight of the bats”. These are not scary blood sucking bats, these are small, adorable Mexican freetail bats. They live under the bridge and take flight at dusk, helping to control the mosquito population in our city. Feel free to Google them to get more information on these amazing mammals. While you are in Austin, get yourself a spot on the bridge, at the park to the right, under the bridge, or rent a kayak/canoe and just hang out in the water under the bridge. FYI, the bats don’t fly low and won’t get near you or in your hair, etc. However, if you see one on the ground, they do carry rabies, so you can call 311 and they’ll help you find someone to come out and collect the animal.
Joshua MacDonald | Jun 4, 2018
This is a really cool spectacle to see. The bats all came out for us around 8:40pm. We parked far away and walked. But I’ve heard the lot at the bridge can fill up fast. Worth seeing at least once.
Gail Nicola | May 18, 2018
Only 3 stars because the bats didn't really fly in the numbers we expected. We heard that they hadn't been as plentiful since a big storm passed through a couple of weeks prior. We still had a great time meeting all the other people waiting for the bats! And if you turn around to face West - you will be treated to a beautiful sunset while you wait for the bats!
Tony Nguyen | May 29, 2018
Went there 4 times and for the fist time in long time there was no bats to be seen! Its pretty cool to see them come out and feed, just be careful not to slip if your under the bridge looking up. There may be some loose gravel and such. Do sit down and wait there is no purpose of standing until the time comes, your gonna be waiting for a while...
Claudus Et Profugus | May 13, 2018
Growing up in New Mexico I've been able to see the bats take flight from the Carlsbad Caverns. This is almost more impressive. I was blown away by the number of bats living under this bridge. The atmosphere was great, we went on a Sunday evening and there were more people than expected. If you are planning on viewing them from below the bridge be sure to bring some kind of blanket or chair to sit on before the bats make their appearance. I plan to go back and see them again and want to see them from atop the bridge, I've been told that it is more impressive from up there. Another note for tourists, you do have to pay for parking but there is a huge lot with plenty of spots adjacent to the entrance.
Jordan Schneyer | May 27, 2018
We wasted 90 minutes waiting for nothing. The interpretive dance on the bridge and then moving to the hotel by the bridge was the only entertaining component of the experience. I would find something better to do in the evening should I return.
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