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Congress Avenue Bridge (South Congress Bridge)
Congress Avenue Bridge (South Congress Bridge)

Congress Avenue Bridge (South Congress Bridge)

star-5
2,426 Reviews
Free admission
100 Congress Ave, Austin, Texas

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.

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Recent reviews from experiences in Austin

star-5
What, no bats?
Errol_H, Jun 2021
Congress Avenue Bat Bridge Kayak Tour in Austin
Kayaking was fun and guide was most helpful. We were inexperienced kayakers. Sadly, the bats decided not come fly last night. Didn’t realize that was a possibility. So, we didn’t see the bats after all. It was a fun experience.
star-5
Great experience.
KC_in_Austin, Jun 2021
Congress Avenue Bat Bridge Kayak Tour in Austin
Travis was a great tour guide! He provided interesting facts (both historical and present day) about the buildings along the river as well as Austin as a city. The equipment was good, the views were beautiful, and the breeze while paddling back was very refreshing. Only cautionary warning is that it may go longer than 2 hours… our tour was closer to 3 hours by the time everyone got back and out of the kayaks.
star-5
Great Expedition
Robert_F, Jun 2021
Congress Avenue Bat Bridge Kayak Tour in Austin
Travis was great! Very infonrditve and interesting commentary. A perfect way to see the bat phenomenon.
star-5
Scenic bike ride full of history and pictures of bats.
3isenuf2017, Oct 2019
Congress Avenue Bats Bike Tour in Austin
Mike did a great job of explaining the bike ride before we started and giving a history of the city and scenic sites along with a great explination of the bats.
star-5
Super fun tour, don’t miss!
Ali20814, Jun 2019
Congress Avenue Bats Bike Tour in Austin
This is an ideal tour! It’s active at a mellow pace, gives you a great sense of the city’s layout, and shows a local perspective that’s hard to get otherwise. Mark is a fantastic guide. Funny and knowledgeable. Perfect way to learn about Austin and see the crazy bat action!! Don’t miss this one.
star-5
Must do in Austin!
Andrew_S, Jun 2021
Congress Avenue Bat Bridge Kayak Tour in Austin
This was the coolest thing we did in Austin. Connor, our guide was hilarious and very personable. He made sure everyone had a great time and he was very knowledgeable about the city, the lake, and the bats. Being on the lake is fun and seeing the bats fly is oddly beautiful and exciting. I’d highly recommend!
star-5
Awesome
Jill_G, May 2021
Congress Avenue Bat Bridge Kayak Tour in Austin
Our guide Travis was awesome very informative on the history of Austin whole bat experience is something everyone needs to do great fun thank you Travis worth the trip from Oklahoma
star-5
Great Experience
Alyssa_H, Apr 2021
Congress Avenue Bat Bridge Kayak Tour in Austin
Travis was a great tour guide. Very fun! Would definitely recommend to people coming to experience the city.
star-5
Loved the set up and then...
Tammy_E, Apr 2021
Congress Avenue Bat Bridge Kayak Tour in Austin
Loved the set up and then being on the water looking at the city was very nice. Seeing the bats come out was the bonus just wow from the water.
star-5
Bat kayak tour
Melissa_T, Mar 2021
Congress Avenue Bat Bridge Kayak Tour in Austin
The sunset was beautiful. Our guide was fun and informative. We plan on returning once the weather is a bit warmer.
star-4
Bat viewer
Suzanne_H, Mar 2021
Congress Avenue Bat Bridge Kayak Tour in Austin
The guides were friendly and had fun stories. Equipment was in good shape good location for tour with free parking a bonus in Austin!
star-4
Seeing the bats and Austin skyline at dark
Cindy_C, Oct 2020
Congress Avenue Bat Bridge Kayak Tour in Austin
Guide was interesting. Lots of Houston facts. Relaxing way to see the bats. Very friendly. Nice to get some extra kayaking in too

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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