Four miles north of Johnson City Texas, the Exotic Resort Zoo is a fun place to stop for a couple hours. Sitting on nearly 140 acres of land, the park allows close contact with several kinds of animals as you ride though the many open-space enclosures.
Unlike some animal parks, like the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch outside San Antonio, you don’t drive your car through this one. The park offers guided tours in a tractor-pulled tram that can hold a couple dozen people. The tour takes you through the whole park with frequent stops to allow you to feed the animals.
The animals you see up close include several kinds of large birds (ostriches, emus, etc.), goats, deer, and other horned animals, different kinds of cattle, buffalo, camels, llamas, kangaroos, zebras, etc.
We especially enjoyed the camels. We had never been up close to a camel and found them to be funny. They stick their big smiling face in the tram when you stop and when you hand feed them their bristly lips tickle your hand.
The only animals they tell you not to try to hand feed are the zebras (who can bite) and the big birds since they have a rather violent way of eating, pecking like crazy and scattering the food pellets all over the place. It’s worth it though to see a big bird face up close.
The buffalo and cattle stick their huge tongues out trying to get the food.
When the ride is over, there is also a large petting zoo with goats, sheep, deer and other animals including many baby animals.
At the time of this writing, the tickets for the tour cost $13.95 for adults and $11.95 for children ages 2-12, but there is a printable coupon on their website offering a 15% discount. Be sure to buy the bucket of food pellets ($6) so you can attract the animals close to you and feed and pet them from the tram. The petting zoo is included in the price of the tour.
For more information on the Exotic Resort Zoo, click here
All images copyright © 2014 Eric T. Christensen