The cave at Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a part-time home to Brazilian free-tailed bats. The bats swirl out of the cave just before dusk to hunt and return gorged with food before dawn. The park hosts nightly bat watches in the Bat Flight Amphitheater. Before the bats fly, park rangers give an interpretative program explaining why bats use the cave as a place to raise pups.
When: Programs take place between mid-April and late October, depending on when the bats migrate to and from Mexico. Carlsbad Caverns' bat population varies, but the best times to view them are generally in July and August.
Where: Carlsbad Caverns National Park is in the southeast corner of New Mexico, about a two and a half hour drive east of El Paso, Texas, and two hours south of Roswell. The programs are held at the Bat Flight Amphitheater, which is in front of the Carlsbad Cavern opening.
Start times vary with changing daylight times in the spring, summer and early fall. Call the Bat Flight information line 575-785-3012 for updates on start times. There is no cost to attend.
If you go: There is wheelchair access to the amphitheater. Use of cameras, including video and cell phones, is prohibited as the flashes and sounds can disturb these wild animals. Pets are not allowed.