Things to Do

Texas Hill Country Wildlife Parks: Get Close Encounters With Animals

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Tony Maples Photography


Though Texas has many native animals, if you want to see more exotic fauna, check out the Texas Hill Country wildlife parks. Many of these have safari atmospheres, while others have petting zoo appearances. For a great outing for the family to get up-close and personal with wild animals, visit these wildlife parks on your next journey into the Texas Hill Country.

1. Exotic Resort Zoo

Exotic Resort Zoo Wildlife Park in Johnson City's Tee Shirt

Photo: Facebook/The Exotic Resort Zoo

Exotic Resort Zoo near Johnson City gives you the most intimate encounter with the animals by providing cabins in the park. You will find not only a place to stay but also a petting zoo. The petting areas let you and your family touch baby animals such as llamas and deer. Along the way, tours take you to see lemurs, tortoises, porcupines, camels, elands, bison, and much more.

2. Wonder World

Texas Wildlife Park at Wonder World Cave and Park in San Marcos

Photo: Facebook/Wonder World Cave and Park

Wonder World in San Marcos has the state’s only earthquake-formed cave, but it also features a Texas wildlife park where you can pet the animals as you ride by on the train. In addition to petting the deer and other wildlife, you have the option to purchase specialty feed for them. This lets you have the rare chance to let a deer eat right from your hand. Where else can you have such an experience with Texas wildlife?

3. Capital of Texas Zoo

Wildlife parks: Say Cheese to the Hippo at the Capital of Texas Zoo Wildlife Park Near Austin

Photo: Facebook/Capital of Texas Zoo

A secret gem to the east of Austin, the Capital of Texas Zoo has an intimate atmosphere, though it ranks as the fastest growing Central Texas zoo. Over 500 animals call this zoo home, including the newest, a hippo called Tank. One of the great things you and your kids can do is feed the larger animals. How many times have you gotten the chance to feed a hippo or an alligator? Pro tip: Have extra cash on hand for the feeding experiences when you visit.

4. Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo

Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo Wildlife Park Near New Braunfels

Photo: Facebook/Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo

The Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo were previously one little roadside attraction featuring snakes, but this wildlife park has great plans for expansion, and you benefit. Even now, when you visit, you’ll see dozens of different animals beyond reptiles, but the snakes still live there too. Check out animals from around the world at this ever-expanding New Braunfels zoo. Hyenas, servals, lemurs, warthogs, lions, and more await visitors to this park.

5. Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

Photo: Facebook/Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

Imagine going on a safari right in the Texas Hill Country. That’s what you’ll do when you visit Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. This is one of the few wildlife parks that let you drive among the animals and feed them. You could see zebras, giraffes, and more right from the comfort of your own car, and if you really enjoy the ranch, you may drive around again as many times as you like during your visit.