Alamo Springs Cafe
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
The Old Tunnel WMA is the smallest Wildlife Management Area in Texas, containing only 16.1 acres of land. Despite its small size, there are a variety of recreational and wildlife-viewing opportunities at Old Tunnel WMA. The abandoned railroad tunnel is home to up to three million Brazilian free-tailed bats (T. b. mexicana) and 3,000 Cave myotis (Myotis velifer) from April to October, more mammals than any other WMA. From May to October, visitors come to watch the bats emerge from the tunnel each night, and nightly educational programs provide guests with a better understanding of the life history and ecology of bats.Bat-viewing opportunities exist seven nights a week and educational presentations are given Thursday through Sunday, May to October, when visiting Old Tunnel, we recommend bringing a pair of binoculars to get the best view of the bat emergence.) The nature trail at Old Tunnel WMA is open year-round. Visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, bird watching, and general wildlife-viewing. Several educational exhibits with information on bats and railroad history are located along the half mile trail and from April to October bats can usually be seen flying within the tunnel from the trail.
Dates Open: Open year-round from sunrise to sunset for general use. Bat viewing nightly May-October. The trail to the lower viewing area is closed each evening.
Monday through Wednesday evenings the trail and lower viewing area are not open to the public.
On Thursday through Sunday evenings, the trail will only be open to those visitors who pay admission to view the bats at the lower viewing area. For the most up-to-date emergence information, call the toll-free information line at
1-866-978-2287.
Leave Fredericksburg on Hwy. 290 heading east. Half a mile east of the Fredericksburg city limits, look for the brown TxDOT highway sign that says "Old Tunnel Wildlife Area" . Turn right (south) on the Old San Antonio Road. Proceed 10.5 miles. The Old Tunnel WMA will be on the left at the top of the hill.
Freetail Bats of Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area
Local residents report that shortly after the removal of the railroad tracks in 1942, bats moved into the tunnel. In July and August there are over three million Mexican Free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) and 1,000-3,000 Cave Myotis (Myotis velifer) in Old Tunnel. The Mexican Free-tailed bat is a medium-sized bat, weighing about 12-15 grams (12 paperclips). They are named for the tail that hangs free from the uropatagium (skin between hind legs and tail). The title "Mexican" is added to their name because they migrate to Mexico in the winter months. Old Tunnel bats usually leave the tunnel in late October, and fly to Mexico. During this migration, they can fly at altitudes of 10,000 feet and speeds of 60 mph.
A Year in the Life of The Old Tunnel Bats: While in Mexico, these bats mate during February and March when the females are most fertile. Bats returning to Texas in late March or early April include pregnant females who give birth to one single pup (baby bat) during June. The pups are not born in the tunnel, but in other nearby caves or under bridges where the temperature and humidity levels are more stable. The tunnel is only 920 feet long and is open at both ends, and therefore, the temperature and humidity very greatly. The Old Tunnel is considered a pseudo-maternal colony because there are both pregnant and lactating females in the tunnel, but there are no pups. Pups usually fly within four to six weeks after birth and are considered juveniles when they travel to the tunnel with their mothers. Bat populations in the Old Tunnel increase substantially when the females return from maternity colonies along with the juveniles in late July and early August. Joining the Old Tunnel population in September and October, are bat migrating south from further north in the United States. This process of "staging" occurs when bats group together before flying to Mexico for the winter. Bats swarming from the tunnel entrance at the Old Tunnel WMA.
What Happens When the Sun Goes Down: On summer nights, the Old Tunnel bats usually emerge within an hour before or after sunset. Most bats exit through the south end of the tunnel, spiraling in a counter- clockwise direction in order to gain altitude over nearby trees (click here to view video images of bat emergences). Red-tailed hawks are sometimes seen feeding on the bats as they emerge, however these and other predators do not impact the bat population. The large serpentine column travels southeast towards the Guadalupe River. Bats also exit from the north end of the tunnel, and fly either north towards the Pedernales River, or south over the Old Tunnels' observation deck. After getting water from local water supplies, the colony disperses to feed in smaller groups. Eighty percent of the Free-tail's diet includes agricultural pests such as the cutworm, cornborer and webworm moths. Each can eat its weight in insects nightly, and the whole colony may devour over 25 tons of moths per night. The bats return to the tunnel between midnight and daybreak, having traveled an average 25 to 30 miles to forage. Good Ole' Bat Guano
Huge deposits of droppings in the roosts of Mexican Free-tails have earned them the common name, "Guano bat". Bat guano (droppings) from insectivorous bats was an important source of fertilizer, and is still sold as an expensive, organic fertilizer. Before the oil boom, guano was Texas' number one mineral export. Many have tried to harvest guano from Old Tunnel. However, natural springs within the tunnel made the operation too difficult. Many Free-tailed colonies consist of at least one-million bats, and the resulting concentration of ammonia is extremely high. In fact, many people can identify these bats by the distinctive odor. Hiking is an enjoyable activity that is available in many of the Wildlife Management Areas of Texas. Since potable water is not available on many of the Wildlife Management Areas, it is a good idea to bring plenty of drinking water.
The Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area's nature trail is less than one half mile in length, and is open to the public 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset. During the months that the bats are in residence at Old Tunnel, the trail will be closed each evening. Monday through Wednesday evenings the trail and lower viewing area are not open to the public. On Thursday through Sunday evenings, the trail will only be open to those visitors who pay admission to view the bats at the lower viewing area. The trail is primitive and can be steep. No drinking water, food, or man-made shelter is available on the trail. No water fountains or other water is available on site, and carrying drinking water is recommended. Trail guides are available for the public at the iron ranger located at the lower viewing area. Numbered markers designate stops along the trail, and corresponding information regarding each stop is explained within the guide.
Although entrance into the tunnel is prohibited, visitors are encouraged to enjoy the view of the tunnel from the trail. Throughout the day, from April to October, bats can be seen flying within the tunnel. In order to minimize disturbance to the bat colony and for the safety of our visitors, all guests must stay on the designated trail. Under no conditions are visitors allowed to approach the tunnel.
Guided nature walks are also offered at Old Tunnel WMA. The walks are usually informal and cover a variety of topics, such as bird watching, plant identification, and astronomy.
Special Group Tours are conducted at the lower viewing area Monday through Wednesday evenings, May through October, for organized groups of up to 70 people. Reservations are required. Passports or permits, including the Texas State Parks Pass, are not accepted. Special Group Tour fees are as follows: Youth Groups: $40.00; Non-Youth Groups: $75.00. To schedule a Special Group Tour, please call (830) 990-2659.
Dates Open: Open year-round from sunrise to sunset for general use. Bat viewing nightly May-October. The trail to the lower viewing area is closed each evening. Monday through Wednesday evenings the trail and lower viewing area are not open to the public. On Thursday through Sunday evenings, the trail will only be open to those visitors who pay admission to view the bats at the lower viewing area. For the most up- to-date emergence information, call the toll-free information line at 1-866-978-2287.
Rules:
  • No overnight camping allowed
  • No pets are allowed
  • No public consumption or display of alcohol
  • No smoking is allowed at the upper and lower viewing areas
  • No firearms or hunting allowed
  • No fires of any type are allowed
  • Bicycles, motorized vehicles, or horses are not permitted
  • Removal of plants, rocks, animals, or cultural items strictly prohibited
  • Please stay on designated trails; entering the tunnel is strictly prohibited
  • Handicapped access is available when TPWD staff or volunteers are present or upon special request
  • For the protection of the bats and for your own safety, please do not handle or otherwise disturb bats
Apr 23
12:59

