Fossil Rim Wildlife Center: Wild Adventures Await

fossil rim wildlife center drive through

If you’re looking for unique things to do near Dallas, Texas, a visit to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose should be at the top of your list. It’s just a scenic two-hour drive from Dallas, making it the perfect day trip for families and wildlife enthusiasts alike.

fossil rim wildlife center fallow deer
This beautiful Fallow Deer was carefully watching us pass by.

Experience the Adventure

At Fossil Rim, you have the chance to embark on a variety of tours, but we highly recommend the self-guided drive-through tour. Picture this: you, your family, and the open road, surrounded by breathtaking scenery, and the excitement of encountering exotic creatures around every bend. It’s a two-hour adventure like no other.

fossil rim wildlife center pictures
Having a sunroof in your car is like having a built-in wildlife viewing platform, allowing you to enjoy a 360-degree panorama of the animals at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.

Feed the Wildlife

Upon arrival, you’ll receive a bag of animal feed (remember, one bag per car). It’s a precious resource you’ll want to ration carefully as you stop at different locations along the route.

fossil rim wildlife center red deer
The European Red Deer resembles American elk. This little lady startled us by poking her head in so quickly.

Your trusty animal identification guide will come in handy, helping you identify the various species and learn about their origins.

fossil rim wildlife center entrance
We picked up a helpful animal guide at the ticket office before entering the park.

A Glimpse into Fossil Rim’s Past

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, nestled in the heart of Glen Rose, Texas, boasts a rich history that dates back to its founding in 1984. Initially conceived as a private wildlife refuge, Fossil Rim has since evolved into a globally recognized center for conservation and education.

fossil rim wildlife center aoudad
This Aoudad seemed like an old soul. Between breaks to eat, he stood staring at us for a long while.

At its core, Fossil Rim has always been dedicated to the preservation of endangered species and the promotion of scientific research. Over the years, it has partnered with various organizations and institutions to advance these goals, solidifying its reputation as a leader in wildlife conservation.

fossil rim wildlife center zebras
The zebras at Fossil Rim are a captivating sight with their distinctive black and white stripes, adding a unique charm to the wildlife landscape. It reminded us of a previous warning we received at The Amish farm in Walnut Grove about the importance of not hand-feeding zebras because they bite.

Explore the Overlook

Halfway through your journey, you’ll reach the Overlook, the only spot where you can exit your car during the self-guided tour. Here, you’ll find a well-stocked gift shop, restrooms, a cafe, and the Children’s Animal Center. Take a moment to stretch your legs and explore this fascinating learning center, which is open to the public.

The Children’s Animal Center

Inside the Children’s Animal Center, you’ll encounter an array of friendly creatures, from goats and sheep to cockatoos and macaws, pot-bellied pigs, emus, and tortoises. The lineup of animals can change, so there’s always something new to discover. It’s a great place for kids and adults alike to get up close and personal with some of Fossil Rim’s residents.

fossil rim wildlife center childrens animal center
Inside the Children’s Animal Center, you’ll find clean, well-kept animal pens and educational stations, where you can get up close to the animals and learn about their unique behaviors and characteristics.
fossil rim wildlife center petting area
In the hands-on animal petting area of the Children’s Animal Center, kids and adults alike can interact with friendly animals, fostering a memorable and interactive learning experience.
fossil rim wildlife center emu
Inside the Children’s Animal Center, the emu stands tall, its curious and quirky nature making it a delightful addition to the diverse animal cast, bringing smiles to visitors of all ages.

Scenic Overlook Balcony

Don’t forget to step out onto the long balcony just behind the Nature Store at the Overlook. From here, you’ll have a stunning view of Fossil Rim’s beautiful landscape, offering a unique perspective on your visit.

fossil rim wildlife center viewing platform bros
A viewing platform is outside of the gift shop and restaurant. Our older boys are waiting to prank the youngest as he uses the tower viewer.

Beat the Heat

Texas summers can get scorching, and the animals know it. By midday, most of them seek refuge in the shade of the trees. If you want a close encounter with the giraffes, one of the highlights of the tour, try to arrive early to catch them before they retreat from the sun.

fossil rim wildlife center giraffes
Unfortunately, as we approached the giraffe area, these gentle giants had retreated far from the road, seeking solace from the relentless Texas summer heat under the shelter of distant trees. This made for a memorable, if somewhat distant, encounter with these magnificent creatures.

Exclusive Guided Tours

While the self-guided tour offers an incredible experience, some areas are only accessible on guided tours due to the sensitive nature of certain animals. These include Maned wolves, Black-footed cats, Gray wolves, Red wolves, Brown-Nosed Coati, Grevy’s Zebras, and Southern Black Rhinos. Even from the self-guided tour, you can catch a glimpse of the Southern White Rhinos in the distance.

fossil rim wildlife center rhino
On this hot day, the Southern White Rhinos were lazily resting in the shade.

A Conservation Commitment

At the heart of Fossil Rim is a commitment to the welfare and conservation of these remarkable animals. Every purchase you make during your visit goes toward supporting their care and well-being. Fossil Rim is also proud to be an accredited member of numerous conservation organizations worldwide, working tirelessly to ensure the survival of endangered species.

fossil rim wildlife center waterbuck
The waterbuck herd at Fossil Rim created a serene tableau as they rested in the cooling shade near the watering holes, providing a peaceful and captivating glimpse of nature’s harmony.

Tips for a great visit to Fossil Rim Wild Life Center :

  • If you would like to book a private tour, you need to purchase tickets online at least three days in advance.
  • Take a car with a hatchback, a sunroof, or a truck bed to open up and have extra viewing.
  • Sunblock and bug spray are needed while visiting the Overlook.
  • Binoculars would be a good addition for those animals who are a little camera-shy.
  • Fossil Rim also offers overnight lodging! Sounds fun for our next visit.
fossil rim wildlife center axis deer
The Axis deer, with their striking spotted coats, added a touch of elegance to our Fossil Rim adventure, as they gracefully roamed the landscape, embodying the beauty of Texas wildlife.

In conclusion, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas, offers a captivating and educational adventure that’s just a short drive away from Dallas. Whether you’re a family looking for a fun day out or a nature lover seeking a unique experience, Fossil Rim has something special to offer. Come for the wildlife, stay for the conservation, and leave with unforgettable memories of your journey through this remarkable sanctuary.

About our
rating of Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
While our visit to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center was truly enjoyable, it's worth noting that some of the star attractions we hoped to get up close to, such as the giraffes and big cats, remained elusive, either staying hidden or seeking shelter from the day's heat in areas too far from the road. Nonetheless, the overall experience was filled with captivating moments and a deep connection to God's creation.