News of the Week

March 30, 2015

Bat Wing Ding Offers Family Fun

   Alabaster Caverns State Park, near Freedom, Okla., will host a bat festival April 10-11 to showcase Oklahoma's only flying mammals.

   Mike Caywood, manager of Alabaster Caverns State Park, said the two-day event offers activities for all ages. "We'll be making bat masks, playing bat-related games and even mist-netting bats as they emerge from the cavern for their evening feeding session," Caywood said. Participants will also be able to attend an educational program on Oklahoma's bat species and see if their observation skills will earn the title of Official Bat Detective. Other activities include an acoustic bat walk and the "Bats, Bats, Bats: Oklahoma Nightlife" exhibit with live bats, bat skeletons and instruments used by researchers to study bats.

   The Bat Wing Ding is free to the public. Cave tours are optional and cost $10 for adults and $7 for children ages 6-12. The event will begin at 9 a.m. each day and end at midnight.

   Over 20 species of bats live in Oklahoma. Check out the "Bats of Oklahoma Field Guide" at wildlifedepartment.com to learn more about the evening flight times and behaviors of these species. In case you were wondering, bats are the only mammals capable of true flight (by gaining altitude). Flying squirrels glide; they can only descend from a higher perch.

   Alabaster Caverns State Park is in northwestern Oklahoma, 6 miles south of Freedom or 20 miles north of Mooreland on U.S. 50. Turn east on U.S. 50A and travel a half-mile to the park's entrance.


 

Learn about Oklahoma's bats, including the cave myotis as seen in this photo, at Alabaster Caverns State Park's Bat Wing Ding on April 10-11. (Photo Courtesy of Duane Del Vecchio.)