Old Tunnel State Park (Old Tunnel WMA)
Our visit to the Old Tunnel State Park (formerly called Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area), began with a meal at the Alamo Springs Cafe just a few hundred feet from the Old Tunnel entrance. Both locations are near Fredericksburg, Texas.
We arrived in time to enjoy one of Alamo Springs Cafe's famous hamburgers before we made our way to the Old Tunnel State Park to watch the bat emergence. We ordered cheeseburgers with jalapenos and avocados. They were absolutely delicious!!
There are no camping facilities at the Old Tunnel State Park, but you can stay at nearby RV parks and campgrounds in Fredericksburg, Blanco State Park, Enchanted Rock state park, or Pedernales Falls state park.
The Old Tunnel State Park has an upper and lower viewing area. The lower viewing area is closer to the entrance to the tunnel and is the best place to watch the bat emergence. There is limited seating in the lower section, so it pays to arrive early.
We arrived at Old Tunnel State Park an hour before the bat emergence. It was an excellent, and very informative, opportunity to talk to the park staff about the different species of bats that live in the Old Tunnel, and some interesting information on the history of the Old Tunnel itself.
The bat population living in the tunnel during our visit consisted largely of Brazilian free-tailed bats (nearly three million) and a small population of Cave myotis bats (around 3,000). They live in the tunnel between the months of May and October.
While sitting in the lower viewing area, occasionally a bat will stray from the rest of the emerging bats and fly into the crowd of bat viewers. They don't cause any harm, but it definitely livens up the evening.
At the time of our visit, on June 24th, 2011, the bat emergence began at 8:37pm. Watch the video below to see the entire bat emergence...
For more information about Old Tunnel State Park, visit their website. The bat emergence times vary daily. You can get the latest information by calling 866-978-2287.