Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch – San Antonio, Texas

Jocelyn Murray July 12, 2013 No Comments

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Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch Entrance

Wildlife Ranch is an amazing safari experience

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch offers visitors a chance to do something many of them might never have the opportunity to do in their lifetimes: go on an African safari right in San Antonio, Texas!

Visitors drive in the comfort of their own cars along the scenic four-mile route that cuts through the verdant ranchland. More than 500 animals from around the world roam freely on the grassy plains and gently sloping hills dotted with lush shade-giving trees and cool watering holes.

 

Animal Highlights

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch - Cars

Animals walk right up to the cars in hopes of a treat

Many of the animals walk right up to the cars, eager for a snack they have come to expect from the people driving by. They poke their noses into car windows, completely unafraid of the four-wheeled creatures that roll along the road oohing, ahhing, and pointing excitedly at them.

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch Ostrich

An ostrich rests on the scenic grounds of the ranch

Among the many animals are bison, longhorn cattle, watusi cattle, elk, several deer species, zebras, wildebeests, rhinos, camels, ostriches, Sicilian donkeys, llamas, antelope, goats, emus, kangaroos, giraffes and more. This sanctuary provides refuge to many endangered animals, while helping to propagate their species through breeding programs. It is fun to watch some of them stroll up close, and makes for lots of great photo opportunities. The goats are especially eager for a treat which is given to guests with paid admittance upon entering the ranch, but it is best to buy a few extra bags of the pellets, because they are used up quickly.

This is a great opportunity to see these animals in a recreated natural habit setting. Some of them relax and lounge under the shade of one of the many trees. Others forage through the grasses, meandering in groups, while others still gather down by the watering holes for a drink or to cool themselves off with their babies in tow. One can easily imagine being in the African plains, it is that amazing. And it is a sight that is right out of one of those nature programs.

 

Petting Barnyard

Wildlife ranch petting barnyard

The kids at the petting barnyard are adorable – both human and animal

Children are especially delighted by the cute critters in the petting barnyard which include adorable baby kids—baby goats, ducks, chickens, peacocks, and Patagonian cavies.

 

 

 

Some Interesting Animal Facts

Sicilian donkeys Wildlife Ranch

Sicilian donkeys are sweet and affectionate

  •  The Sicilian donkeys are miniature donkeys, growing no more than 34 inches at the shoulders. These adorable creatures with their soft ears and trusting faces are just so sweet-natured, affectionate, and easy-going.
  • The Stripe patterns of zebras are as unique to each of them as are the thumb prints on people.
  • The American Bison is one of North America’s largest mammals.
  • Wildebeest are one of the largest species of antelope.
  • wildlife ranch watusi

    Watusi are the largest horned animals in the world

    Bactrian camels have two humps, and are closely related to llamas. Unlike popular misconception, their humps are not filled with water, but made of fat instead.

  • Ostriches can run up to 45 miles per hour, and are the only two-toed birds in the world.
  • Giraffes are the world’s tallest land mammals, growing up to 19 feet tall, and weighing up to 3,000 pounds.
  • wildlife ranch emu

    An emu and her babies visit a watering hole for a drink

    The white rhinoceros is the second largest land mammal after the elephant. These endangered species are reminiscent of dinosaurs from long ago, with their horns and massive leathery bodies.

  • The Patagonian cavies are the world’s third largest rodent after capybaras and beavers. These sun-basking creatures are monogamous by nature, staying with the same partner for life.
wildlife ranch lemurs

Ring-tailed lemurs cuddle together on Lemur Island in the ranch’s Walk-A-Bout

In addition to the safari animals and petting barnyard, guests can walk around to observe a variety of parrots in their spacious enclosures, chickens roosting in a henhouse, and lemurs cuddling with their long tails wrapped like fuzzy scarves about each other,  or frolicking around the little “island” that is their home here.

 

Parent Tips

wildlife ranch zebra

Every zebra has its own unique pattern of stripes

One of the nicest things about this wildlife ranch is that you can drive through in the safety and comfort of your own car. But it can get busy, with cars stopped for long whiles, so it’s best to go early or go later in the day when it will be less crowded. The wildlife ranch also gives visitors a chance to experience an African-style safari right in the heart of Texas.  After going on the safari, guests can stroll in the walk-a-bout and petting barnyard areas which are nicely shaded by large trees, making it cool and comfortable for little ones and their parents.  There is a Safari Trading Post gift shop that sells fun safari-themed souvenirs, and a Safari Camp Grill for hungry humans to get a bite to eat. Both the gift shop and grill are located across from each other in the walk-a-bout area next to the petting barnyard. Everything is close to each other, including the parking, making it all very convenient. The overall experience is a wonderful educational adventure that will never be forgotten.

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avatarAbout the Author:

Jocelyn Murray is a travel writer and historical fiction novelist. She holds two university master's degrees in both English and Education, along with a bachelor's degree in Economics and European Studies. She also has a teaching credential and taught at the elementary school level.

Tags: , Reviews, Travel Excursions

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