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University of Florida Bat House

Certificate of Excellence
Features Animals
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Address: Museum Road, Near Lake Alice, Gainesville, FL 32611
Phone Number:
+1 352-273-2054
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour

The University of Florida Bat Barn and Bat House are the world's largest...

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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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    Very good
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Great nature activity!!

Very interesting 15-20 minutes from dusk til dark. Thousands of bats flying together in harmony. Well worth getting there early to take in the beautiful lake across the street... read more

Reviewed 15 March 2017
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301 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 286: English reviews
Level Contributor
77 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2017

Very interesting 15-20 minutes from dusk til dark. Thousands of bats flying together in harmony. Well worth getting there early to take in the beautiful lake across the street while waiting for dark to fall. There is a very smart hawk in the trees who waits patiently for the first bats to drop from their roost and snatches one in... More 

Thank klordh
Level Contributor
15 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 12 March 2017 via mobile

I wonder what people must think if they drive by without knowing what's going on! I've been wanting to see this and tonight was a first. People gather and wait patiently. First just a few bats, then they start pouring out - spinning and swirling. It's fantastic! Though you don't want to stand downwind as the smell of guano is,... More 

Thank Kate S H
Gainesville, Florida
Level Contributor
24 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 February 2017

The bats are always fun to watch. When it is warm enough to see the bats, expect mosquitoes and the foul smell of guano. Be sure to plan your visit with sufficient time to park before dusk.

1 Thank lauelipas
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
50 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 February 2017

So neat to see all the bats fly! A lot of people left before all of them had come out, so don't leave until it actually starts getting dark. The bats are quite small, so you won't be able to see lots of definition, but the sheer number of them is astounding. There was a hawk (or some other type... More 

1 Thank Kathryn M
Gainesville, Florida
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2017

bring all family members a delight from start to finish a real GVILLE tradition my granddaughter age 6 totally entranced

Thank burmawallah
Gainesville, Florida
Level Contributor
82 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 February 2017

I've witnessed the running of the bats a few times, since we live near Gainesville. Its pretty neat to be there when the sun goes down and see the bats departing their man-made homes in the thousands. When we were there they took off towards the lake, on the other side of the road from the bat houses. I recommend... More 

Thank burntweeniesandwich
Gainesville, Florida
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 February 2017

You need to time it right to go there before sunset and wait for the bats to fly out. It's very cool to see millions of bats coming out to hunt.

Thank tufgator
2 reviews
Reviewed 15 February 2017

Such an amazing site if you have not been yet, you'll definitely want to put this on your list to see while visiting.

Thank Debra K
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 14 February 2017

The sight of their transparent wings soaring right above your head is not to be missed. It happens as promised. Tens of thousands of bats leave the the bat houses approximately 5 minutes after the sun goes down every evening. A crowd gathers to watch, and smell, as this evening ritual plays out on this easily accessible University property. Some... More 

Thank D3357DTsandrab
Aspen, Colorado
Level Contributor
62 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 February 2017 via mobile

Went here a few months ago with my friend and saw SO MANY BATS. They were flying around and it was so cool to see, but they did smell pretty bad. Then, I went here again with my boyfriend last week and THE BATS DIDN'T COME OUT. It was really a shame, we waited for an hour and nothing happened,... More 

Thank Kylison B

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