CARLSBAD, New Mexico – Carlsbad Caverns National Park will hold the 57th annual Bat Flight Breakfast on Saturday, July 19, beginning at 5 a.m. Visitors are invited to meet in the Bat Flight Amphitheater to watch the return of Brazilian free-tailed bats to the cave. Most bats will have returned to the cave by 6:30 a.m.
Carlsbad Caverns Trading Company will serve breakfast, beginning at 5:00 a.m. The cost of breakfast is $10 and includes an English muffin sandwich (meat or vegetarian) or yogurt parfait, fruit and a beverage. Visitors may enjoy their breakfast in the Bat Flight Amphitheater as they watch the bats return. Visitors are encouraged to bring a flashlight, but they must be turned off during the return bat flight in addition to all electronic devices (cell phones, cameras, tablets, etc.).
The Bat Flight Breakfast is a free event. In addition, the first 60 visitors will receive free tickets for a 6:30 a.m. lantern tour with a ranger down the Natural Entrance. Other activities include: “Waking Up the Cave” with a ranger as they enter a dark cave to turn lights on for the day – 20 spots available on a first come-first served basis the morning of the breakfast (sign up at the gate). There will also be a rope climbing demonstration at 7 a.m. in the outdoor amphitheater.
If you would like the opportunity to capture a special cave photograph, join a ranger on a photography tour through scenic King’s Palace. Photographers must bring their own equipment, tripods and flash will be permitted. 15 spots available and tickets are $20 per person. Call 575-785-3152 for reservations.
Throughout the Bat Flight Breakfast park rangers will be available to answer questions. Carl S. Bat, Carlsbad Caverns’ mascot, also will make a special appearance at 6:45 a.m.
The Bat Flight Breakfast began in 1957 as a way to encourage visitors to see the bats’ morning return flight. While this year’s bat population is reduced because of drought conditions, there are still potentially thousands of bats to observe.
Overnight parking and car or RV camping are prohibited within the park. The park will be open under regular summer hours (visitor center 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.). For more information about Carlsbad Caverns hours, cave tours and other activities, call 575-785-2232 or visit www.nps.gov/cave.