Is There Really a Wild Animal Safari in Texas?
Yes, Yes there is! Do your kids love animals? If you’re in Texas, you’re in luck – and you won’t even need your passport to go on an amazing african style safari in Texas! A short trip outside of San Antonio to the “Hill Country”, between San Antonio and New Braunfels, is where the zebras, buffalo and llamas roam. Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is not your typical Texas ranch, so don’t expect bull riding, cattle roping or cowboys moseying by.
Instead, expect to experience an animal adventure worth squealing about amongst the beautiful setting of rolling hills, live oaks and creek beds. Admission gives you access to the “drive-thru” with 1 bag of feed (additional bags can be purchased for $1.50 each), petting barnyard and walkabout. Before heading into the Safari area, we took a quick potty break (the drive can take about an hour to complete) and stopped to check out the vintage tractor.
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch sits on 400 acres of pristine, natural, protected, environment, where exotic species from all over the world call “Home Sweet Home.” This ranch is all about getting up close and personal with animals you would normally only see from a distance at your typical zoo.
And I do mean “up close”, as we had several animals that would have climbed into the car with us if they could fit.
As we drove through areas like the Tatonka Range, Kenyan Preserve, and the Massai Savanna, we encountered hundreds of animals like Aoudad, Kudu, Elk, Llamas, Fallow, Axis, Emu, Rhea, Watusi, Ostrich, and the Japanese Sika.
The speed limit is 5 mph, but you can go at your own pace and pull over to the side to stop as often as you like. We rolled down our windows at the first grouping of Barbary Sheep, food pellets in hand. We were told to be sure to throw the food onto the ground, and not to hand feed the animals, but honestly after seeing how docile they were to the cars in front of us, we just couldn’t help but break the rules.
You’re able to drive through the park as many times as you’d like, but early mornings when the animals are hungry or early evenings are the best times. Our morning drive was full of excitement and adventure as a zebras, llamas and ostriches approached our car looking for food. The Addax were super friendly, despite their intimidating lengthy horns.
While you aren’t allowed to exit your vehicle at any time inside the drive-thru area, I did find it awfully handy that our Mazda3 Skyactive had a sun roof that I could pop out of!
Of the entire experience, our favorite part by far was definitely our zebra encounter.
And of course we couldn’t go thru just once! On our second lap later in the day, most of the animals had full bellies and were napping, however the Ostriches certainly didn’t miss the chance to come over and peck at the car.
The entire ranch is full of great places to snap photos, and we easily spent 4 solid hours in pure delight. This is a place I never knew existed and will always and forever recommend to friends if they are ever in the area. This is an adventure that everyone will love – regardless of whether or not you have kids!
Thank you to the San Antonio CVB and Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch allowing us to have this experience at no cost. All opinions are mine.