Watch millions of bats take flight at Bracken Cave Preserve


There are only bats beyond this point.

Photo by @ya_lo_issay

Table of Contents

While Austin may be known as Bat City, did you know that San Antonio has its own reputation with this fang-tastic creature?

Just 25 miles from the Alamo City, you can watch 15 million Mexican Freetail bats soar into the evening sky — making it the world’s largest-known bat colony.

Bracken Cave Preserve

Owned by Bat Conservation International (BCI), Bracken Cave Preserve is located near Natural Bridge Caverns and is open during the summer months as this is the time the bats become migratory.

BCI also works with other Texas organizations to protect the natural resources + wildlife that live here. In the future, BCI hopes to open Bracken Cave to the public as a permanent location for educational opportunities on the bats and other forms of life in the area.

The bat colony

What makes Bracken Cave so unique is that this female maternity colony produces millions of pups each year (Picture: 400 per sqft). You might be thinking “Isn’t Austin the world’s largest bat colony?” The answer is it’s the largest in an urban setting, giving birth to 750,000 pups per year.

The migratory season begins in March-April for these female bats. At the end of June, they start to give birth, multiplying the population in the cave rapidly. July + August is the perfect time to watch the young bats join their mothers in hunting food and testing their flight skills outside the cave.

How to watch

To view the bats in action, one must purchase tickets in advance on BCI’s website. Reservations often sell out, but there’s still an opportunity to watch them by becoming a BCI member.

If you can’t catch this year’s bat season at Bracken Cave, here are three other places to visit near San Antonio.

Happy viewing everyone.