We love to check out unique local adventures during our travels. During a week in Austin we took a tour up in the University of Texas tower, visited the LBJ Presidential Library, worked on a house build with the local Habitat for Humanity chapter, and…may have engaged in a local “snipe hunt.”*
According to local lore, a million and a half bats live under the Congress Bridge in downtown Austin. Each evening from mid-March to early November they emerge in mass from under the bridge to forage for insects. Tourists and locals gather at dusk on the bridge, under it, and in boats to watch them. We joined them one Saturday and waited for the bats to emerge. And waited and waited.
During the hour we watched we saw about two dozen emerge—not the hordes that we were told to expect. A few darted over our heads and we watched while the street lights turned on and the crowd dissipated. Finally, long after the time we had been told to expect the bats to come out to forage, we also gave up.
We wondered if our timing was just bad, the bats had taken Saturday night off, or we had been part of a great Austin Snipe Hunt—an elaborate practical joke by the citizens of Austin. You can find pictures and video of the bats online—but is it real, or photo shop.
If you happen to be in Austin please check it out. Maybe you’ll have better luck. Or maybe you’ll just be another snipe—or—in this case, bat, hunter.
If you go to Austin:
- Info on the Congress Street Bats, including pictures, here.
- The LBJ Presidential Library is located on the grounds of the University of Texas. It’s good for about a two hour visit.
- Reservations are required for the University of Texas Tower tour. Because the tower is an active office building and there are security precautions in effect, times are limited. Available tour times and reservation info here.
*Not sure what a snipe hunt is? Ask around. You’ll probably find someone who will take you on one.