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“Free Summer Evening Entertainment”

University of Florida Bat House
Ranked #5 of 63 things to do in Gainesville
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: The University of Florida Bat Barn and Bat House are the world's largest occupied bat houses, with an estimated population of more than 350,000. The structures are located on the north side of Museum Road between Village Drive and Radio Road across from Lake Alice on the UF campus. Parking is available in a lot just west of the bat houses near Radio Road. A sidewalk leads from the parking lot to the observation area. A UF parking decal is required Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Parking is free after 4:30 p.m. weekdays, and on weekends and state holidays. The bats normally emerge during a 15- to 20-minute period after sunset, before total darkness on calm, warm evenings when temperatures are above 65 F. Bats may swoop near those observing the emergence to eat insects attracted to the carbon dioxide in human breath, however they will not attack or harm people when left alone. High winds, heavy rain or cold temperatures will keep the bats in the house for the evening. On warm winter evenings, the bats may come out for a drink of water at the lake and exercise; however they can eat only when bugs are flying.
Southwest Gulf Coast, Florida
Level Contributor
19 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Free Summer Evening Entertainment”
Reviewed June 13, 2013

We took the kids on a June evening to see the bats come out of the towers at sundown. The thought of bats by the 1,000's flying over my head made me a bit nervous. I have to admit, it was a pretty cool experience. Something you have to see once. The kids were not thrilled beyond belief (ages 4, 7, 9) but thought it was neat. They are just tiny little bats, not what I imagined. And they don't get too close to your head. The smell gets kinda nasty so be prepared for that. It looks really pretty believe it or not watching them fly out in a stream with the beautiful color of the sky at dusk. The sunset time was 8:30 and they started coming out a few minutes before 9:00. It lasts 10-15 minutes. While your waiting, kids might get a little bored and impatient, walk across the street to Lake Alice. We spotted gators both big and small, a lot of alligator snapping turtles as well. The bats head towards the lake to feed after leaving the towers so you would be able to see them from there too. Nice sunset view and something to do on a nice summer evening. Don't forget the bug spray!

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank FLMom04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Parker, Colorado
Level Contributor
63 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Truly Unique”
Reviewed May 18, 2013

If you are not irrationally terrified of bats this will provide you a fascinating experience. As the Sun sets the bats emerge from this specially constructed bat habitat on the University of Florida campus.

Though bats are often reviled, these bats are harmless to human, but not to insects. Their nightly flights are for feeding on the many insects that come out in the evening. Bats perform a valuable function in holding down insect populations.

It is fascinating to be relatively close to the bats as they emerge by the hundreds. It is not a sight you are likely to see in many other places.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank drhank333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gainesville, Florida
Level Contributor
34 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Smells like pee and poo, fun for the whole family!”
Reviewed May 9, 2013

Park west of the houses on Museum rd. Get there about 20 minutes before sundown and enjoy. Really cool experience, great to bring out-of-town folks.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
Thank jeffdude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gainesville, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“See it all the time.”
Reviewed April 23, 2013

I see it all the time, but it never ceases to impress me. Watch out for bat pee!! Don't stand under the stream of flying bats.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
Thank Nelson A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
central florida
Level Contributor
32 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“WILD”
Reviewed March 29, 2013

Reading about this did not really prepare me for the number of bats that come pouring out of those relatively small looking bat houses - 350,000 bats. That's a lot of bats.

Benches to wait on, one predatory bird waiting too to snatch dinner right out of the air, Lake Alice across the street, a very informative kiosk with everything you ever wanted to know about bats and more - it all adds up to one very interesting (and free) evening activity.

(Note: the kiosk advises one to look north, or toward the lights, or something - but don't worry: when those bats come out you CAN"T miss them because they go right over you.)

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Scurrier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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