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Bat Cave Report
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 • Posted July 11, 2013

Returning from work at The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve this week, there were dozens of vehicles parked along the roadside. People were in the road and their faces were pointed up at the evening sky. The sky suddenly looked like it blew apart in bright, sparkling color. Only then did it click inside my brain that this was a fireworks display. On the way home I contemplated on this event and drew several similarities to what I had just seen at The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve. Waves and waves of people came down to the cave from the parking area to watch in stunned appreciation as they witnessed one of the greatest events known to man.

When I was about 16 years old I went to Town Lake in Austin to watch what was to be a huge fireworks display. There was an area where the fireworks were to be set off and people could sit on the ground anywhere they wished to be. I looked at the size of some of those fireworks and decided to put a little distance between myself and these. I watched as family after family came in and sat down right by those fireworks. These same families looked over where I had chosen to sit and gave me a look like I had lost my mind for being so far away when I could have had a front row seat. As the fireworks started I watched those people looking heavenward and saw their mouths open in total excitement. Then, I saw those same faces fill with total fear. One of the bigger fireworks had been shot up but stalled, flipped around and was heading down to the same area where it had been shot off. People scattered and the screams still ring in my ears when I think about this tragedy. Many, many people were injured that night. The huge fireworks display happened, but it was not the delightful memory that it should have been. My mind then went back to the night’s events at The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve and my heart lifted like a helium-filled balloon let loose in the outside sky. This night was a wonderful memory. The “display” was mouth -dropping, eye-popping and just totally stunning. I did see a look of fear a few times in some people’s eyes, but after they learned about these little creatures, their expressions were just aglow in excitement. I saw that same fearful look in a few eyes when Baby Hiss, Licorice and James (resident snakes) showed up to fill their little tummies. Those looks too melted into soft squeals of delight as they watched the show unfold right in front of them. Those that sat on the front row may have had a tiny bit better viewing, but not one seat, or rather, person in that seat, had any complaints. Every viewing point was exceptional. Yes, again reflecting back on the fireworks at the bridge, they were breathtaking but very costly. I am sure there were hours of cleanup involved and it was over very quickly until next year. This is not the situation with the bats. Yes, they will leave in October until next season, but this nightly display goes on every night at The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve. We open to the public every Thursday-Sunday night until the bats leave to go back home in October. Cost? Yes, we do have an admission of $5 for persons six years of age and older, but that sure won’t buy too many fireworks. This is an investment in the future....memories to share with your children and grandchildren. Most people never talk about firework displays they have seen to their family and friends unless there was some tragedy involved. The bats are talked about for years and years and years and years and years and years....If you care to join us, the current emergence time is before seven o’clock so we do ask that you be at the Preserve no later than 6:30 P.M. to keep from disturbing the bats. Some are not calling the bat hotline (325-347-5970) for the current emergence time and are showing up a little before nine o’clock. The bats will come out for quite a while after nine, but we do close at 9:00 P.M., so adjust your visit accordingly. Head on out, and you can pick your seat when you get there! See ya at the cave...

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