We took our grandkids (11-12) to see the bats while overnighting in Austin. All the boat tours were booked so we paid $5 to park in the American Statesman parking lot and threw a beach towel down on a grassy hillside, beside the Congress St. bridge and along the river.
There was a large crowd there that only grew larger as dusk approached. We were entertained by an Elton John look alike who pulled his little piano down the hill, complete with funky hat, sunglasses and candles. I'm certain he was a college student and quite the entrepreneur, but he was very talented indeed! Of course, there were the usual hawkers of ice cream, glow sticks and other carnival paraphernalia and even an older gentleman taking donations in exchange for a bottle of water to feed the baby bats...really! So, our two grandkids at least got a show because, needless to say, they weren't impressed by the bats.
By the time the bats began coming out, it was too dark to take photographs and they could only be seen in the back light of the city's buildings. Thank goodness the tour boats had lights that were shown under the bridge and you could see the bats swarming out. And yes there are a ton of them.
After about 30 minutes we were ready to head out, along with a thousand other people, and waited in traffic to exit. All in all, the experience did not live up to the hype, in my opinion, so I would say..."been there, done that...never again!"
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