Visitation FAQs

Updated 6/26/2020: Due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases throughout the state of Texas, we will be canceling all Bat Flights at Bracken Cave Preserve until further notice.  Although Bat Conservation International has implemented stringent safety protocols to protect Bracken guests, volunteers, and visitors, we are heeding the call of local officials who are asking the public to stay home to curb the rapid spread of the disease throughout our communities.  We will continue to monitor the situation and update this page as changes occur.

 

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. To best protect this sensitive area, we must restrict access to small, reserved groups.

 

How do I visit Bracken Cave Preserve?

  • If you are interested in booking a private event or a group visit for your organization, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Individuals interested in visiting may do so by registering for a Member Bat Flight. You must be a member of BCI to register. Member Bat Flights are available each year on select dates from mid-May to mid-September. You can find the full Member Bat Flight schedule and information on how to register or how to become a member at batcon.org/brackenmembernights.

 

What are Member Bat Flights?

  • BCI members have exclusive opportunities to attend a bat flight each year with their guests and other BCI members. More information is available at batcon.org/brackenmembernights

 

I am a member.  How many guests can I bring to a Member Bat Flight?

  • Members supporting BCI with a $45 annual membership and those who have added an annual membership to an adopt-a-bat: up to 3 guests for a total party of 4 including the member.
  • Members supporting BCI monthly or with a $60 annual membership: up to 5 guests for a total party of 6 including the member.  These members will also have earlier access to register for a Bat Flight.

 

I am a member. How often can I come?

  • Members can attend one Member Bat Flight at Bracken each season (1 Membership = 1 Member Bat Flight per year).

 

Why are Member Bat Flights only offered from mid-May through mid-September?

  • The Bats at Bracken Cave migrate south during the winter months.

 

What safety precautions are you taking due to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

  • For the safety of our guests, volunteers, and staff, we are instituting the following guidelines and will strictly adhere to them:
    • We are encouraging all visitors to practice safe physical distancing:
      • All guests, volunteers, and staff will be required to wear a face mask covering their mouth and nose for the duration of their visit. Masks will not be provided, so remember to bring your own.
      • Bat flight capacity will be limited and seating will be spaced well to accommodate recommended guidelines for physical distancing.
      • Bat flight events will be shortened. This means guests will spend less time waiting for the bats to come out, but also means that arrival times will vary. We will email arrival times to registered guests 24 hours in advance.
    • We will facilitate a contactless registration process. As in previous years, guests must reserve their spot online in advance. In addition, all guests 18 years of age or older will be required to fill out an online liability waiver at least 72 hours prior to arrival. Guests without waivers will not be permitted to enter the preserve and paper waivers will not be available. Please bring a photo id to show at the gate.
    • The restroom and all benches will be sanitized with a bleach solution before each bat flight.
    • Hand sanitizer will be available at the restroom and at the viewing area.
    • We ask that anyone feeling ill stay home.
      • Staff and volunteers will be monitored for any symptoms of COVID-19.
      • We will make every effort to accommodate guests at a later bat flight if you need to cancel due to illness.

 

What are 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 visit last?

  • Plan to stay anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on sunset and/or bat emergence time.
  • 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?

  • Arrangements can be made to leave early, please check with your guide upon arrival. 

 

Where is the cave?

  • View Map. Turn left at Bracken Cave Road.

 

If I am disabled will I be able to make it to the cave?

  • We make every effort to accommodate guests of various ability, however Bracken Cave Preserve is a natural area. Pathways are not paved and can be uneven. We park persons with mobility needs as close as possible to the viewing area, but there is approximately 100 yards of mulched pathway between the closest parking or drop off and the viewing area. If you are concerned about your specific needs, please contact us ahead of time at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  Please let your guide know at check-in if you will be needing accommodation. 

How far do I have to walk?

  • Less than ½ mile on a gravel path.
    Please consider physical limitations and the Texas summer heat when planning your trip.

 

Can we bring alcohol?

  • No.

 

Can I bring my dog (pet)?

  • No, only trained service animals as defined by the ADA are permitted to enter the Preserve. Additionally, if a particular service animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, or of the animal is not housebroken, the handler will be required to remove the animal from the premises. Additionally, it is 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?

  • No. Electronic cigarettes are also prohibited.

 

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.
  • Mask or other face-covering that covers your mouth and nose.

 

What should I bring?

  • Cameras (please no flash photography), binoculars, sunscreen, bug repellant, and bottled water, and hand sanitizer (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.
  • Motorcycles are not allowed on the preserve. Roads are rough and dusty and their noise disturbs the animals.
  • Motor homes and RV's are not allowed on the preserve, as the roads are rough and parking is limited.

 

Can we camp overnight?

  • Overnight camping can be arranged for scouting and educational groups (fee applies). Please contact Fran Hutchins at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.