Selman Bat Watch Information

Registration for the 2022 Selman Bat Watches will open Monday, May 23. 

People sitting on benches looking at the horizon waiting for bats to fly over at Selman Bat Caves.

Each summer, hundreds of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats pour from the Selman Bat Cave to feed on insects, and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Wildlife Diversity Program offers the public the chance to watch.

Due to limited spacing, all Selman Bat Watch visitors must pre-register. (The area is closed to the public except during official events.) Admission to the Selman Bat Watch is $14 for adults and $8 for children ages 8-12. Children must be 8 years of age or older to attend.

Eight viewing opportunities are offered each year. Watches in 2022 will be held on Friday and Saturday nights beginning July 8. (July 8, July 9, July 15, July 16, July 22, July 23, July 29, and July 30)

How to Register:  Registration for the 2022 Selman Bat Watches Will Open Monday, May 23

Hopeful Selman Bat Watch participants must download, complete and mail their registration form to Selman Bat Watch c/o Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152 between May 23 and June 1, 2022 to be considered for 2022 watches. Please read the registration form and the below "Things to Consider if Selected for a Selman Bat Watch" carefully before completing. 

Registration forms must be postmarked on or before June 1, 2022 to be accepted for 2022 watches. 

Only one registration form is needed for families or groups. Group members should not register individually. Group size is limited to 10 on Saturday evenings.

On June 15, a drawing from accepted mailed-in registration forms will be conducted. Applicants will be notified by email by 9 a.m. on June 16 of the outcome of the drawing. If unsuccessful, payment will be returned. 

Two Special Bat Watch Evenings Offered in 2022: Nature at Night

In addition to the regular Selman Bat Watches, the Wildlife Diversity Program is offering two opportunities to experience "Nature at Night" at the bat watch area. The evening includes a regular bat watch followed by visitors experiencing this unique area through activities that include identification of natural night sounds, animal tracking, and night life in the creek. The evening will conclude around midnight. To provide a quality experience, attendance is limited each evening to 20 adults (18 years and older). Participants must be able to walk with limited lighting on uneven surfaces. Admission to the Nature at Night is $14 per adult. The Nature at Night events will be held August 5 and 6.

How to Register:  Registration for the 2022 Nature at Nights Will Open Monday, May 23

Hopeful Nature at Night participants must download, complete and mail their registration form to the address provided between May 23 and June 1, 2022

Only one Nature at Night registration form is needed for families or groups. Group members should not register individually. Group size is limited to 10 on the Saturday evening. 

Registration forms must be postmarked on or before June 1, 2022 to be accepted. 

On June 15, a drawing from accepted mailed-in registration forms will be conducted. Applicants will be notified by email by 9 a.m. on June 16 of the outcome of the drawing. 

Please note: You may register for both a Selman Bat Watch event, which will occur in July, and a Nature at Night event, which will occur in August. Selection for both events will take place on June 15, beginning with the Nature at Night registration process. If you have registered for both events and are selected for a Nature at Night evening, your Selman Bat Watch registration will be withdrawn, and that payment will be returned. If you have registered for both events and are unsuccessful for a Nature at Night evening, your Selman Bat Watch registration will remain eligible for the July events and the Nature at Night payment will be returned. If you choose to register for both events, the separate registration forms and payments may be included in one envelope.

What to Expect if Selected for a Selman Bat Watch:

Before being bused to the Selman Bat Cave Wildlife Management Area, visitors will be introduced to the Mexican free-tailed bat and other wildlife that may be encountered in the area. On-site, group leaders will explain how the bats travel up to 1,400 miles each spring to give birth and raise their young in Oklahoma and take visitors on an optional ¼ mile nature walk. For your safety and to protect the bats, the cave will not be toured.

Boy showing lady a bat shaped piece of cloth while sitting on a bench at Selman Bat Caves.

Things to Consider if Selected for a Selman Bat Watch:

The safety of visitors and the protection of the bats are of the utmost importance. State laws protect the bats, the cave, and their environs.

  • Visitors are welcome to bring collapsible lawn chairs, insect repellents, binoculars, and cameras.
  • Visitors are asked to leave glass containers, water bottles, non-registered people, and pets at home.
  • Visitors are asked to dress for the outdoors (sturdy shoes – no sandals) and for the heat. Please consider wearing long pants to protect your legs from the brush.
  • Adults must accompany children at all times and make sure they follow the rules.
  • Visitors must remain inside the mowed viewing area boundaries
  • NO SMOKING. The cave is located in a prairie.
  • There are no flush toilets on site, but port-a-potties will be available.
  • There is no running water, but drinking water will be provided.
  • The nature trail is level, but not paved.
  • Rattlesnake encounters are possible.

 About Selman Bat Cave Wildlife Management Area:

This 340-acre tract of land contains one of four known maternity colonies for Mexican free-tailed bats in Oklahoma. The cave is situated among gypsum bluffs surrounded by a mixed-grass prairie community.

The property was purchased by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation in 1995 with funds donated to the Wildlife Diversity Program and from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses.

Area Accommodations

City of Woodward has many motels and hotels (31 miles to the south and west of Alabaster Caverns State Park)

City of Alva has motels and hotels (35 miles east of Alabaster Caverns State Park)

Directions

The Selman Bat Watch Program begins at Alabaster Caverns State Park where registered participants check-in and receive an introduction to Mexican free-tailed bats and other wildlife that may be encountered during the evening's program. All registered Selman Bat Watch attendees will be bused to the Selman Bat Cave Wildlife Management Area from the state park after the orientation.

Contact

For questions about the bat watch contact us using our online contact form!