Last year around this time, Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch in New Braunfels celebrated the birth of twin reticulated giraffes, the first successful twins in the United States. The park named the giraffes Nakato and Wasswa, and they’re still thriving, and growing, and revealing their personalities as the ranch itself celebrates its 30th anniversary this spring.
The ranch, which has been in the same family for more than a century, now spreads across nearly 400 acres and serves as home to more than 40 exotic, native, and endangered animal species, including Southern white rhinos, North American buffalo, and many zebras, emus, gazelles, and antelope.
There’s a petting zoo and a cool rhino house here, along with a restaurant and large enclosures where you can watch endangered lemurs scamper, but the big draw is the six-mile drive through the ranch. Especially in the spring, when baby animals abound, it’s great fun to drive through the ranch watching the animals’ antics and feeding them. (Budget about two hours for the drive, and watch out for the rather assertive ostriches, which have never learned proper table manners.) New this year: a 50-acre expansion where the ranch’s herd of giraffes (known as a tower) roam freely among other hooved animals such as impala, zebu, and sable antelopes; this is the first time in the ranch’s 30-year history that visitors can feed the giraffes from their cars.
And a little bird told us that on May 10, the ranch is hosting a birthday party for Nakato and Wasswa. See www.wildliferanchtexas.com.