When do the member and public nights begin each year?
- End of May through September.
- Longer days = best viewing when hungry mother bats begin emerging well before sunset.
Where is the cave?
- View Map. Turn left at “BCI Event” sign.
How many people can I bring as a BCI member to a Member Night or Special Member Tour?
- Up to 3 guests for a total party of 4 including the member.
Why isn’t Bracken open to the public to just stop by and go in?
- The cave is located on private property that is owned, managed and protected by Bat Conservation International. Due to limited staff, we must restrict access to small, reserved groups .
How often can I come?
- Members can attend one Member Night tour at Bracken each season (1 Membership = 1 Member Night or Special Member Tour visit per year) .
- Public Nights are limited to once a year for attendees. A donation is greatly appreciated but not mandatory.
What is the best months to view the bats?
- July and August, because baby bats are born in June and begin flying in July; and days are longer which means more bat viewing time.
How long does the tour last?
- Plan to stay 3 hours.
- Tours begin at 6:00 p.m. Please be on time.
- We cannot predict exact times when the bats will emerge, so we meet early enough so visitors have time before the emergence to learn about this important maternity colony.
Can I leave early if I have something important to do?
- Sorry, we cannot allow anyone to leave early. Please be prepared to stay the entire 3 hours if you make a reservation with us.
If I am disabled will I be able to make it to the cave?
- If you have special accessibility needs, please let your guide know at check-in.
How far do I have to walk?
Approximately ½ mile on gravel trails.
Please consider physical limitations and the Texas summer heat when planning your trip.
Can we bring alcohol?
Can I bring my dog?
- No. Pets are not allowed on the property (and it’s too hot to leave any animal in your car).
Can I bring my baby?
- Please use discretion if you are considering bringing young children. Because Bracken Cave is located in a natural, unimproved area, children need to be supervised at all times and cannot “run-free”– so keep this in mind when making your reservation. Childcare services are NOT provided. Tours can last up to 4 hours and Texas summers are notoriously hot. We do not recommend bringing children under the age of 6 to Bracken for these reasons.
Can I smoke on the property?
Can I bring a chair?
- Not needed as we have benches.
Can I bring a snack?
- Small snack foods are fine, but please, no coolers. Food attracts unwanted visitors, like fire ants and skunks.
What do I wear?
- Comfortable clothes and closed-toed shoes.
What should I bring?
- Cameras (please no flash photography), binoculars, sunscreen, bug repellant, and bottled water (again, no coolers please).
Are there bathrooms?
- There is a unisex Port-a-John with hand sanitizer.
It’s Saturday but no one is answering my emails or phone calls. Why?
- Please keep in mind that BCI is not open on the weekend thus reservation requests and questions are not processed until the following week.
Will my car make it in on the roads to the cave?
- Roads leading to the cave are rough and dusty. You may need to wash your car after your trip to Bracken but other than that, you should be fine.
Can we camp overnight?
- Only on designated Special Member Nights.
Can I donate more money and get a private group viewing on the night I choose? Can I book a private event at Bracken Cave for a wedding, company picnic or other event?
What are Special Member Tours?
We offer several different Special Member Tour experiences each year, including:
Camp overs: Members spend the night at Bracken, experiencing the evening bat emergence AND the morning return. Visitors need to bring a tent and should be prepared to stay until 8 AM the following day.
Morning Returns: Members arrive at Bracken Cave Preserve at 5 AM to experience the bats returning from their night-long hunt. Visitors should be prepared to stay until 8 AM.