Old Tunnel State Park
Things to Do
Enjoy hiking, bird-watching, and general wildlife viewing on the half-mile nature trail. The trail opens daily at sunrise and closes at 5 p.m. The trail is primitive and can be steep.
From May through October, the trail is open after 5 p.m. on Thursday through Sunday for bat viewings at the lower area. Visitors must pay admission to view the bats there, and children must be at least four years old.
Bring drinking water, as no water is available in the park. Picnic tables are available. Restrooms are only open in the evenings during bat season (May to October).
To minimize disturbance to the bat colony and for your safety, you must stay on the designated trail and you may not approach the tunnel.
Due to the sensitive nature of this park, we do not allow camping, pets or smoking.
The abandoned railroad tunnel that gives Old Tunnel its name is home to up to 3 million Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasilienses mexicana) and 3,000 cave myotis (Myotis velifer) bats from May through October. During those months, visitors come to watch the bats emerge from the tunnel nightly. Bat-viewing opportunities are available seven nights a week, and nightly educational presentations are given Thursday through Sunday. Call (866) 978-2287 to get the latest emergence time information. There is no phone at Old Tunnel. If you need to contact us, e-mail Old.Tunnel@tpwd.texas.gov.
Several educational exhibits with information on bats and railroad history are located along the half-mile trail, and from May through October bats can sometimes be seen flying within the tunnel. The nightly educational programs provide guests with a better understanding of the life history and ecology of bats.
Bat trunks are available for teachers, individuals or organizations to borrow. Education materials include classroom curricula for all age classes, amazing videos, and a slide presentation. Demonstration materials consist of a taxidermic bat, a bat detector, posters, and many other neat hands-on items. For reference, Bat Conservation International's Bat House Builder's Handbook, 'Bats in Question', and 'Facts on the Fly' are part of the trunks. For a list of trunks available in Texas please visit Bat Trunk Resources.
School and Organizational Presentations. If you would like for a biologist to visit your school or organization to give an educational presentation on bats of Texas and/or bats and the environment, please see the list of available presentations below and e-mail the park for more information and scheduling opportunities (Program dates and times are subject to biologist/volunteer availability).
- Presentation: Bats of Texas (Kids and Adults) - Open to all groups
- Bat Habitat and Limiting Factors - 6th Grade Science
- Bats and the Environment - 4th Grade
- Puppets and Bat Program- 1st and 2nd Grades, and Libraries
- Busy Bug Bodies – Pre-K through 2nd Grades.
Kids will learn about bugs and the role they play in nature. The program will include costumed characters, a finger puppet show, preserved bug displays, reading a bug story, and some hands on activities like looking at bugs with magnifiers and microscopes and finally ending with a bug song/dance.
- Distance Learning Programs (via Skype):
- Introduction to Bats - Grades K through 6th
- Mammals of Texas - 5th and 6th Grades
- Conservation as a Career- 5th and 6th Grades