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Going Batty in Reno: A Free and Relatively Unknown Kid Activity

Last week, one of my friends posted this image on Facebook, with the caption of “Bats in Reno”.

Bats in Reno
Bats in Reno

My reaction was, wait, what?!  I have lived here for 14 years and have never seen a bat, or heard of them living here.  Aren’t bats in caves?!

Turns out that they also live under the McCarran Bridge over the Truckee River.  When my friend asked me if the kids and I wanted to join her on her second bat outing, I was all in.

We parked at Glendale Park (technically Sparks).  Then, you walk East along the Truckee River Bike Path about 5 minutes until you get to the McCarran Bridge.

Walking along the Truckee Bike Path
Walking along the Truckee Bike Path

 

McCarran Bridge, a.k.a. Bat Bridge
McCarran Bridge, a.k.a. Bat Bridge

You walk under the McCarran Bridge and look up…  See those cracks?  That is where the bats live.  If it hadn’t been pointed out to me, I would have walked right past.  But if you know what you’re listening for and arrive at the bridge shortly before sunset, you’ll hear the squeaking of bats as they awake and prepare to go on a night hunt.   You’ll smell the bat poop (guano).

The bats live in these cracks
The bats live in these cracks

The water in the river is so low right now you can easily step over stones to get to a little island under the center of the bridge.  That is where you want to be right about sunset, when you’ll see this.

Sorry, my video isn’t that great.  But it’s REALLY cool.  And SO easy to access!

A few bats just hung on the wall and stretched their wings.
A few bats just hung on the wall and stretched their wings.

 

This is our batty group after seeing the cool flight of the bats.
This is our batty group after seeing the cool flight of the bats.

My tips:

1.  Wear shoes you can wade in and get muddy.  The water there is pretty mucky.

2.  If you go out onto that island, keep your mouth closed as you look up.

3.  Show up at sunset, and bring your good camera.  These guys are hard to do justice on a cell phone!

 

This is a great activity to do while the kids are out of school and don’t have to get up early in the morning!

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About Lynnette Bellin

Lynnette Bellin
Lynnette Bellin is the former owner and site manager of the Reno Moms Blog. She is a married mother of a teenage daughter and a highly energetic tween boy. Lynnette moved to Reno in 2001 after choosing to live in a place that she loved for its natural beauty. She has written four children's books, including The Kindness Ninja and a series of three books called Adeline’s Magical Moments Collection. She has been obsessed with blogging since 2002. Lynnette loves to experience outdoor adventures in our area, including skiing, hiking, camping, and open water swimming. She spends her days working from home for a NYC ad agency and shuttling kids to dance, lacrosse and basketball.

4 comments

  1. I’m totally doing this. How cool.

  2. Hi there! What time would you suggest heading there to be sure we don’t miss anything?

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