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!

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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 https://www.nasbr.org/store22

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

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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 https://www.nasbr.org/store22

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

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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 https://www.nasbr.org/store22

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Family Tour of Bamberger Ranch Preserve
Explore the Texas Landscape and First Artificial Bat Cave

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Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve is a 5,500-acre ranch in Blanco County that has been restored to its natural habitat. The mission of the Preserve is to teach ethical land stewardship by example and outreach. Participants will tour a restored native landscape and experience the beauty of the Texas Hill Country. With lush restored native grassland savannah, Selah has a large diversity of woody plants, succulents, forbs and grasses. From birds to bees, Selah has a variety of wildlife big and small. And of course...bats! The Bamberger Ranch Preserve is home to the world's first artificial bat cave, known as the Chiroptorium. Participants will enjoy the emergence of tens of thousands Mexican Free-Tailed Bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) and Cave Myotis (Myotis velifer).

Bring the whole family! Thousands of school kids visit Selah every year, and there is lots for kids to see and do. Preserve staff will tailor interpretation of the highlights of the tour to be kid-oriented. A visit to see the dinosaur tracks is always a big hit! Enjoy dinner in the Hill Country (provided) then watch the bats emerge from the Chiroptorium before returning to Austin.

For more more information on Bamberger Ranch please visit the Bamberger Preserve website or check out their inaturalist page.

Date: Saturday August 06
Enrolment: Minimum 20, Maximum 40
Travel: Tour bus will depart from the conference hotel at 12:30 pm and return by about 10:30 pm.
Cost: $150 for adults, $75 for children
Register at https://www.nasbr.org/store22

The Bats of Big Bend National Park

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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 https://www.nasbr.org/store22

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The Bats of Calakmul, Mexico

Embark on a journey across the largest rainforest in America north of the Amazon to meet some of the rarest bats of the continent, see millions of bats erupt from the aptly named Volcán de los Murciélagos (Bat Volcano), and birdwatch while exploring beautiful Mayan ruins and caves deep within the jungle.

Experience the Yucatán Peninsula’s world-famous food, buy its artisans’ expertly made handcrafts, and relax by a unique ecosystem at Bacalar, the Seven Coloured Lagoon, also featuring the Spanish fortress that defended it against Belizean pirates. This tour includes multiple days of mist-netting for bats.

Dates: Saturday August 13 to Wednesday August 17
Enrolment: minimum 15, maximum 20
Travel: Pick-up and drop-off at Chetumal International Airport
Cost: $1250 (flights not included)
For full tour details click here.
Register at https://www.nasbr.org/store22

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Magic and Batty Hidalgo, Mexico

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Travelers will be amazed by the traditions, landscapes, cuisine, and diversity of bats that can be found in Hidalgo, a Mexican state located in the central region of the country. Hidalgo is known for its “Pueblos mágicos” (magic towns), places recognized for their beautiful architecture and traditions. During this week, our visitors will visit some of these magical places, as well as walk through traditional Agave plantations, the origin of one of the most popular products from Mexico, Pulque, and learn about its production. They will also see a natural geyser, and swim in the pools next to it. Eat typical food from the region, and buy some handcraft in the local markets. And, the main attraction, visit caves, and forested areas to meet Mexican bat species. Nectar bats, insectivorous and frugivorous bats would be present during this trip. This tour includes multiple days of mist-netting for bats.

Dates: Saturday August 13 to Thursday August 18
Enrolment: Minimum 12, Maximum 16
Travel: Pick-up and drop-off at Mexico City Airport
Cost: $1600 (not including flight)
For full tour details click here.
Register at https://www.nasbr.org/store22

Bats at the Mayan Highlands of Guatemala
Ancient Culture, Folklore, and Breathtaking Landscapes

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Embark on an adventure through the Mayan highlands of Guatemala, dare to discover its beautiful people, the amazing landscapes and its delicious food. Our first stop is the beautiful colonial city of Antigua Guatemala, where we will visit cobbled streets, ruins, the jade, coffee and chocolate museums and enjoy its unique landscapes and architecture. Our next stop is Atitlan, a marvelous lake surrounded by volcanoes which Alexander von Humboldt, Aldous Huxley and many others called "the most beautiful lake in the world". It is time to visit the lovely Mayan towns around the lake and dive into their culture, cosmovision and amazing landscapes. As a big highlight, Mayans considered that bats are sacred and we are going to explore their vision throughs its stories and weaves. And if that was not enough, both, Antigua Guatemala and Atitlan are bat biologist paradise, harboring a high number of species. This tour includes multiple nights of mist-netting for bats.

Dates: Saturday August 13 to Thursday August 18
Enrolment: Minimum 15, Maximum 20
Travel: Pick-up and drop-off at Guatemala International Airport
Cost: $1740 (flights not included)
For full tour details click here.
Register at https://www.nasbr.org/store22

Bats of the Gulf of Mexico
Beach, Highlands, and Ruins

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Come and swim at the Gulf of Mexico, seeing tropical fishes and coral reefs, take a tour to one of the most important archeological sites in Mexico, visit the first European settlement in continental America, one of the main ports in the world, and meet some Mexican bat species. This tour would take you to traditional places to meet in Veracruz, a Cosmopolitan state in which, in short distances, you would experience montane cloud forests, tropical forests, and beach dunes. It also harbors a big diversity of bat species. This tour includes multiple days of mist-netting for bats.

Dates: Saturday August 13 to Thursday August 18
Enrolment: Minimum 10, Maximum 16
Travel: Pick-up and drop-off at International Veracruz Airport
Cost: $1300 (flights not included)
For full tour information click here.
Register at https://www.nasbr.org/store22

Bats and Maya Culture
Yucatán and Campeche, Mexico

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Enjoy this combined tour, during the day you will be amazed with the archeological sites and other attractions of the Maya culture, and during the night you will be fascinated with the species of bats that occur in the Yucatan Peninsula. Also, marvel at the extensive gastronomic variety that you will enjoy in this region. We will visit Uxmal, Celestún Biosphere Reserve and Campeche city. We will see the emergence of bats at Calcehtok and the emergence of Nyctinomops laticaudatus from Mayan ruins and catch the amazing fishing bat in a peten, a freshwater pond near the coast.

Do not miss this magnificent opportunity to get to know the Mayan culture and be captivated by the bat species that we have in Mexico. This tour includes multiple days of mist-netting for bats.

Dates: Saturday August 13 to Thursday August 18
Enrolment: Minimum 10, Maximum 17
Travel: Pick-up and drop-off at Mérida International Airport
Cost: $1200 (flights not included)
For full tour details click here.
Register at https://www.nasbr.org/store22

Natural Science Research Laboratory
Texas Tech University Museum

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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 (conference@ibrc.org).