Take a Drive-Through Safari at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
San Antonio attraction gets you up close to emus, gazelles, wildebeests, and more
When it comes to food pellets, zebras have no shame. They'll shove their head right into the open window of your Toyota Corolla and shake you down for the contents of your paper feed bag. More than any other creature at Texas' drive-through safari, the striped African horse flaunts an unabashed love for snacking.
You can interact with 500 animals among 40 different species at the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch on the northern edge of San Antonio, a 75-minute drive from Austin. Ostriches, emus, gazelles, and wildebeests, roam free on the 450-acre property – which visitors cruise through on a paved road. Their roster of wildlife serves as an education on the vast species of African antelope alone: the pinstriped bongo, the screw-horned addax, the dark and mysterious sable, and the oryx with antlers as long as javelins. The park also houses a couple of white rhinoceroses – the second-largest land mammal on planet Earth. Thank God they're fenced away from the road.
Driving through the attraction, which opened in 1984 and is housed on a property owned by the same family for over a century, you notice that Texas ranchland, with its spacious landscape and low-riding flora, looks not unlike an African savanna. The journey through the park takes about an hour – give or take 20 minutes if traffic is heavy or a wildebeest blocks your path.
When you're ready to get out of the car, the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch also contains a "walkabout" where you'll encounter gibbons, alpacas, and lemurs. You'll also have ample opportunity to take a selfie with one of their friendly giraffes.
The beast-to-human ratio is best if you go on weekdays or early in the morning, and if you want to take the experience to the next level, we recommend borrowing a convertible and playing African music on the car stereo.