Texas Drive-Through Animal Parks
From the shade of the century-old tree, the
wildebeest yawns and eyes a small herd of springbok ,on their way
to the watering hole. Nearby, a lanky ostrich saunters across the
field, a few wide paces away from a dusty zebra. It's a scene witnessed
by a family from the comfort of their vehicle, a group enjoying
a day long safari- - Texas style.
In the Lone Star State, you'll find several excellent wildlife parks
that offer the opportunity for your family to view exotic animals
in a natural setting, away from the cages and confinement of a zoo.
Here the animals exhibit natural behaviors, relating to fellow herd
members, teaching their young, and acting similarly to what you'd
see in the wild.
One of the largest drive-through animal parks in Texas is the Natural
Bridge Wildlife Ranch, located next to the caverns of the
same name. About half an hour north of San Antonio, the park is
located west of I-35 near New Braunfels. This ranch features both
native and exotic animals, ranging from some very pushy ostriches
to excited zebras. You'll receive a bucket of food when you arrive
to feed the animals, who come right up to the car (and inside the
vehicle if you leave your window too far down!) After the drive,
enjoy a look around the petting area, which includes some cute critters
like pygmy goats then shop for wildlife-related souvenirs in the
If your children enjoy petting zoos, then don't miss the largest
one in Texas, located at San Marcos's
Wonder World. Just north of San Antonio on I-35, this park
is best known for its cave, created by an earthquake about 30 million
years ago. There's plenty of action above ground as well, though,
at the 7-1/2 acre Texas Wildlife Park. Kids and parents can all
hop aboard a miniature train for a ride through the animal enclosure.
Along the way, the train stops to allow riders to pet and feed tame
white-tailed deer, turkeys, and many exotic species.
One of the most important drive- through wildlife parks is Texas
is Fossil Rim Wildlife Center,
3,000 acres of privately owned land located in Glen Rose, southwest
of Fort Worth. This conservation center a 3,000-acre privately-owned
conservation center located in Glen Rose, southwest of Fort Worth
which combines entertainment with education and scientific research.
Visitors enjoy a nine-mile drive through the ranch, feeding animals
along the way. This drive winds through four areas, each containing
free-roaming animal populations moving in herds. You'll probably
see sable antelope, Grevy's zebra, oryx, and greater kudu, as well
as gazelle and ostrich. The highlight for many is a chance to feed
the reticulated giraffes, shy, silent giants that tower nearly as
high as the oak trees.
Back to Texas for
photo courtesy Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch