San Antonio, Texas

My husband, Alan, and I started our Texas Road trip from Houston and made our way southwest toward San Antonio to hit two favorite hotspots, the Riverwalk and The Alamo. We were pleasantly surprised to make a third stop north of San Antonio, Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, a scenic ranchland with over 500 animals roaming freely over 400 acres of land.

The trip from Houston to San Antonio was approximately 3 hours. Our first stop was The Alamo which sits centrally within the bustling city that houses it. As many may know The Alamo is considered to be the shrine of Texas liberty and remains hallowed ground, thus the battle cry that has echoed since 1836, “Remember the Alamo.” The battle began on February 23rd, 1836, when General Antonio Lopez of Santa Anna arrived with his army outside San Antonio. The opposing defenders, a group of Texians and Tejanos bravely defended the Alamo against Santa Anna’s army for 13 days. Among the team of defenders were Davy Crockett, former congressman and renowned frontiersman, and Jim Bowie, a famous knife-fighter. The battle of the Alamo has grown to symbolize a heroic struggle against the odds – where a great number of men ultimately sacrificed their lives for freedom.

Naturally, after we paid our respects at The Alamo, we walked across the street lined with waterfalls and riverboats to stroll the famed San Antonio Riverwalk. It’s a beautiful, comfortable walk, lined with a great number of boutiques, restaurant patios, and hotels. At Christmas the trees are draped with Christmas lights and the entire Riverwalk is festively lit in Christmas spirits.

About 35 minutes (28 miles) north of central San Antonio, sits Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. For over 100 years, this Family Land Heritage Property has been ranched within the same family. It is home to 45 species from every continent, except Antarctica, and acts as a Texan-style Safari drive-thru. The Wildlife Ranch does offer bags of food to feed the animals, where “feeding” often meant throwing food on the ground for the animals to eat. Being the slight rebels we are, we fed some of them by hand, simply by holding our hand flat with the grassy pellets in our palms. It was advised not to feed the Zebras by hand as their teeth and jaws could take a finger. After a zebra wedged his entire head into the car and grabbed the bag of food between my knees, we noted that the cautionary rules were well-founded. Touché! Zebra: 1…Melissa: 0. The zebras and ostriches were considerably the most aggressive in getting their food; and while the ostriches posed a smaller threat of being bitten, don’t let those lashy, big-eyed birds fool you – their necks and legs are remarkably strong. If you’re at all jittery around animals, I recommend throwing the pellets on the ground for feeding.

We were told (natural) births among the animals were common, and kept a lookout, but to no avail. The drive-thru offered a great opportunity to view animals in a natural environment, as well as observe natural behavior. Some of the animals that we viewed up-close (and personal) or afar included American Bison, African Kudu, Spanish Longhorns, African Watusu, African Waterbuck, Gemsbok, Wildebeest, Ostriches, South American Rheas, Impalas, Giraffes, Gazelles, Arabian Oryx, Damaraland Zebra, Bactrian Camels, African Addax, and White Rhinos. The Wildlife Ranch also has a great number of group tours and educational resources available about the animals they house, about each species, and about various conservation efforts. Happy reading!

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For more information about The Alamothe Riverwalk, and Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch.

Cheers!

NOTE: All blog posts, articles, and photographs are the intellectual and creative property of Melissa J. Koziol. Thank you for reading!

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