Conference Excursions

All tours are operated independently of IBRC/NASBR, and organized by generous volunteers. As with all travel, we strongly encourage participants to secure appropriate travel insurance including trip cancellation and travel health insurance.

Boat Cruise- Student Fundraiser
Supporting the Next Generation of Bat Researchers!


Join us for an evening to support our students! Enjoy the bat emergence from the Congress Avenue bridge from the fantastic viewpoint of a 75’ double decker boat on the river, including an interpretive presentation from Merlin Tuttle. Boat ticket, food and drink are included in this ~3h cruise. All proceeds go directly to supporting students attending the conference.

Dates: Thursday August 11
Enrolment: 80 maximum
Travel: Short walk from hotel to boat launch
Cost: $100 (All proceeds go directly to supporting student attendees)
Register at


Congress Avenue Bridge
A Million Mexican-Free Tailed Bats Minutes from the Hotel

Congress Ave Bridge_TIgga Kingston

The Congress Avenue bridge is an easy 12 minute walk from the conference hotel. All conference participants are encouraged to wander over to see the emergence of ~1 million Mexican Free-tailed Bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) in what has been described as the largest urban bat colony in the world. Viewing from the bridge or adjacent river banks is free, but it is also possible to watch the emergence from on the water by renting boats, paddleboards, kayaks, swan boats, or other watercraft from local businesses.

Dates: Every evening!
Enrolment: Unlimited!
Travel: 12 minute walk from conference hotel!
Cost: Free!
For more information please visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Website.

Austin Bat Refuge
Meet Texas Bats and Learn About Wildlife Rehabilitation

Austin Bat Refuge is super stoked to host scientists attending this joint meeting here in our hometown. We extend a hearty welcome to all attendees and invite you all to visit our modest facility just a mile east of the University of Texas and 2.4 miles from the Conference.

Austin Bat Refuge takes in orphaned and injured bats from all over central Texas and rehabilitates them before releasing them back into the wild. The rehabilitation process involves a moth-attracting aviary where bats can fly, hunt, and drink on the wing. Participants will tour the rehabilitation facility, learn about husbandry and rehabilitation techniques, and meet several species of native Texas bats.

Tour participants are asked to ride-share from the conference hotel to travel ~15 mins to the Austin Bat Refuge. See you in August!

Dates: Sunday August 07 (10am), Sunday August 07 (2pm), Saturday August 13 (10am)
Enrolment: Maximum 6 people per session
Travel: Tour participants are asked to ride share from the conference hotel to travel ~15 minutes to the Austin Bat Refuge
Cost: $40
Register at


Bracken Cave Preserve
See The Emergence of 20 Million Mexican Free-Tailed Bats


Bracken cave is the summer home of more than 20 million Mexican Free-Tailed Bats (Tadarida brasiliensis), making it one of the largest concentrations of mammals on earth. The emergence of these millions of bats, as they spiral out of the cave at dusk for their nightly insect hunt, is an unforgettable sight. Tour participants can expect to see a tornado of bats from rustic wooden benches in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.

The tour departs from the conference hotel at 4:00pm and return around 10:30 pm.  Participants will travel ~1.5 hours by bus to Bracken Cave Preserve. A packed dinner is included, and a guided tour and interpretation will be provided by Bat Conservation International staff. Wildlife Acoustics is generously partnering with Bat Conservation International to sponsor meal and transportation costs – making this field trip accessible to everyone at no cost.

Please wear sturdy shoes and be prepared to enjoy the bat emergence outside.

For more information on Bracken cave visit the Bat Conservation International website.

Dates: Saturday August 06, Thursday August 11, Saturday August 13
Enrolment: Maximum 110 per date
Travel: Buses depart from conference hotel at 4pm returning approximately 10:30pm
Cost: Free! Generously supported by Bat Conservation International and Wildlife Acoustics. Registration required through the Optional Items registration page.
Register at

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The Bats of Big Bend National Park

Santa Elena Canyon Big Bend Panoramic

Spend 4 nights catching bats in Big Bend National Park. The park encompasses ~800,000 acres of Chihuahan Desert and the Chisos Mountains, along the banks of the Rio Grande River in West Texas. Big Bend offers a variety of habitats from riparian zones and hot springs along the Rio Grande River, to Chihuahan desert, and oak forests in the sky islands of the Chisos basin. Big Bend is also an International Dark Sky Park, with the least light pollution of any national park in the lower 48 states. The park also hosts more species of birds, bats (20 species!), butterflies, ants, and scorpions than any other national park in the United States. Participants will stay in the Chisos Basin and experience many areas of the park, with opportunities to catch many local species of bats.

For more on Big Bend National Park and wildlife, please visit the National Park Service and Bats of Texas websites.

Date: Tuesday August 02 to Saturday August 06
Enrolment: Maximum 10
Travel: Depart from hotel at 7am August 02 and return to hotel ~6pm on August 06
Cost: $875
For full tour details click here.
Register at

Big Bend Panoramix

Natural Science Research Laboratory
Texas Tech University Museum


The Natural Science Research Laboratory at the Museum of Texas Tech University is home to a world-class collection a specimens from around Texas and around the world. The mammal collection houses >150,000 voucher specimens, including >400 bat species. The genetic resources collection has an archive of >400,000 tissue samples stored in state of the art vapor-phase liquid nitrogen freezers. The museum is located at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

Attendees that may be interested in visiting the museum for research purposes are encouraged to contact the conference organizers to make arrangements (