The San Antonio Zoo and Aquarium has more than 3,500 animals in a variety of realistically themed exhibits. A family membership gives two adults and their kids or grandkids unlimited, express member entry to the zoo for 365 successive days. Tour the African plains and visit the ostriches, antelopes, and baby-lugging Marabou storks as they gather around the water hole to demonstrate the newest Kindle, or brave the tropical mysteries of Amazonia in search of an anteater, macaws, and the giant Andean condor. Membership also includes discounts on programs, special events, gift-shop and concession-stand goodies, and free or discounted access to a lengthy list of zoos and aquariums across the country.
In the pens at Fiesta Farm, light scattered by the branches of tall trees warms a menagerie of mild-mannered pets. Youngsters cautiously reach out to touch the wooly ears of a llama or venture into the enclosure to laugh at the guttural babble of potbellied pigs. On the 15-acre ranch, Laredo, a bay-quarter horse, waits patiently to nuzzle guests or provide rides, and bunnies, an emu, and sheep compete for attention across the wooded landscape. Before and after visits, a shaded picnic area hosts pleasantly exhausted visitors, and the farm's barn is equipped with fans and heaters for the comfort of guests and to keep prima-donna billy goats from freezing their perms off in the wintertime.
Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium boasts three floors of interactive exhibits featuring rare and bizarre artifacts inspired by the oddball collection of worldwide explorer Robert Ripley. Get a glimpse into the world of weird with astonishing and outlandish displays including a piece of the Berlin Wall, the world's largest tire, replicas of prehistoric beasts, Lee Harvey Oswald's car, and iconic items of American and world history. The museum is open seven American standard days a week.
More than 500 exotic animals prowl, scamper, and crawl through their expansively recreated habitats at Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo. In the venomous-snake enclosure, the eyes and scaled hood of the monocled cobra hypnotize visitors, and a bright green temple viper camouflages itself among jade vegetation. Guests quake with curiosity as they watch the slithering reptiles' jaws clamp down on prey during feedings, or enjoy seeing bigger beasts getting their fill at the alligator and crocodile ponds. Patrons can interact with cuddlier critters at the petting zoo, where dozens of fluffy goats, alpacas, and llamas gather to tie-dye their coats. Elsewhere, cackles of hyenas reverberate throughout the grounds, spurring a pack of wolves to emit a more introspective sound by baying at the moon. Wizened tortoises bask in a field of lettuce and racing trophies as a duo of ring-tailed lemurs relax in their tire swing.
Every evening from March to September, just before sunset, as many as 12 million Mexican free-tailed bats erupt from Frio Cave in search of dinner. The bat colony is the second largest in the world and the largest that's open to the public. Tour guides lead a caravan of visitors driving their own cars two miles from the ranch gates to Frio Cave, then guests are taken to the top of a hill to witness the winged spectacle. With the sun low in the sky and the bat signal shining, the cloud of bats bursts forth alongside cave swallows and rock wrens, seeking insects to eat while evading birds of prey such as kestrels and peregrine falcons. After spending the spring and summer mating in Frio Cave, the bats resume their migration to Mexico and the college students return to their dorms.