Top 5 Zoo and Safari Experiences in Texas

By Mallory McKeever – September 1, 2022

The Fort Worth Zoo and Fossil Rim are the larger and more well-known zoos/safari experiences in Texas for a reason. However, the smaller, more hidden ones are still worth the visit. Here are some zoo and safari experiences that may be less popular and smaller in size but are just as wonderful in their own character and niche personality.  

Franklin Drive Thru Safari

Llama outside car window.

Photo courtesy of Franklin Drive Thru Safari

The Franklin Drive Thru Safari is located on more than 100 acres of land in Franklin where you can visit 500+ exotic animals. Visitors have the opportunity to hand-feed animals including giraffes, zebras, camels, deer, wolves, longhorn, reindeer, sloths and llamas. They can also play with baby lemurs, monkeys, and armadillos and pet tortoises, monkeys and wolves. The safari also includes a reptile house and aviary for viewing.

Texas Exotic Animals

Lemur and baby lemur.

Photo courtesy of Texas Exotic Animals

Texas Exotic Animals is an exotic breeder that offers experiences focused on visitors getting to know their favorite animal. Texas Exotic Animals offers potential buyers a tour to privately spend time with their animal of choice and ask staff any questions about animal care. This breeder also offers Crittergrams where guests can be photographed with an animal, like a reindeer, and other characters for the holidays. Finally, their Zoo to You encounter brings a selection of your favorite animals to visit at your next birthday party or at other events. 

Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo


Photo courtesy of Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo

Located in New Braunfels, the Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo has an exciting variety of activities to educate others on protecting biodiversity and promoting sustainable living. They offer a zoo, fossil dig and exotic animal encounters. Their residents include the binturong, black mamba, fennec fox, anaconda, jaguar, mountain lion, peacock, toucan, hyena, American alligator, python, lemur, skunk, tortoise, and warthog. Visitors can even hold some of these animals! At their mine, Two Rivers Mining Co., guests can search for gemstones, fossils, minerals, crystals and shark teeth. 

Fragile Planet Wildlife Park

Frog on glass.

Photo courtesy of Fragile Planet Wildlife Park

Only a 30-minute drive from South Padre Island, Fragile Planet Wildlife Park specializes in one-on-one animal experiences and unique tours. Visitors can feed sloths and otters, and children can participate in their junior zookeeper camp. “Wildlife Alive” is a 2-hour long tour priced at $50 per person and includes animal exhibit viewings, an interactive animal show, a camel encounter and a tour of the “frog lab.” Fragile Planet is focused on hands-on work with animals, which serves as their inspiration for their amphibian conservation breeding project and also their junior zookeeper camp. This camp provides a time for children ages 6 to 9 to have hands-on learning about animal care with photo opportunities.

Blue Hills Ranch

Giraffe close up.

Photo courtesy of Blue Hills Ranch

Blue Hills Ranch sprawls on 150 acres of gorgeous hills only 15 minutes outside of Waco. Blue Hills Ranch is an immersive camp/ranch experience priced at $50 per person and includes the opportunity to stay at the ranch to fish, hike, star gaze, play disc golf, go to the gym, play darts, swim, or play horseshoes. Guests can also go on the resort tour, which consists of a private grand safari drive to see the giraffes, zebras, camels, mini Scottish highland cows, bison, mini donkeys, deer, kangaroos, otters, and an emu — most of which are available to touch and feed. The second package is a membership to join the ranch family with prices of $400 per day for an adult and $125 per day for a child and includes all the activities of the regular membership and a chance to swim with the otters and assist in ranch chores.  


Whether it’s to swim with the otters, feed the giraffes, take holiday photos with reindeer or dig for gems, these spots around Texas are not to be overlooked. Even if it’s a short road trip, the prices are manageable and the experiences are worth it. Don’t forget your camera for those picture-perfect moments!


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