Austin Bucket List for 2014: Seeing the Bats Emerge Downtown

bucketlist1Here at LiveMom, we put out a call to a few of our friends to see if anyone else wanted to join us on our Bucket List Adventure for 2014. The idea was to get out there and do one thing we’ve always wanted to do in Austin…about one per month. It might be with kids, might be without. Either way, we’re going to report back to you on how it went. If you go to the page with all of our lists, you can see which ones we have completed and written about.

We’re thrilled that Traci Shannon joined us on our quest! Without further ado, here’s her report on her sixth”mission”:

This piece could be called “How to Not See the Bats Under the South Congress Bridge”. Well, almost. We had planned to see the bats as a family on Monday evening. My son, however, twisted his ankle on Saturday, landing him on crutches. Then, my daughter got a terrible head cold and cough. I, however, was dead-set on seeing the bats before the time change. So Dad stayed home and this Momma headed out on her own.

Things did not go as planned. They rarely do.

First, I had read online that there was free parking at the Austin American-Statesman parking lot. I pulled into the lot to find a big sign that said otherwise. Big, BIG sign. I saw others doing it and strongly considered parking there, but I chickened out.

So I began the downtown Austin parking hunt. I circled and circled. I passed many lots that threatened towing as prominently as the Statesman. Part of me wondered how many bat viewers they could really catch but again, I chose to keep moving. After ten minutes, I found street parking about three blocks away.

At this point, the sun was nearly flush. Whoo! Just in time, I thought. Having read that they come out after sunset, I rushed past other walkers thinking that meant “right after sunset”. This also influenced my decision to buy one hour of parking.

Bat Statue at dusk

I walked like a crazed chicken across the Congress bridge, terrified that the bats would fly away without me. I made it to the lawn next to that aforementioned Statesman lot and found many viewers leisurely sitting on the grass. Oh yeah. I forgot a blanket. And… bug spray.

Sunset on the Bridge at duskAdvertisement
Nonetheless, I made it. The sky turned a beautiful pink and I was ready for bats. Except that the bats didn’t come. Soon thereafter, a very nice gentleman informed me that it would be at least 45 minutes. I remind you — I bought a one hour parking sticker. And I am wearing a skirt with no blanket or bug spray.

But after my disappointing attempt at Trailer Food Tuesday, I was intent on a full check on my Bucket List. So I sat…and sat. I did a little people watching. I dozed a little. I watched as the sky turned from pink to purple (a really beautiful view against the skyline, I must say).

Austin at sunset

I checked the time and at 7:30, I was faced with a decision. Should I risk a ticket, or miss the bats?

Knowing I had both sick and injured little ones waiting at home, I stood up. I grabbed my purse, ready to leave disappointed. But then a red light streaked across the bridge arches.

Red Light at dusk

At first, there was nothing. Then they came out. Thousands of tiny bats danced in the red light. They were smaller than I imagined, but not a bit less impressive. I wished I was closer to the water (yet another lesson for next time) but at the end of the night, I was glad that I had ventured out.

And here’s the best part. I didn’t get a ticket. I got back to the car with one minute to spare. With a head full of “How to Do This Better Next Time” lessons under my belt, I headed home with a solid check on my Austin Bucket List.

On to the next Austin adventure…

Traci Shannon is a former actress turned military wife, SAHM, and hopeful writer. She spends her days trying to catch up with that life that happened while she was busy making plans. You can read her adventures at A Star in My Own Universe.[

About Nicole Basham 793 Articles
A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 10-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau's words, her mission is to "suck out all the marrow of life", or in her son's words, to cultivate in him a love of "advenchers".

2 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. What’s Happening Wednesday #46
  2. How to See Bats in Austin | Free Fun in Austin

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