As I’ve mentioned before, one of the best things about living in Austin, is that it’s a great starting point for traveling to other parts of Texas, even if that means just a short drive down the dreaded I-35 corridor.
Over spring break, we took a trip to New Braunfels, TX. Founded in 1845 by German settlers, New Braunfels sits deep in the heart of the Texas Hill country and overflows with old world heritage and small town charm. From its numerous water activities, to museums and zoos, to craft breweries and wineries, to parks, live music and entertainment, New Braunfels is quickly becoming a top tourist destination in Texas.
Where we stayed…
Since we took this trip with Pepaw, that meant we glamped in the motorhome and since Lucas had been dying to go swimming, I chose the Hill Country Cottage and RV Resort primarily for its amenities, especially the heated pool!
Once Pepaw got the motorhome set-up, we dined that night on king crab legs, even picky eater Lucas! After dinner, Pepaw taught us how to gamble and play dominoes.
What we did…
Have you ever seen that shady looking, run-down of a dump snake farm and zoo on the side of I-35 just south of New Braunfels? Have you ever wanted to stop and check it out but were afraid to? Yep me too, but as the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover because that little snake farm and zoo is a real treat!
The Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo was established in 1967, as the Snake Farm, as a home to an extensive collection of snakes, reptiles and other exotic mammals. In 2007 it received new ownership and transitioned to Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo – a fully accredited zoological park that homes over 500 different species of animals. Over the past few years, original exhibits have been restored, renovated and rebuilt. The Zoo has implemented an interactive show schedule and unique outreach and education programs. One of their top priorities is to provide an intimate, up-close and personal experience through hands-on interactions, education and conservation based programs and interactive shows. In other words… you won’t be disappointed by its less than spectacular outer appearance!
You can’t make a trip out to New Braunfels without stopping in Gruene. Gruene was established in the mid 1840s by a German settler, Ernst Gruene. When Ernst and his family reached the newly established city of New Braunfels in 1845, acreage was scarce. Thus, Ernst and his two sons purchased land just down river, and Ernst built the first home in Gruene in early fachwerk style.
Gruene may lack actual square miles, but it makes up for its small size with character and charm. Its famous water tower is a beacon for miles around to all visitors coming to Historic Gruene. Nestled right along the Guadalupe River, you can eat, dance, float the river, antique shop all within the few blocks that make up this charming historic town nestled within New Braunfels.
After the zoo, we made our way to The Grapevine Winery for a tasting. The Grapevine features New World wines and one of the largest selections of Texas wines available. In other words, there is a wine for every palate.
After the winery, we went down to the river. Every year, thousands of visitors flock to the rivers to enjoy tubing in New Braunfels. The two pristine rivers, the Comal and the Guadalupe, converge right in New Braunfels, offering opportunities to tube, raft, swim, kayak and more!
The next day we headed out to Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, “ostrich feathers, zebra ears and buffalo noses so close to you, you could touch them.” And that is the truth! Just look at that nose!
The Ranch includes 450 acres of rolling hills, creek beds, and magnificent live oak trees where you can witness the behavior of over 500 animals from 40 exotic, native and endangered animal species worldwide right in the comfort of your vehicle. The Ranch also includes a grill to get lunch, petting zoo and walk-a-bout. Although Lucas was not quite as enthusiastic as I hoped he would be, the rest of us had a blast!
Our short trip to New Braunfels didn’t disappoint! For a smallish city there are adventures abound, above and below ground in this charming German town – make the trip with the whole family – you won’t be disappointed!