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Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve

Open Night Events

Small black bats fly out of the opening of a stone cave covered in grass.
Nightly Emergence Bats emerging from Eckert James River Bat Cave. © Jacqueline Ferrato/TNC

Open nights are dependent on a number of factors, so please call the bat hotline at 325-347-5970 before visiting for any weather/ river flooding related closures, as well as to confirm the event start time; the bats emerge at varying times throughout the summer.


Event Overview

Bat Season is Back!

Just an hour’s drive northwest of Fredericksburg, in the heart of Texas, is an unassuming limestone cave that shelters one of the largest bat nurseries in the nation. About 4 million female bats inhabit the Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve starting in May and running through September. In the Bat Cave, located southwest of Mason, many of these females give birth to a single pup in June or July that will then join them in flight at about five weeks of age. These pups will remain with their mothers until returning to Mexico in October. Each evening at dusk, the bats emerge from the cave to search for food, putting on an amazing show.

2024 Schedule

Join TNC staff on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, from May 31, 2024  through August 25, 2024 for open nights at Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve. You won't want to miss this chance to watch millions of Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from their cave at twilight, forming a batnado right before your eyes!