Fredericksburg Texas Online

The gardener has gone on, but the Heirlooms in her long forgotten garden are popping up to tell her story, "Someone in this house LOVED these IRISES many years ago!"

Apr 23
12:50

Fredericksburg Texas Online

SCREAMING SPRING! All around this town... the amazing and BEAUTIFUL IRIS is PAINTING the Texas Hill Country PRETTY!

Apr 23
12:46

Fredericksburg Texas Online

April 25 -27th, Wings Over the Hills Nature Festival - LOOK UP! There are AMAZING WINGS in the TEXAS skies! Birds, Bees, Butterflies, and Bats! Miracles that FLY! Join us in Fredericksburg, Texas, for a CELEBRATION of FLIGHT! For the schedule of events and to purchase tickets online, visit: www.wingsoverthehills.org

Apr 23
03:30

Fredericksburg Texas Online

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. - Ruth Stout

Apr 23
03:14

Fredericksburg Texas Online

April 26, 2014 - Reserve the date! 5th Annual Hill Country Wine and Music Festivals at Wildseed Farms! A Celebration of Texas! Texas Wine, Texas Music and Texas Cuisine!
TASTE the BEST of the Hill Country!! Texas Wineries, Local Restaurants, Mobile Kitchens, Food Purveyors, and Artisans will be spreading the table with lots of delicious food and wine. For a complete schedule and to purchase tickets online visit: www.hillcountrywineandmusic.com

Apr 23
02:53

Fredericksburg Texas Online

Happy Birthday Roy Orbison! MERCY!

