Waugh Drive Bridge
Texas gulf coast Region
Nestled among lush green vegetation of Buffalo Bayou Park, Waugh Drive Bridge rests over Buffalo Bayou, less than two miles west of Downtown Houston. The bat flights are amazing, winding along the bayou or through the skyscrapers across downtown. An estimated 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats call the bridge home. The bat population fluctuates through the year, with the peak in the summer and early fall. A large population of bats continues to reside in the bridge through the winter months, resulting in awesome emergences on warm winter evenings. Upon emerging at sunset, the bats usually fly east along the bayou before dispersing. The best bat viewing locations are:
- the viewing platform at the southeast corner of the bayou bank, next to the bridge (along Allen Parkway);
- the northeast bank of the bayou, near the bridge(near Memorial Drive); and
- on the east rail sidewalk of the bridge itself, looking directly down into the bayou channel.
The best emergences happen on warm nights any month of the year. However, the bats usually remain inside the bridge crevices and do not emerge when sunset temperatures are near 50 degrees or below, or when it is raining. "Bat Chats" occur at the bridge on Friday nights from March through October. Please arrive 30 minutes before sunset to hear the battyQ & A presentation. Houston Area Bat Team members will be on-hand to answer questions about bats in general and about the Waugh Drive colony. Buffalo Bayou Partnership offers boat trips on the bayou, culminating in watching the bat flight from below.
- Viewing is free from the platform, sidewalk or bridge. Waugh Bat Colony Boat Tours require a reservation and fee. Call Buffalo Bayou Partnership for current information.
No reservations are needed to view the bats from Buffalo Bayou Park. To reserve seats on the Waugh Bat Colony Boat Tours, please contact Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Open year-round for viewing from platform and sidewalk, although winter viewing can be spotty depending on weather/temperature. Boat tours available spring through fall only.
Yes. Bats can be easily viewed from the viewing platform and the sidewalk
City of Houston; Buffalo Bayou Park is managed by Buffalo Bayou Partnership.
Location & Directions
Mexican free-tailed bats can fly over 60 miles round-trip in an evening, while foraging for insects. These bats are built for speed, with short fur and long, narrow wings, enabling them to fly an estimated 99 mph (160 kph) in horizontal flight! They have been observed feeding on insects at 10,000 feet - two miles high!