If you're visiting the Texas Hill Country, why not spend a few hours visiting with some exotic wildlife on a wildlife ranch called Exotic Resort Zoo. Located on a 137 acres a few miles from Johnson City and about an hour from Austin, Exotic Resort Zoo is home to over 500 animals and 80 unique species. This small family run attraction is focused on giving endangered species an opportunity to increase their numbers in a healthy environment and at the same time allowing visitors to have a hands on experience with the animals. Nearly half of the wild animals in the park at one time or another were listed on the endangered animal lists and nearing extinction and today they are surviving and reproducing for our kids and grandkids to enjoy. During your tour you'll see a wide variety of species from antelope to zebras - some of which include: kangaroo, Eland, Nilgia antelope, Asian water buffalo, Fallow, Rhea, North American bison, Emu, African black ostrich, and lots more.
As we were heading to Johnson City from camping with a couple of the grandkids in nearby Blanco, when we saw the Exotic Resort Zoo sign and all the animals, we made a hard right and signed up for the tour. After grabbing a couple huge buckets of animal food, we boarded a trailer that was pulled by a tractor driven by our guide Donna and set off on our tour. As soon as we left and entered the first section of the wildlife ranch, we were greeting by several animals that didn't waste any time coming up to our trailer, putting their heads in the trailer, and asking for some food. We were warmly greeted by camels (the Bactrain two humped camel as well as a Dromedary one humped camel), semitar horned oryx, some huge ostrich that loved to stick their head inside the trailer, axis deer, and more. At first the two young grandkids were a little intimidated, but when they saw us feeding and petting the animals, it didn't take long for them to grab handfuls of food and start feeding and petting and giggling and laughing as the animals ate from their hands.
And this process of moving to different gated sections of the ranch, each of which were home to several different species of exotic animals, continued for over an hour. Everywhere the wagon went we were followed by a herd of different animals in each section - they seemed sad when we left their area and entered the next one. But as soon as we left one area, we were immediately greeting by more animals and different species who quickly started following us and came up to the wagon to be feed and petted. Some of what saw, petted, and feed included: zebras, buffalo, ostrich, deer, wild antelope,
Following our tour, the grandkids spent another 45 minutes in the petting zoo with axis, lamas, a red kangaroo, African pigmy goats, and more small animals that they could feed, pet, hold, and make friends with. They kept asking if they could take a couple home with them! And then we stopped at the small office for some souvenirs and ice cream.
Throughout the tour, our guide Donna gave us interesting facts and information about the animals, their habits and habitats, and more. It seemed like she knew most of them personally and had names for several of the animals, like: Gomar the one hump camel, Humphry the two hump camel, Snowman, Maggie, Sitting Bull, and Rusty the Buffalo. Some of the highlights from the tour included:
For a really unique adventure, why not spend the night with the animals in one of the Exotic Resort Zoo's unique cabins or the two story Elk Lodge. You can choose from cabins that are 2 bedroom, fully equipped, and sleep 4 to 6 with names like Kangaroo Pouch, Catfish Hole, Ostrich Nest, or Bears Den. Bring your binoculars and watch the animals from the pool!
Exotic Resort Zoo offers you a fun, informative, and unique tour and it's well worth the price of admission. Add Exotic Resort Zoo to your list of Hill Country things you need to do.