If you’ve ever wanted to go on an African Safari but can’t quite seem to get the funds or time to make the trip, don’t worry. You can easily feel like you’re on safari by heading out to the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch on the outskirts of San Antonio. There, hidden amongst our beautiful hill country, you’ll find a Texas style safari filled with zebras, ostriches and giraffes oh my.
And the coolest part is that you can actually feed these animals from the comfort of your own car as you travel through the 40 exotic, native and endangered animal species found through out their 400 acres. Traveling at 5MPH through their paved trails allows a lot of time to interact with every species you meet because the animals know car loads of people = yummy pellets for them to eat. That means that you can expect to have them peeping through your window in search of those yummy treats, so be prepared. The animals are not shy and they will try to steal your food when you’re not looking. While others choose to hang back and just enjoy the parade of cars and people traveling through their habitat.
But don’t freak out, they are amazingly friendly and tame, although you are warned against feeding them from your hand and about zebras biting, although I’ve never had issues. But I will say that many have no issues with showing you their teeth – they’re hungry little guys, excited to have us there.
But I’ll tell you, nothing beats being able to see and interact so closely with all these amazing creatures.
And if driving through this safari wasn’t enough to peak your interest, the visitor’s center not only offers a gift shop and grill, but it also offers a beautiful sanctuary with monkeys, lemurs and all the goats you can handle in their petting zoo. Talk about cuteness overload.
So before you head out your door to enjoy, here are few helpful tidbits for you.
- Don’t forget your camera, there will be a ton of photo opps.
- Get there early, especially in the summer months, if you want the most interaction. The hot summer sun on pavement gets to be a bit too much for them and they will eventually retreat to the shade.
- Make sure everyone with a window has a bag of feed. The animals that approach are doing so because they want a treat.
- Take some wet wipes/hand sanitizer. Licks and slobber from your new friends are to be expected (just see images above).
- Bring or buy refreshments from the grill for your passengers. The Texas heat is no joke and traveling through the park, with your windows down, under the hot sun, leads to some thirsty passengers.
- Enjoy the view. I know I began by encouraging you to bring a camera, but you don’t have to take a picture of every interaction. The ranch actually allows you to drive through as many times as you want, so yes, take pics, but then take time to really appreciate the landscape, the animals, their interactions with each other and their interactions with you. It’s pretty awe inspiring!
What’s your favorite interactive spot and/or travel destination?
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