Houston is home to a large colony of Mexican free tailed bats, but unlike the majority of the bats in Austin that migrate each winter back to Mexico, most of these bats spend their entire lives under Waugh Drive during the day, and in the skies above Buffalo Bayou and Downtown Houston at night, searching out insects!
While in Houston we watched the bats emerge at dusk, and it’s a really incredible sight! While there aren’t as many as in Austin, it’s still completely worth your time! A huge plus is that the bridge is located on the hike and bike trail in Buffalo Bayou Park, which has plenty to do during the day, too!
Know Before You Go
It takes about 20 minutes for all the bats to emerge, but plan to arrive before sunset to watch them take off!
Do NOT try to touch the bats, or a downed bat.
The bats emerge ONLY from the East side of the bridge, the side the observation deck is on.
Parking is tricky. Nearby stores all post towing enforced signs. We ran into a liquor store, bought some cold waters and asked if we could park, and she said yes. Other cars were parked everywhere, but nothing ruins a trip like having your car towed.
While Austin’s Congress Ave Bridge has hundreds of people watching the bats nightly, it was nice to be able to not have to fight a huge crowd! The Observation Deck is a great place to watch as they embark in the evening.
Watch the skies for hawks, that converge around the bridge and flight path, and will try to catch themselves a bat dinner as the bats emerge. We saw several red-tailed hawks, and even a Peregrine Falcon, which like tall buildings and will knock the bats right out of the air! You’ll find yourself having a hard time chosing to cheer for the bats or the birds!
Don’t go too close to the bridge while they are flying! You won’t want to, it smells really bad! The hike and bike trail runs under the bridge, and it’s best to just wait until they have all flown off!
Our friend Mallory couldn’t take the smell, so they watched from the pedestrian area on the bridge.
Buffalo Bayou Park
There are SO many fun things to do in the park!!
The Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area is a wonderful park located on the shores of Buffalo Bayou! Click HERE to read more!
Take a tour of Buffalo Bayou from boat on a 90 minute tour aboard the Sprit of the Bayou. Click HERE to read more!
Just North of the Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark is the Houston Water Works, a huge underground cistern that once held the city’s drinking water! Tours are offered for a small fee, and FREE on Thursdays, but children under 9 are not allowed! Click HERE to read more!
For more information on bike and canoe/kayak rentals, click HERE.
Things To Do in Houston
Voted the BEST Children’s Museum in the country by Parent’s Magazine, the Children’s Museum of Houston is really amazing! Click HERE to read more!
The Downtown Aquarium is much more than just a restaurant, with animal encounters, rides and so much more! Click HERE to read more!
If you want to be near the Waugh Drive Bridge and Buffalo Bayou Park, check out the many cute homes and cottages, as well as a few high rise rentals on VRBO, all withing walking or bike-riding distance to the park! Click HERE for more information!
Waugh Drive Bridge Bat Colony
Allen Pkwy and Waugh Drive, Houston
Click HERE to visit their website.
Keep Having Fun in the Texas Sun!
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