If an African safari isn’t a practical option this year, but your family is eager to embark on a Jumanji-like adventure, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is the perfect destination.
“Fossil Rim is home to approximately 1,100 animals spanning more than 50 species on 1,800 acres,” says Marketing Associate Tye Chandler.
Located near Glen Rose, Fossil Rim is not a zoo. It is a nonprofit organization seeking to save species by utilizing its vast land as a breeding facility. The many animals housed there have plenty of space to roam - much like their natural habitats. And visitors are able to observe and learn from the animals as they quietly explore the park.
“This greater room to roam allows for herds to live together and exhibit natural behaviors. Instead of the animals being in the enclosures that you might find at a zoo, it is often a role reversal at Fossil Rim, as people are in the enclosure that is their own vehicle or they are within our guided tour vehicles,” Tye says.
The animals that live in Fossil Rim’s Main Pasture have 420 acres to themselves. Giraffes and Hartmann’s mountain zebras reside in the Game Preserve, which is 266 acres. Guest vehicles travel through a total of four pastures.
Some animals are more discreetly located. “We have a part of the facility called the Jim Jackson Intensive Management Area, where wolves, black rhinos, and other animals live,” Tye says. “It can only be visited by guided tour and is quieter and more secluded for animals that may need the extra privacy.”
Families can enjoy self-guided tours in the comfort of their own vehicles or guided tours led by Fossil Rim employees. Visit FossilRim.org for information on which tours and amenities are being offered at the time of your visit.
Driving through Fossil Rim, visitors can observe and photograph several different species of animals – many of which they may have never observed in person – including wildebeest, giraffes, scimitar-horned oryx, blackbuck, addax, Hartmann’s mountain zebras, cheetahs and sable antelope – just to name a few. Most animals, with the exception of white rhinos and cheetahs, can be given feed pellets provided by Fossil Rim.
“I always recommend arriving as close to our 8:30 a.m. opening as possible,” Tye says. If guided tours are available, he highly recommends going that route.
“Guided tours are better than visiting in your own vehicle because you learn more, get more animal food, can take some routes guest vehicles cannot go, and you can ask questions if you have them along the way.”
As a nonprofit organization, Fossil Rim depends on visitors, members, donors, volunteers and corporate sponsors to continue its conservation efforts. For more information on how to support Fossil Rim, visit FossilRim.org/donate-2/.