Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

fossil rim wildlife center drive through

Driving your car through a wildlife preserve in Glen Rose Texas, experiencing exotic animal sights and sounds, is a one-of-a-kind adventure. Fossil Rim Wildlife Center sits on 1,800 acres, which is plenty of grazing and roaming for the 1,100 animals, including 50-plus species, under their care. We loveĀ wildlife encounters, so this as a great opportunity for our family to create more memories together.

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

Driving Through the Wildlife Center

A variety of tours are offered at Fossil Rim. We chose the self-guided drive-through tour, which should take about two hours to complete. As the 7.2 miles of roads wind through beautiful scenery, we found ourselves excitedly anticipating what creatures we would encounter around the next bend.

fossil rim wildlife center drive
Shortly after passing the entrance, we encountered herds of small gazelles and other animals.
fossil rim wildlife center red deer
The European Red Deer resemble American elk. This little lady startled us by poking her head in so quickly.

We were given one bag of animal feed (one bag per car rule) to split among our family. We carefully rationed the number of pellets thrown at the different stops so it would last the whole journey.

fossil rim wildlife center fallow deer
This beautiful Fallow Deer was carefully watching us pass by.
fossil rim wildlife center waterbuck
Part of the waterbuck herd resting in the cool shade.

The animal identification guide we picked up earlier, helped us pinpoint the different animals we encountered. The guide gave a brief description of their species and Identified their origin.

fossil rim wildlife center axis deer
The gorgeous Axis deer.
fossil rim wildlife center pictures
Getting a great view of wildlife is a lot easier if your car has a sunroof.

The Overlook

At the halfway marker of our journey, we stopped at the Overlook. It’s the only place you’re allowed to get out of your car on the self-guided tour. They had a substantially sized gift shop, restrooms, a cafe, and the Children’s Animal Center. We took the opportunity to stretch our legs and explore.

Children’s Animal Center

The Children’s Animal Center is a free to the public learning center located at the Overlook. When you first enter the facility, you find yourself inside a large room with clean animal pens, several tables set with educational displays, and goats roaming around.

fossil rim wildlife center childrens animal center
The Children’s Animal Center provides education in the care of their animals.

Outside of the main room, you step into your standard “petting zoo” with various goats and sheep wandering freely to pet and brush.

fossil rim wildlife center petting area
The animal petting area is located outside of the Children’s center.

Some of the animals located inside the Children’s Animal Center are goats, sheep, cockatoos and macaws, pot-bellied pigs, emus, and tortoises. New animals are added all the time, so you never know what to expect.

fossil rim wildlife center emu
A curious emu approached us at the fence.

At the Overlook, just behind the Nature Store, is a long balcony overlooking the beautiful scenery of Fossil Rim. Taking time here to enjoy our surroundings added a different perspective to our 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.

Finishing the Drive Through

It was near the end of June when we visited, and those Texas summers are hot! By midday, most of the animals had taken shelter underneath the clusters of trees to escape the heat of the sizzling sun.

fossil rim wildlife center giraffes
The giraffes were seeking shelter under the cool shade of the trees.

We saw giraffes approaching some of the cars to hand feed while we were afar off. However, by the time we arrived at the giraffe area, they had retreated to the shade, far from the road.

fossil rim wildlife center in car
Everyone enjoyed taking pictures of wildlife!

If traveling during the hotter months, try to arrive early to have the best chance of a close encounter.

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.
fossil rim wildlife center zebras
Zebras walked directly to the car, waiting for their tossed food. We’ve been told not to hand feed zebras becuase they bite.

Some areas are only accessible on a guided tour because of the sensitive nature of the animals. These animals include Maned wolves, Black-footed cats, Gray wolves, Red wolves, Brown-Nosed Coati, Grevy’ Zebras, and Southern Black Rhinos. From our self-guided tour, we could see Rhinos off in the distance, which we identified as Southern White Rhinos.

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

Our family had a wonderful experience at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center and were pleased to know that all purchases made supported the future care of these animals. Fossil Rim is also an accredited member of numerous conservation organizations worldwide, working collaboratively to better ensure adequate numbers of genetically viable individuals within a given species. Learn more at


  • Purchase tickets online at least three days in advance if booking a private tour.
  • Self-guided drive through tickets are purchased at the admissions counter.
  • Take a car with a hatchback or truck bed to open up and have extra viewing.
  • Sunblock and bug spray is needed while visiting the Overlook.
  • Binoculars would be a fun addition.
  • Fossil Rim also offers overnight lodging! Sounds fun for our next visit.

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