The last item on the summer bucket list checked off yesterday. We loaded up the kiddos, a stack of movies, picnic lunch and trekked out to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center near Glen Rose, Texas
It’s been on our “must do” list for some time, but after hearing horror stories about how crowded it is during Spring Break, we were not sure what to expect the week before school starts. Would it be a madhouse?
In case you’re not familiar, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is an interactive wildlife preserve offering tours and special events and even lodging. Located in quaint little Glen Rose, Texas, it’s about a 2 hour drive outside of Dallas. Driving tours are available and visitors are able to hand-feed the exotic – and many endangered – animals in a natural habitat. The animals (with the exception of a few) are roaming free over the expansive area.
Let me tell you, our day was perfect. Hot – but perfect. There was hardly anyone there, there was NO crowd, the animals were hungry (except the giraffes) and we had a fantastic time. It was like we were riding a Mardi Gras float tossing beads and candy to the eager crowd.
They’ll eat from your hand too, if you hold it flat-palmed for them — otherwise, expect a nibble or two on your fingers.
When you enter the preserve, you’ll stop at the welcome center to buy your tickets. We weren’t so into the open air busses (it is 98 degrees still) and opted for the self-guilded tour in the comfort of our air conditioned car. When you get your tickets DEFINITELY buy the bag of food to feed the animals, and pick up the kid-sized binoculars here too. They’re a logo’d souvenir item, only $6.95 and NOT sold at the retail center at the top of the “mountain.” We thought they would be and had the kids wait, only to find some more expensive binoculars there that weren’t nearly as appealing to our crew.
The animals have got this whole “humans feed me pellets” thing down. In fact, they take their food so politely it puts my pugs to shame. See how sweetly this Addax Antelope takes the food from my hand?
There’s even one Zebra (I call her/him the Diva Zebra) who goes the extra mile for you and just opens wide to let you throw the food in. (A giggle-fest highlight of our tour.)
Pace yourself with your feed bag. It’s sooooooo exciting to feed all the eager visitors when they come up to your car, but you want to save some for the giraffe which are at about 2/3 of the 9 mile loop. Although as I said, you may be selling but they may not be buying.
At the scenic overlook, there’s a café, picnic area, Children’s Animal Center, and retail shop. We brought our lunches in a cooler and found a shaded tree to eat. Even in the upper 90’s, it was really pleasant with a light wind and we saved ourselves the $8.50 each per meal – and then spent it in the gift shop on shark tooth and precious stone necklaces for the kids.
The Children’s Animal Center has a number of pygmie goats that are roaming about. While you can’t feed these guys, there are plenty of brushes that they’ll gladly let you use on their wide load backsides. There’s also a few tortoises, a pot bellied pig, and lots of interesting interactive trivia for the kids to discover.
I lost count how many different types of hooved animals we were able to feed but we had a picture checklist to go by. The cheetahs were a big tease so we’ll come back for them, but we did get to see the rhino from a distance. If you take one of the guided tours, you have more liklihood of seeing these special exhibits.
We arrived a little before 11 a.m. and were done a little more than 3.5 hours later. Since that would put us in rush hour back in Dallas, we rounded off a great day in historic downtown Glen Rose.
The kids had been car-bound so much of the day, it was a perfect way for them to shake the wiggles out, visit the museum on the square (seriously do this and talk with the nice lady working there), look in all the cute stores, get some ice cream at Shoo Fly Soda Shop and drool over the delicious pies at Pie Peddlers. What a great way to wait out traffic! We even got to meet one of the Crockin’ Girls’ moms – and she makes THE CUTEST hats! It was hard to choose, but this one came home with me. What do you think?
This was bucket list and then some! I mean seriously. How often do you get to say you fed a zebra?!
So when are you headed to Glen Rose??? Here’s a link to the ticket prices and seasonal hours of operation for the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.