Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
The Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is a special nature reserve just north of San Antonio. Zebras, elk and ostrich roam freely through the 400 acres (nearly 162 hectares) of land and may even poke their heads through your open car window looking for food. These close encounters in the Drive-Thru are just part of the magic at the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. There’s also a Walk-A-Bout area with a giraffe barn, Lemur Island, and other opportunities for close-up interactions with animals. And the Petting Barnyard is designed with kids in mind: they can chase, feed, and cuddle with baby goats and other docile furry friends.
You’ll need to hire a car for the driving safari, which starts at the entrance to the ranch. The day-long entrance fee includes a map and feed for the animals. Take your time through parkland and along creek beds while animals – zebras, emu, buffalo and ostrich – graze, or come up to the car for a bite to eat. This drive takes anywhere from 40 minutes to 1.5 hours. Call ahead to book a one-hour guided tour with an animal specialist, who will escort you in your vehicle to point out different animals and share facts about them.
Once the drive is over, you’ll be ready to stretch your legs in the Walk-A-Bout area. Some of the animals roam free, including parrots, peacocks, and lemurs on Lemur Island. And there are also caged exhibits that replicate the natural environments for animals such as the acrobatic gibbon monkeys. Stop for lunch at the ranch’s Safari Camp Grill, which has an extensive, family-friendly menu. Pick up souvenirs from the Safari Trading Post where you can get a giraffe-shaped pendant or an authentic ostrich egg.
Get here early to see the animals at their most energetic, as they often seek the shady areas away from the driving path later in the day. Having a curious zebra poke its head through your window is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.