Fossil Rim Wildlife Center brings all these things to life. Home to over 1,110 animals, Fossil Rim is like a mini-Texas safari with bison, gazelles, ostriches, zebras and wildebeests roaming freely across the roads. It might not be the Serengeti, but it sure darn is cool!
Tickets for adults are about $25 and $20 for children. We got a discount for being AAA members and bought a bag of animal feed for $7 (sooooo worth it!!!). The Gosdin Scenic Drive is 7.2 miles and takes about 2 hours to drive through. You’re required to stay in your car the whole time, but animals are bold and come right up to your window to get food. We had to roll up our window a few times with the emus who were particularly interested in the feed bag. If you have a car with a sunroof, definitely bring it! That’s how I got the best selfies 😉
Nearly all the animals have some sort of bite, so you have to toss the feed out your window onto the ground for the animals to scoop up. Only the giraffes you’re able to feed with your hands, which sadly we weren’t able to do.
You can also choose to take a guided safari tour for about $40/person. We had a blast just driving around ourselves (we could stop when we wanted to, and I wasn’t embarrassed about making all the weird animal voices as I talked to my new wildlife friends), BUT the giraffes were a bit far away from the road when we went by and the tour bus went off the tourist trail and got super close–SO, if the giraffes are your main squeeze, then perhaps prioritize the tour. More details about that here.
About halfway through the drive, there is an Overlook where you can get out of your car and stretch. Looking across the rolling hills and ravines, you can’t help be quote the Lion King “Everything the light touches is our kingdom, Simba.”
At the entrance, they give you a visitors guide with pictures and descriptions of all the animals in the park. We played our own version of BINGO, checking off each animal that we saw as we drove through the park. Of the 33 exotic animals listed in the brochure, we saw close 20 of them out and about! The only ones we missed that I would have liked to see were the rhinos.
My favorite animals to see were some of the hilariously nosy deer-like animals that stuck their head into the car, the pesky emus, and the cheetahs! Despite being on the other side of chain link fence, the cheetahs were so cute and running around and playing with balls.
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is located pretty much in the middle of nowhere Texas. It’s about 4 hours from Houston, 2.5 hours from Austin and 1.5 hours from Dallas. I happened to cheering on my boyfriend running the 30 mile Dallas Spartan Race (I know, he’s crazy), so we were staying right down the road at Rough Creek Lodge, which was gorgeous and I highly recommend as a fun getaway! It was pretty convenient for us to visit given our race proximity, but if I were to go again, I’d tack it onto a weekend trip to Dallas and use it as a detour on my way home.
For more of my Dallas recommendations, read on here.
All-in-all, a super unique way to spend a Friday afternoon! We went 2 hours before closing (last car gets in at 4:29pm), and had most of the park to ourselves. It was awesome! Would definitely recommend a visit to Fossil Rim!
Have you ever been on a safari? Would you visit Fossil Rim?