Many zoos today are building animal habitats that do their best to mimic natural environments for their animals. None can really compare to the 1,500-acre Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose.
Located off U.S. Highway 67 on County Road 2008, south of town, the Center is home to over a thousand animals, representing more than 50 species. You get to see them, some very up-close, from the convenience of your car as you drive a 9-mile single-lane paved road through the park, in an area known as the Comanche Plateau.
When you pay for admission make sure to buy a bag of the animal food. Many animals come right up to your car for free eats. The Center recommends throwing the feed on the ground, but who can resist having a giraffe eat right out of your hand.
Time your trip to be there in the mornings during hot weather. Animals tend to head for the shade during the heat of the day and may not be visible from the road. The Center has both black and white rhinoceros, but we didn’t see them on our trip.
There are a great many deer and what the park calls “hoofstock”. The most spectacular are the giraffes, which aren’t shy about approaching cars for food. There is a small herd of American Bison, but again, they weren’t in sight during our trip.
There is a fenced-in Cheetah Conservancy along the road, but you’ll be lucky to spot them. They’re petty elusive and stay in the shade during the day. There is a second Cheetah management area, which is accessible only to special behind-the-scenes tours. The Center has a very successful Cheetah breeding program, which began in 1986.
There is a small five-room lodge right on the property, and guests can select an early morning safari tour of the Center, which offers the best animal viewing of the day, before the gates open to the public.
The trip around the park takes 2-3 hours, along a single lane, paved road. Traffic can back up as people stop to feed the animals. The Center asks that you be courteous and pull off to the side of the road if you plan to spend extra time feeding, so traffic behind you can keep moving.
Make sure you take a camera and binoculars (we forgot ours). Some of the animals stayed off the roadway and were secluded in the trees. We spotted zebra, but too far off the road to get a good view.
This is a good side trip if you are spending a getaway weekend in Granbury. The drive is about a half-hour down State Road 144.
Prices and hours are on the website. There is a 15% discount for seniors (over 62), and lower prices for children up to 11-years-old. Kids 2 and under are free. Check the website for the latest pricing information.
Posted August 14, 2015