Tourist in my own town

My Dad and his wife are in town visiting for a few days.

Dad is always on the go. For someone his age he’s so go-go-go that he tires out me, Wife, and Kiddos. 🙂  But it’s good to see him and it also forces us, every time he comes to visit, to think of new things to go see and do. Thus we finally get to do some of those things that you never do unless someone visits.

For instance, lived in this town how many years? And it wasn’t until some months ago at my buddy W’s wedding rehearsal dinner at Shoreline Grill that I got to see the famous Congress Street Bridge bats. My kids have never seen the bats, tho they do get to see some bats here and there because a few must live in our neighborhood as we see some bats flying at evening twilight from time to time. So one plan we made was to go see the bats.

One reason I wanted to post about this was to get more information about the bats out there. A big reason why I hadn’t taken the kids to see the bats was because I couldn’t figure out some of the logistical details like: when do they come out? (about sunset) where can you watch them? (anywhere around the bridge but…) where can you park? (parking lot of the Austin-American Statesman, which then has a little hill at the south-east corner of the bridge where you can sit and watch them, all for free). Just little logistical details like that. I’d search around and not be able to find anything like this. Oh sure I’d find lots that talked about the bats, just not covering logistical details. The best thing I finally discovered was the “bat hotline” at 512-416-5700 x3636. It’s a recording that tells what’s going on with the bats, some information about them, and about what time the bats are flying.

While we were not in peak season (it’s usually during warmer months that there is peak flight), certainly 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats still need to eat! We had lunch at Freebirds World Burrito, played 36 holes of golf at Peter Pan Mini-Golf (I finished both courses, each scoring 50, with a couple holes-in-one, and coming in 1st place; my Dad came in 2nd place; Daughter did pretty well too), then it was about 5:00 PM and with sun setting within the hour we opted to head over to the Austin-American Statesman’s building off the south-east corner of the Congress Ave (now Ann Richards) Bridge. Parking was no problem. A little walk down the hike-and-bike trail and we found the little grassy hill right by the bridge. Lots of other people were there, all waiting for the bats. You could hear them all “chirping” under the bridge. It was pretty cool. I kept remarking how I just spent 3 days waiting on animals to appear, I was getting kinda tired of that. 😉  Eventually a few bats started to appear, zipping right overhead. Then, the stream started. From where we were we could just see an endless stream of bats coming out from under the bridge. I do mean endless. It was wild to watch.

One tip I gave my kids was there were 2 ways you could watch. One, just hold your eyes still, and you’ll watch all the bats zooming by in a blur. Two, move your eyes with the bats and while you may only “see them” for a second or two, the complementary motion of bat and eyeball in the same direction will make the bat look “slower” and thus you’ll get a clearer picture of the bat and not just a blur going by. When I told this to the Kids they all appreciated it, especially Youngest because now he felt like he could really see the bats better. Tip for you parents.

After a while well… that was enough. We headed back to the car and over to Threadgill’s World Headquarters for some dinner.

Good times.

4 thoughts on “Tourist in my own town

    • That’s lame it removed the link. I wonder why it did that.

      If the hotline is like that, it better be kept under one of those glass cake covers. All important phones are covered by one of those.

      • The interesting thing is the first time I put the full url in and it was removed. The second time I added spaces until I got to www, then when it was posted WordPress made it a good link and added “http://” before www, but after my spaced “h t t p : / /”.

        Now I feel like I’d like to have a phone that looks like a cake, somehow. 😉

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