Visiting the Bat House and Bat Barn at the University of Florida is a great stop for those interested in seeing some of the wildlife of Florida. They are the largest occupied man-made bat houses in the world with a population of 300,000 bats, but able to sustain a population of 750,000. Every evening at sunset, visitors arrive with their cameras to watch the bats emerge. The following 5 tips will make a visit more enjoyable for the family.
#1-The best time to visit. The best time to visit the Bat House and Bat Barn at the University of Florida is late spring or early summer. If visiting during the week, a parking permit is required until 4:30 p.m. Parking is free after that time. Parking is also free on the weekends.
#2-Check the weather. Check the weather before visiting the Bat House and Bat Barn at the University of Florida. The bats usually emerge between 15 to 20 minutes after sunset, but there are certain weather conditions when the bats will not leave the bat houses to hunt. They will not come out if it’s too cold, very windy or if it’s raining.
#3-Be advised. When visiting the Bat House and Bat Barn at the University of Florida, be advised that there are no available bathroom facilities at the location. There are convenience stores along the way to the bat houses and it’s best to do a restroom stop before the visit, especially when traveling with children. Another rule of thumb would be to have a cooler supplied with water in the vehicle. Florida is very hot and humid through the summer and it’s important to stay hydrated.
#4-Follow the rules. There are rules that apply when visiting the Bat House and Bat Barn at the University of Florida. In the state of Florida, bats are considered non-game wildlife and are protected by law. Harassment of the bats or loud noises is not allowed. Parents need to advise their children of the rules and supervise them to make sure those rules are followed. Never pick up a bat that has fallen to the ground.
#5- Be aware and be prepared. When taking pictures or video of the bats emergence while visiting the Bat House and Bat Barn at the University of Florida, watch for the first few bats that fly out. Once that happens, they all fly out. It’s a very fast-paced and an all-at-once process. As soon as the sun sets, start preparing your camera or video because 15 to 20 minutes later, the bats will begin emerging from the bat houses. A word of warning: wear a hat. There are 300,000 bats flying overhead and there is the possibility that they will drop urine or guano. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
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