Join us on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. for a day of batty celebration!
BatFest is always one of our favorite Museum holidays, but this year, we’re blowing it out of the bat cave! Chat with experts who will dispel all the dark myths you’ve heard about bat behavior, watch our Big Brown Bat colony take flight every hour and sample some food pollinated by bats.
Witness the Cincinnati Grotto members scale 106 feet to the top of the Rotunda, which is always a crowd pleaser. Channel your inner Batgirl or Batman by creating a superhero mask for the costume parade and test your IQ in Batty Brain – a twist on the classic game of Jeopardy. Don’t miss out on a day that even Dracula would be proud of! See the full schedule here.
Bats are awesome. Are you wondering how you can help keep them healthy?
There are a lot of people who fear bats or at least don’t particularly care for them. There is a misconception that they frequently attack humans and spread rabies. While it is true they can carry rabies, it is rare. Bat attacks on humans are also rare. You should never handle wild bats, but that goes for all wild animals. Fear of bats is unnecessary. First of all, bats are the only mammals that have achieved powered flight, which is pretty neat. Did you know they also help humans? Bats play an important role in our environment by eating bugs (including mosquitoes!). They provide an ecosystem service to agriculture valued at $4 billion to $50 billion dollars per year (USGS). This allows farmers to spend less money on pesticides, which means lower prices for us when we go to the grocery store or farmers market. Without bats, our food system would suffer and we would have to pay higher prices.
So what does this have to do with you? White-nose syndrome, caused by a fungus, is currently found in at least 25 states (batcon.org). The danger in the fungus is that it disrupts hydration and the hibernation of bats, causing them to leave their hibernation spots in the middle of winter. One of the spreaders of WNS is humans. Thankfully, there are things we can do to help:
1. First, if you see that a particular caved is closed – DO NOT ENTER. WNS is either present in the cave or park officials are trying to prevent it from being spread to that location. It is important that you don’t ignore the sign. All it takes is one person disregarding a sign and WNS can spread even further.
2. Avoid hibernation spots. If you’re unsure, seek out information for your local area on where bats typically hibernate. Ask local park representatives if it’s okay for you to enter a specific area.
3. Report unusual bat behavior, like flying outside in the winter months, to your Department of Natural Resources or local park organizations. Remember to never approach or handle a wild bat – this is protection both for the bat and for yourself.
4. Before entering a cave, make sure you haven’t worn your shoes or clothing in another cave. It is also best that you do not take any items (bags, camera, phone, etc.) into one cave that you had in another cave. WNS doesn’t affect humans and we don’t see it on our belongings, so don’t assume that just because you don’t know about it, that isn’t there. It’s best to be cautious. Always ask local park staff if it’s OK to enter a cave or limit your cave exploration to tours that are led by trained park officials.
Be the Bat and Catch a Moth. This game requires several players and a large open space. Players take turns pretending to be protective trees, a hungry bat and the dinner moth.
Install your very own bat house! One of the things we can do to help bats is to hang a bat house in our yard. Is important to make sure your bat house is the right shape, size, and in a good location. The People at Bat Conservation International provide all sorts of information on bat houses that you can pass along to the adult in your home.
What are you doing in October?
Make It! Try your hand at making. Discover some of the things you can make for yourself while learning some skills to make your visions come to life.
Saturday, Oct. 3 from 2-3:30 p.m. $7 for members; $10 for non-members. Sept. 5 from 2-3:30 p.m. in the Museum of Natural History and Science.
Journey to Space takes you along for the ride as NASA prepares to launch into a new phase of exploration and discovery. Get ready to blast off on a mission beyond the stars in the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater at Cincinnati Museum Center. Journey to Space opens Friday, Oct. 9. Purchase tickets here!