Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Glen Rose

The small town of Glen Rose is where Texas reaches up out of the flat prairie of Fort Worth and greets its guest with scenic vistas and rocky canyons the Brazos River has cut through the ancient limestone.  It’s home to Fossil Rim Wildlife Park, where exotic hoofstock such as giraffes, zebras, and wildebeest roam across the stunning terrain of mesquite and juniper.
A drive-through animal safari,  Fossil Rim has over 50 different animals from Texas and around the world that visitors can view from their car, or on one of the guided tours.  Most of the animals along the route will come running for a treat from the feed bags you can purchase at the front gate.  There’s also a Children’s Nature Center, Cafe and Gift Store.  They also offer special events such as story time, photography workshops, camps and group events!  You can even extend your stay in one of Fossil Rim’s lodging options!

Our family has been visiting Fossil Rim since my children were infants, and we’ve acquired plenty of Mommy Tips through the years.


Fossil Rim October, 2015

Know Before You Go 

Fill’er up in Glen Rose, surrounded by wild animals is no place to run out of gas!

Outside food and drinks are allowed.  We always take an ice chest with water, even if we intend to eat at the Overlook Cafe.

The animals are more active earlier in the day, so try to arrive early, if possible.

Plan to stay about 3-4 hours, longer if you are stopping to eat lunch.

Encourage everyone to use the restroom at the front gate, before you leave on your tour.

The Admissions Gate, Cafe and Gift Shop all accept credit cards.

Receive a 50% off admission with a Dallas Zoo or other AZA Membership.

Receive 2 days for 1 if you hold your receipt and come back the next day before 10am.

Pets are not allowed.

Although the animals will come right up to your car, pack a pair of binoculars to see other animals.  The kids will love using them!


For a self-guided tour, you’ll being at the Front Gate.  Inside you can stretch your legs, use the restroom, read about some of the activities at Fossil Rim, shop, purchase your tickets and a bag of food.


Fossil Rim’s American Bison herd can also be seen from the front gate.  You can get close enough to take a picture, but you are not allowed to feed them.

There is also a shaded picnic area here, around a small turtle pond.  It’s a nice place to stop before you begin your tour.  The tour is a big loop which also exits here, so you can stop to stretch your legs before you leave.



On The Tour

Once you begin the tour, you can’t go back so take your time to see everything!  Pull to the side to allow less patient cars to pass you.

You’ll be given a color identification chart of all the animals at Fossil Rim, and my kids love to mark off each animal as we spot them!  Bring a pen!

Conserve your animal food!  That first Fallow Deer you meet will be happy to eat the entire bag, but there are plenty of hungry animals along the way, and it makes for a short drive if you can’t feed them all.


The prize for friendliest goes to the abundant Fallow Deer, who will follow you for a treat!  This big buck must be the independent type, as he ignored our offers and chose instead to knock acorns out of the tree with his antlers!  You just never know what you might see unless you go!



These “dino-birds” need love, or at least food, too.  They will happily run up to your car, but their long necks are quick to dart inside lowered windows, so we always keep them rolled up when they are nearby!  When the kids were small, we had one reach inside the car and grab our entire bag of animal food, and run off with it!  We watched as it pranced away, only to be chased by the other ostrich!  It’s one of our favorite Fossil Rim memories!



The highlight of the trip for us is seeing the giraffes, which will often include a new baby!  Often the giraffes are out in the pasture, and will come right up to your car!  During times of inclement weather, the giraffes are put up in their pen, but can still be seen from the road.



I love the zebras, which are always hungry, but watch out for their teeth!



Fossil Rim has a prolific Cheetah breeding program, with 2 new cubs being born on Christmas, 2014!  While you can’t get out and feed them, you can see them from the safety of your car!



Another animals that can only be viewed from your car is the Rhino, but considering how BIG these guys are, I’m okay with that!

CIMG0101 The views are amazing!



Native Texas Animals

In addition to exotic animals from Africa and Asia, you can also see plenty of home-folk, such as white-tail deer, wild turkeys and big jackrabbits!  This buck was more than happy to come right up to the car and get a bite to eat!

The Overlook

Half-way through your tour, you will come up to The Overlook, which houses the Overlook Cafe, Nature Store and Children’s Nature Center!  Park your car and stretch your legs!

The Overlook Cafe serves concession stand food, and there are shaded picnic tables for lunch.


October, 2015

Children’s Nature Center

The Children’s Nature Center allows you to get VERY up close with some of Fossil Rim’s residents, the goats!


Nature Store

Buy Fossil Rim souvenirs at the new Nature Store!

Guided Tours

Fossil Rim offers several different tours for the entire family!  We’ve done the family tour several times, and it’s a great way to learn SO much more about Fossil Rim and it’s animals, as well as hear some great stories!

Tours should be booked at least 3 days in advance.

For a list of all tours, click HERE.


Fossil Rim offers several different options for lodging, including a nice “hotel” type room at The Lodge, African-safari style tents for 2, and rustic bunkhouse type cabins that sleep from 5 to 13.  We’ve done the WolfRidge Bunkhouse cabins twice now, and loved it both times.  Once was a Girl Scout event, and we added the Morning Safari Guided Tour to it!  We stayed again just as a family, when I waited too long to reserve a camping spot at Dinosaur Valley State Park, and we didn’t even tour Fossil Rim that time!

Family Programs

There is much more to Fossil Rim than just animals!  Fossil Rim gets it’s name from the abundant fossil found here, from when North Texas was covered in a shallow sea!  The Fossil Dig and Hike is just one of the Family Programs offered. For a complete list, click HERE.

More To Do in Glen Rose


Dinosaur World is a terrific place for your little paleontologist!  Life-sized dinosaurs inhabit the forest of Dinosaur World, which you can view from a mile long walking path, but that’s just the beginning of all the fun.  Click HERE for more information about Dinosaur World!

Canoe or Tube the Brazos River!  Canoe and tube rentals, as well as shuttles to the river, are available from Low Water Canoe Rentals,  1034 N FM 199, Glen Rose, TX 76043 Phone:(254) 897-3666


Storiebook Cafe has a great kids play area, good food and walls covered in books!  Click HERE to visit their facebook page.


Dinosaur Valley State Park draws visitors from all over the state, and beyond, to see the real dinosaurs tracks that line the Paluxy River!  The park also offers camping, hiking and much more!  Click HERE to read more!

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

2299 County Road 2008, Glen Rose

Click HERE to visit their website.   

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