The wildlife center's mission is preservation of native and exotic species in peril, including Texas' endangered Attwater's Prairie Chicken.
A visitor on a guided tour feeds an addax.
But the center is open to visitors for driving tours, one of the ways the mission is publicized and financed. Although the animals are wild, many are acclimated to accept food, and visitors may hand-feed or toss food (sold at the entrance).
Three species of zebras live at Fossil Rim.
I don't recommend feeding zebras by hand, although the scrapes on mine healed without incident.
Ostrich are another species known for aggressive table manners.
The aodad's horns look fierce but the horizontal pupils in this mountain sheep's russet-colored eyes make you want to stare into them.
A herd of giraffes sometimes hangs out in view of the Oasis diner, the (fenced-in) lunch and bathroom facility located about mid-way through the 9.5 mile scenic drive.
When you roll down your window and a giraffe approaches, he stops about a bedroom's length away from the car, because that's how long his neck is.
You hold out your hand and his head begins a slow descent, giving you time to realize just how big it is, how many teeth he has and how strong a bite it must take to eat leaves and shoots from trees. Then he brushes your palm with soft whiskery lips, inhaling the kibble in a tickle.
Folks who want to wake up with the wildlife may reserve a tent in a safari-like encampment (fenced in). The tents are actually more like tiny cabins, with AC, heat and private bathrooms complete with hot and cold running water, shower and flush toilet.
For rustic luxury, the original ranch house is a B&B with more traditional accommodations.
Advance reservations suggested for both.
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
Park address: 2299 County Road 2008, Glen Rose, Texas 76043
Safari camp, Lodge address: 3002 County Road 2010, Glen Rose, Texas 76043
Take your sweetheart, kids or grandkids...and enjoy a little Africa in Texas.
Copyright 2009-2015 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.