Best Outing With the Kids (2003)
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
Instead of a party, our young son asked to visit Fossil Rim Wildlife Center on his birthday for the second year in a row. He never tires of tooling along the 10-mile safari course, poking his head out the car window and tossing handfuls of kibbles to zebras, wildebeests, gazelles, aoudads and the many other varieties of exotic animals in the savannah-like environs. You'll view some 50 species, from giraffes (keep that moon roof shut, unless you want a visit from a giant, slimy black giraffe tongue) to the gorgeous fallow deer, which look like creatures from a children's fantasy book. Halfway through is a large, well-stocked gift shop, a petting zoo and a restaurant on a cliff that serves outstanding hamburgers as well as gourmet salads and sandwiches. Your children will appreciate that the animals are healthy, happy and free to roam, yet numerous enough (1,000-plus critters) to see up close. At the end of the safari course, cheetahs and black rhinoceroses are on display in spacious pens. Guided tours are also available. For most Dallas-area residents, it's a trip of about 90 minutes to Fossil Rim, which is southwest on state Highway 67 near Glen Rose. Count on spending some three hours at the park if you stop for a snack.