Apr 21
10:14

Fredericksburg Texas Online

April 20 - 26th CELEBRATE America's Poets on Horseback! It's Cowboy Poetry Week! Sit back and listen... there are some TEXAS TALL TALES TO BE TOLD! Here's to Cowboys! Here's to Horses! Here's to the Museum of Western Art keeping it ALL alive! Happy Trails!


Timeline Photos
Saluting Cowboy Poetry Week this week. Find more info at cowboypoetry.com
Apr 21
06:29

Fredericksburg Texas Online

April 21, 1836 - CELEBRATE! Texas Independence Day! 178 years ago today, in the Battle of San Jacinto, a band of Texian rebels led by General Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna, thus securing Texas' INDEPENDENCE from Mexico!

Apr 21
03:26

Fredericksburg Texas Online

No JOKE Folks! England has TEXAS beat! The BIGGEST RABBITS on the planet are from the UK! They call these massive hares "Continental Giants" - Ralph, the big bunny on your left, is the current champion... weighing in at 55lbs! More proof at: http://pphotography-blog.blogspot.com/2013/06/worlds-biggest-rabbit.html

Apr 20
16:00

Fredericksburg Texas Online

The TRADITION of creating Ukrainian Pysanky has been handed down through the generations since the 10th century.

Apr 20
15:20

Fredericksburg Texas Online

Love is patient and kind... Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends!
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Apr 20
15:00

Fredericksburg Texas Online

Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill and Farm... EGG-CEPTIONAL Organic and Non-GMO Feed for your HAPPY LIVESTOCK and Barnyard Friends! Remember, you are what you eat!


Timeline Photos
Apr 20
12:24

Fredericksburg Texas Online

Happy Easter! Blessings on your FAMILY and FRIENDS!

Apr 20
11:52

Fredericksburg Texas Online

On EASTER SUNDAY...Let Your Light Shine!

Apr 20
11:30

Fredericksburg Texas Online

The FREDERICKSBURG EASTER FIRE TRADITION! Find out more at Friends of Gillespie County Country Schools, and / or Fort Martin Scott Museum Association!


Timeline Photos
Und auf geht's in die neue Runde! Bier, Bratwurst, Blues und Rock - let it shine tonight! Euch allen viel Spaß am Feuer!
Apr 20
11:26

Fredericksburg Texas Online

Go out and smell the flowers!


Mobile Uploads
To us, this has "Texas" written all over it -- families out enjoying Texas Bluebonnets. Taken at Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area near Spicewood, Texas, on April 19, 2014, by Cate Biggs.
Apr 20
09:30

Fredericksburg Texas Online

Croatian Easter Eggs!

Apr 20
09:27

Fredericksburg Texas Online

Belarusian Easter Eggs

FIRST FRIDAY ARTWALK
GALLERIES
Bringing Art and Art Lovers together!
Enjoy fine wine from local wineries and the Fredericksburg ART scene!

Find out more >

Texas Hill Country #1
on The New York Times
31 Places to Go This Summer

"Who needs Europe? The Texas Hill Country, west of Austin and north of San Antonio, might be the next best thing to crossing the Atlantic. The region is lush, colorful and, unlike much of the pancake-flat state, dotted with beautiful green hills that are evocative of Tuscany or the south of France. Moreover, the region is speckled with 22 wineries that buzz with food and music festivals year round. And towns like Fredericksburg offer a taste of the Old World, with German-style biergartens and schnitzelhauser. "

The New York Times
Sunday, June 1, 2008

#1 on Away.com's Top 10
"Hidden-Gem"

Wine Regions in the United States Hill Country, TX: Texas Hill Country, north of San Antonio and west of Austin, is one of the nation's fastest growing wine destinations. Boasting 24 wineries  along the Texas Wine Trail, this area is a must-see for its unparalleled wine diversity. Away.com's Top 10 Hidden-Gem Wine Regions In Your Backyard Sep 23, 2010

www.pressroom.orbitz.com

Uncertain about which TEXAS HILL COUNTRY wines to try?
Go for the GOLD!
2013 Houston Rodeo International Wine Competition

Whose bringing the
GOLD

home to the
Texas Hill Country?

