Take a Drive on the Wild Side at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

“USA WEEKEND” magazine recently rated the 10 best animal safaris in the U.S. The one at the top of the list is right here in Texas!

Today I’m trading in my Stetson for a safari hat as I drive through the African Plains in Texas Hill Country. The Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is a 400 acre safari park located between San Antonio and New Braunfels. The ranch is home to about 500 animals representing over 45 different species, including some endangered ones.

There’s something really special about being able to view these exotic animals and interact with them as you drive through their natural habitat. Zoos are fun, but here at the ranch, it’s a unique experience as you can see the animals up close and personal and even get slobbered on by them. Many are very friendly–and hungry–which is what you want, because feeding them is half the fun. (Try to go early if you can because by the afternoon a lot of the animals may already be full.)  One of the most exciting aspects of the safari was driving along and not knowing what animal would show up next.

natural bridge wildlife ranch, best texas vacation, san antonioI saw zebras, antelopes, water buffalo, ostriches, emus and some creatures that I wasn’t sure what they were! It would have helped if I had splurged for the ID book before beginning my journey…and a second bag of food, for that matter. At one point, an especially-friendly ostrich reached his head into my truck and picked the entire bag of food apart! The zebras can be a bit overenthusiastic, too…but amusing! They’ll come right up to your window, open their mouths and wiggle their lips at you.(Hint, hint!) And if, for some reason, you have any food left at the end of your drive, no worries, because the park lets you circle around as many times as you like! If you’re traveling with children, save it for the petting zoo. The goats there will take care of any leftover food in no time!

I also really enjoyed having the opportunity to get out of my truck and stretch my legs in the Walk-A-Bout. A highlight was seeing the amazing giraffes, something you don’t usually see here in Texas! You’ll also see exotic birds, apes, and the popular Lemur Island. Next I would suggest grabbing a bite to eat at the Safari Camp Grill, and then checking out the many gifts and souvenirs available in the Trading Post.

If you want to experience the thrills of a safari, you don’t have to travel halfway around the world; you can simply drive 40 minutes outside of San Antonio and pay a visit to The Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. A unique, educational and memorable journey you won’t want to miss!

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