Glen Rose, Texas
In February 2019, my dad and I loaded up the car and made our way up to Glen Rose, Texas to visit the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. This unique 1800 acre animal refuge had been on my dad’s list of places to go for several years now (if not like ten years), and we were searching for a father-daughter overnight trip. Finally the time had come to visit good old Glen Rose. We arrived around dusk and drove up a long, dark road where Google maps eventually led us to a wrought-iron gate. We had no idea if we had even reached the correct place, but the gate code on our reservation email worked so we went with it! Turns out we were in the correct facility. Darkness enveloped us as we drove up a twisty gravel road, the car headlights being our only source of light. Suddenly we approached a stone-walled lodge house perched on top of a hill, it’s warm light welcoming us in. We checked in and the friendly employee at the desk directed us towards our cabin for the night, as well as towards town for some dinner.
We decided to meander into “downtown” Glen Rose for dinner. A quaint town filled with old-timey buildings, it was not too busy this time of year (a weeknight on a cold February Tuesday). We found an Italian restaurant, La Vita Italian, for dinner. There were only two other people in the restaurant, but the service was great and the food was hot! We ordered some garlic-sauteed broccoli, garlic rolls, and good old spaghetti and meatballs. The food was fresh, and paired with the small-town feel of the place it was a lovely find. After dinner we drove back into the dark to our cabin, The Rhino cabin. It totaled about 10 feet long by 10 feet wide, with a screen door and a tarp ceiling. Needless to say, we fell asleep very quickly because it was so dark and quiet! Occasionally wolves howled into the night, which was very neat.
The next morning we were able to better see our surroundings. The new day revealed vast stretches of grassy land surrounding the cabins. A small pond nestled in the middle of a valley and deer could be seen prancing across the field. Although it was a misty day, the scenery was gorgeous. The lodge provided a home-cooked breakfast of potatoes, sausage, pancakes, and eggs before we boarded the open-air safari bus for our wildness tour. We took a four-hour behind the scenes tour that went through the Jim Jackson Intensive Management Area. This area is where the most susceptible species are housed and is only available to a limited number of visitors in order to protect the animals. We were able to see southern white rhinos, black-footed cats, Mexican gray wolves, maned wolves, cheetahs, and Attwater’s prairie chicken. Our tour guide was very knowledgable and passionate about all fo the animals. My favorite from this area was probably the black-footed cat..it was as small as a house cat with beautiful black and orange coloring similar to both a tiger and a cheetah. What was amazing was how much space all of the animals, in both the drive through park and the intensive management area, had to roam around freely.
After seeing the more endangered animals, our tour bus took us throughout the rest of the park. With 1800 acres and 1100 free-roaming animals, we saw lots! Our favorite was the giraffes. As our bus drove down the dirt road towards them, the giant creatures sauntered up to us and poked their heads through the open sides of the vehicle. For a solid 25 minutes, giraffes ranging from seven to 13 feet tall walked up to us and we were able to pet, feed, and take pictures with them. They were so friendly and outgoing. Another interesting animal we saw but were not permitted to touch was the Gemsbok oryx. This animal has long, spear-like horns that our tour guide informed us were capable of killing lions back in the wild. Guests used to be able to feed the gemsbok but the animals got a little too friendly and with horns that can kill, it was best for the guests to stay a safe distance away!
We also saw several addax antelope, axis deer, blackbucks, American bison, aoudad sheep, wildebeest, Arabian oryx, fallow deer, European red deer, emus, ostriches, sable antelope, and Hartmann’s mountain zebra.
After riding outside for 4.5 hours on the open air bus, we were a little chilled so we stopped for lunch at the Overlook Cafe. The food was average but we had a gorgeous panoramic view of the property. Even through the mist we were able to see animals crossing roads and the rolling hills. We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Dinosaur Valley State Park before making our way back home. I had a great time with my dad and am thankful for this special trip!
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center 2299 Co Rd 2008, Glen Rose, TX 76043