Checking out Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
April 15, 2012
Saturday the lady and I tried something new and spent the better part of the day in the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch near San Antonio.
This 400-acre wildlife park is a drive-through adventure with hundreds of native and exotic animals.
With pellets provided by park, many of the animals come right up to you.
The four-mile drive is pleasant and takes you through a variety of environments. We liked it so much we did it twice.
Along the way, beggars fall in line to greet you, like these Gemsbok Antelope.
While a lot of the experience is tailored to the wildlife tourist demographic, there were some neat opportunities for genuine wildlife observation as well.
At one point, a group of wildebeests (White Bearded Gnu) sprung to attention as one large male chased off a smaller male (from what we gather is his territory). As we continued down the route, the chase continued until they eventually moved away from our path.
Elsewhere in the journey, we observed many resting animals and more unique behavior, like an ostrich attempting to woo another with a mating dance.
Within the middle of the our second trip of the circuit, we spotted a group of Damaraland Zebra.
From a distance, the zebras are regal and majestic. We were hoping to spot these creatures and weren’t disappointed.
Once they locked on to us, they meandered over to our car and surrounded us.
After patiently waiting for a moment, they started a frighteningly amusing routine of opening their mouths and baring their teeth to let you toss in food.
The one animal we did not leave our window open for was the ostrich. I may be rushing to judgement a bit, but these animals weird me out.
Throughout our journey, we watched them wander up to cars and dart their necks through the windows as screams came from inside.
Aside from the drive itself, the ranch offers a few other attractions, like its lemur exhibit. These animals from Madagascar are great fun to watch and their babies are adorable.
The plants around the area are a great draw for butterflies and enthusiasts could almost take a trip just to see them. Almost.
For a few minutes, we also checked out the giraffes and a peacock.
As a photography note, the enclosure for the giraffe, while necessary for safety, makes photography a bit difficult through the fence.
We found the petting zoo, and its goats, sheep and llamas, to be a lot of fun.
Overall, the day set us back nearly $40 for admission, but the price seems fair. We enjoyed the experience and would recommend this trip to anyone visiting the San Antonio area.
To learn more about the park, visit http://wildliferanchtexas.com/