A gazelle grazes in the distance. A water buffalo wades in a nearby lake. And, a zeal of zebras gets so close, you can touch them. Surprisingly, however, you aren’t exploring the grasslands of the Serengeti or the wilds of South Africa’s Kruger National Park. You’re in Johnson City, Texas at the wild and family-friendly Exotic Resort Zoo. 

Home to more than 80 different species, this one-of-a-kind resort preserves a healthy habitat for hundreds of animals and a wildly affordable experience without having to leave the Hill Country of Texas.

The Zoo Tours - the resort’s premier attraction - offer a chance to get up-close-and-personal with the likes of camels, bison, and more. For as little as $10.95 per child and $12.95 per adult, hop on one of the resort’s expertly guided trains, learn about your favorite creatures, and safari for one hour on more than 130 lush, wooded acres where the animals get so close to your vehicle, you can feed them.  

Even more hands on is the resort’s petting zoo. Purchase a bucket of feed from the onsite gift shop and let baby elk, llamas, and even kangaroos eat from your hand. But, make sure to feed with care; more than half of the animals you experience at the resort were once listed as endangered species.  

However, just because the resort is home to more than 500 animals, that doesn’t mean you have to live like one. The resort boasts fantastic amenities like two swimming pools, a hot tub, a playscape for the kids, barbeque pits, and five stunning cabin accommodations located in the center of the preserve that will leave you relaxed and ready for another day of animal adventures. 

Starting at $130 per night, reserve the Bears Den for aromatic cedar interiors, cathedral ceilings, and close proximity to one of the pools and its rocky waterfall. Or, live like a king of the jungle in the two-story Elk Lodge featuring a full kitchen and double balconies with panoramic park vistas for only $200 per night. Best of all, the cabin balconies sport fantastic views of the animals themselves, giving you the feeling of being on safari 24 hours a day. 

And, don’t worry if you start to feel a little wild after your stay - you are at Texas’ most “Exotic” resort, after all!

The Exotic Resort Zoo

Johnson City, Texas

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Lodging in or near Johnson City