Oct 18 2008
The following post was authored by Jonah Lisa of The Toby Show.
- 2155 County Road 2008, Glen Rose, Texas 76043
- For more information call 254-897-2960 ext 213 or 1-888-346-6282, or visit www.fossilrim.org
- Open daily. March through October from 8:30am-5:30pm, November through February from 8:30am-3:30pm
- Visit website for detail. Admissions vary depending on Weekend, Weekday and peak season from $12.20 to around $20 per adults. Lower pricing for seniors and kids under 12 and Wednesdays are discount days.
- There’s no walking necessary; you visit this park in your car. The petting zoo area has dirt trails but no stairs so accessibility is fine. Anybody remember Lion Country Safari? We had them when I grew up in Texas and my family went often. You rode around in an open jeep painted like a zebra and fed animals in a kind of open zoo. I loved it as a child. On our big, month-long, family trip to Texas this past spring we got to visit a similar kind of park in Glen Rose, Texas. Much more conservation minded and animal-focused (as opposed to visitor-focused), The Fossil Rim Wildlife Park was really a fun.
You start off at the visitor center where you buy tickets, get a map and buy a paper bag of “food” (some sort of compressed pellet) to feed the animals out of your car window. A bag of food costs $7.95 and we got by with just one. A family with multiple kids would do well to buy at least 2 bags to cut down on backseat squabbling .
There are about 40 species of exotic, threatened and endangered animals roaming freely over the 1,800 acres of the park. I’d say at least half of those are various varieties of hooved, deer-type creatures. Besides those, the park also has giraffes, zebras, Cheetahs (enclosed), cranes, rhinos, oryx, emus, ostriches & wolves (also enclosed).
Because the animals have mostly free-range of the entire conservancy, you don’t identify them by a map in a certain order like at a zoo. With older kids, that makes identification of different species a real challenge and learning experience. Make sure everyone in your party gets their very own Animal Identification Guide from the Visitor Center. The drive is only about 10 miles but they suggest 2-3 hours. It took us about 2 hours to do the whole park with one toddler.
If you have a larger party, it might also be worth it to you to do a Guided tour instead of self-guided in your own car. There are special roads open only to guided tours that go closer to graving areas, plus I’m sure you get lots of interesting information about each species. We definitely saw some guided tours getting to feed the animals much closer (I think they may have had better food too!) than we were able to get. At the Children’s Animal Center in the middle of the park, there’s a petting zoo where the kids can brush goats, and touch giant tortoises. This mid-point also included picnic tables and a small cafe. It’s a great stop to break up the drive, let everyone stretch their legs and visit the restroom. It’s also where the wolf and oryx enclosures are located.
Once we had our little break it was back in the car for more animals. For the most part, feeding the animals consists of tossing the pellets out toward the animals until they more a little closer. Some of them get the concept of where the food is coming from faster than others. The deer came closer than anything else, until we got to the end and saw the ostriches. BE WARNED: THE OSTRICHES ARE AGGRESSIVE EATERS! They will stick their heads right in your car and peck. Just roll up the windows as soon as you see them and start from there to your own comfort level. I have no pictures of the ostriches because they put us in such a defensive position. It was just a scramble to get the windows up fast enough without getting pecked. Still, it was funny and exciting. And remember, as with zoos, the animals will be more active in the morning than in the full heat of the day.
This was an all around fun family trip and though we didn’t do this ourselves you should also hit the Glen Rose Dinosaur Valley State Park for lots of cool geologic features and dinosaur footprints.