PEDERNALES CELLARS

2012 Viognier
TOP TEXAS WINE

MESSINA HOF WINERY
TOP ALL AROUND WINERY


BRENNAN VINEYARDS
4.0 Cellars
2011 New World Rhone-style
White Varietals and Blends
Texas Class Champion
GOLD


BRENNAN VINEYARDS
4.0 Cellars
2011 Viognier
Texas Class Champion
GOLD

DRIFTWOOD ESTATE WINERY
2010 Alamo Red
New World Bordeaux Blend
Class Champion
DOUBLE GOLD

FLAT CREEK ESTATES
2011 Flat Creek Rose
White Zin and Dry Rose
Class Champion
Texas Class Champion
GOLD

GRAPE CREEK VINEYARDS
2011 Cabernet Blanc
White Zin and Sweet Rose
Reserve Class Champion
GOLD

MCPHERSON CELLARS
4.0 Cellars
Tre Colore
New World Sangiovese
and Blends
Reserve Class Champion
Texas Class Champion
DOUBLE GOLD

MCPHERSON CELLARS
4.0 Cellars
2011 Viognier
GOLD

MESSINA HOF
Barrel Reserve Port
Red Port & Port-style wines
Texas Class Champion
GOLD

MESSINA HOF
2010 Private Reserve Merlot
Texas Class Champion
GOLD

PEDERNALES CELLARS
2010 Tempranillo
New World Tempranillo
and Blends
GOLD

PEDERNALES CELLARS
2012 Viognier
Top Texas Wine
Class Champion
Texas Class Champion
DOUBLE GOLD

PERISSOS VINEYARDS
2010 Petite Sirah
Estate Grown - Reserve
Class Champion
Texas Class Champion
GOLD

PERISSOS VINEYARDS
2010 Petite Sirah
Estate Grown
TX Reserve Class Champion
GOLD

WILLIAM CHRIS VINEYARDS
2010 Cabernet Franc
Class Champion
Texas Class Champion
DOUBLE GOLD

WOODROSE WINERY
2009 Tempranillo
New World Tempranillo
and Blends
GOLD

Texas Hill Country
By John Graves and
Wyman Meinzer

Two of Texas' most respected artists join their talents to create an unsurpassed portrait of the Texas Hill Country. "Together, John Graves and Wyman Meinzer once again demonstrate that they  are the foremost artists of the Texas landscape. The portrait they create in images and words is as close as you can come to the heart of the Hill Country without being there."

www.utexas.edu

Stardust Carriage Service
Horse Drawn Carriage Rides for All Occasions!

Create romantic memories with horse-drawn carriage rides through historic Fredericksburg, Texas. Carriage rides are the perfect way to celebrate special occasions!

Call Margaret Creamer for reservations!
830.992.0700

Hill Country Trail Riding
Enjoy the AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL Texas Hill Country on horseback!

Come explore 800 gorgeous acres of Texas Hill Country on horseback. Beautiful valleys, hills and views, creek crossings, wildlife and so much more! Adventure awaits you! Call Jen Bursaw to reserve your ride today!
612.961.9441

Hill Country Bicycle Works

You can rent a bike at Hill Country Bicycle Works! Their rental fleets feature road and fitness hybrid bikes. It is recommended that you reserve your rental bike in advance, especially during holidays and weekends. They also have maps and recommendations for rides in and around Fredericksburg, Texas, and the surrounding Texas Hill Country! Located at 702 East Main. Closed Sundays and Wednesdays! 830-990-2609

www.hillcountrybicycle.com

Stagecoach Shuttle Service
Taxi & Transportation Service

Winery tours, shopping tours, transportation for weddings, reunions, and trips around Fredericksburg, Texas, and the beautiful Texas Hill Country!
830-385-7722 or 830-997-1002

stagecoachtaxiandshuttle.com

Fredericksburg First Friday Food Ministry
A movable feast that welcomes everyone to the table.

Fredericksburg Food Ministry is an all-volunteer community-based food and hospitality ministry that provides residents of Fredericksburg and the surrounding communities, a "cloth napkin" dining experience on the first Friday of each month.

You have fed my tummy and my soul with food and blessings! Thank you for sharing your love with me.
- A First Friday lunch guest

fredericksburgfirstfriday.org