Tuesday, January 25, 2022


Free nightly Bat Flight programs, plus special Night Sky Parties at Carlsbad Caverns NP

Each evening (April-Oct) Brazilian free-tailed bats exit Carlsbad Caverns (Nick Hristov/NPS)

Each summer through late October, Carlsbad Caverns National Park hosts several very special free family programs.

2016 Bat Flight Programs.  Every evening park rangers present informative programs about the Brazilian free-tailed bats that live in the caverns between spring and autumn.

“The best bat flights normally occur in August and September when baby bats, born in early summer, join the flight along with migrating bats from colonies further north,” according to rangers.  In late October or early November, the bats begin migrating south for the winter; they return in April or May, depending on weather.

The starting time of the ‘bat’ talk varies with sunset times – call the park and verify the program time (575) 785-3012. Programs could be cancelled because of inclement weather.

2016 Star Party events: Sept. 3, Oct. 1 and Oct. 29

Information on the extremely popular Night Sky Parties was originally posted in 2014 and has been updated with 2016 data.

park is a perfect spot for viewing the wonders of the night sky due to
its location miles away from the lights of the local
communities,” according to rangers.

 “Weather permitting; telescopes will be available for viewing the celestial night sky and will provide an opportunity for visitors to see for themselves what is visible in the universe above.

“Ranger guided programs discuss a variety of topics from nocturnal creatures, cultural folklore, and astronomy.

Bring a flashlight and dress for the weather. Because bright headlights impair night vision, all participants are asked to arrive early (before dark). These events will be held immediately after Bat Flight.

 – No fee or advance reservations are necessary for Bat Flight programs or Night Sky Party events.

– And, while the visitor center and cave will not be open during Night Sky Party events, consider arriving earlier in the day and take a tour of this fantastic natural wonder.

Natural Entrance Carlsbad Caverns NP (Julianne G. Crane)

If you go: 

Carlsbad Caverns National Park
727 Carlsbad Caverns Highway
(GPS systems may not find this address)
Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220

Visitor information: (575) 785-2232.
Bat Flight information: (575) 785-3012

Hours (click here for details): 
2016 Summer: May (Memorial Day) – September (Labor Day): 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
2017 Winter: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For information on RV and tent camping near Carlsbad Caverns National Park, click here for information on Brantley Lake State Park.

—  (Julianne G. Crane)

Photos: (Top) Each evening in summer, Brazilian free-tailed bats exit Carlsbad Cavern in search of dinner. (Nick Hristov/NPS). (Bottom) Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Caverns (Julianne G. Crane)

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7 years ago

I have never seen anything as celestial as the night skies of New Mexico. It's as if you can reach out and touch the stars!
Peaceful and makes the worries of the world fade away.