Sunset Bat Ecology Kayak - Atlas Obscura

Austin, Texas

Sunset Bat Ecology Kayak

Paddle out to the Congress Avenue Bridge to watch the legendary bat migration, accompanied by the world's most famous bat conservationist.

This SXSW, kayak the waters of Lady Bird Lake and view America's largest urban bat colony with GORE-TEX Brands and conservationist Merlin Tuttle.

At dusk on warm nights in Austin, thousands of nocturnal Brazilian free-tail bats emerge from their roost beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge to feast on flying insects. It's the massive concrete beams which span Lady Bird Lake that keep the bats coming back: the concrete absorbs heat, making it the ideal temperature in which to raise young bats.

We'll observe this incredible migration from the lake below, alongside the godfather of modern bat conservation Merlin Tuttle. With tireless work and infectious enthusiasm, Merlin Tuttle has spent the past 60 years championing an appreciation for bats as misunderstood key players in our ecosystem and essential contributors to our daily life. He'll meet us on the docks to introduce the Congress Avenue Colony and expand our bat knowledge before we depart, then accompany us on our sunset paddle to the bridge.

On a first-come, first-serve basis, as sizes permit, kayakers will have an opportunity to test GORE-TEX INFINIUMTM Stretch Gloves and jackets with GORE-TEX SHAKEDRY® product technology.

This excursion is part of In the Element, a two-day activation presented by Atlas Obscura & GORE-TEX Brands at the Waller Creek Boathouse on Lady Bird Lake.

About Merlin Tuttle

Merlin Tuttle founded Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation in 2014, in order to most effectively share his 60-plus-year legacy of experience, diplomacy, and photographic documentation of bats. No group of mammals has been more misunderstood, needlessly feared or intensely persecuted than bats, and Merlin has dedicated his life to changing that. Relying on a powerful combination of science, field knowledge and photography, Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation is helping save millions of bats, protecting public health, economies and worldwide ecosystems by teaching people to live harmoniously with bats.


  • Kayaks will be provided!
  • Testing of GORE-TEX Brand Products available on a first come, first serve basis as sizes permit.
  • As an extension of In the Element, this event is strictly 21+; I.D. required.
  • Limited capacity; priority given to SXSW badge holders.
  • Advance RSVP is highly recommended.


Email Emma at