Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo
New Braunfels, Texas
No road trip is complete without posing under a big "Snake Farm" sign.
This place between San Marcos and San Antonio has been a Texas tourist stop since 1967. When we first visited in the 1980s the reptile exhibits were meticulously identified with feeding data and fun facts, printed with a label-gun and stuck on the facing glass of each vivarium. There was a heart rate machine back by the snake pit, but when we checked on it years later, according to the owner, "a guy came out the other day and said that the read-out told him he was dead!" So the machine has been retired.
The Snake Farm was always famous for its bright yellow sign, immortalized on its bright yellow bumper stickers. We noted in our early visits that the souvenir shelves were well-stocked with everything from t-shirts to pewter armadillos. On a later stop it looked mostly depleted.
Outdoors, behind the souvenir shop and snake displays, are the penned mammal exhibits. These also change over time; there have been monkeys, an ape, a buffalo, a prairie dog town. Currently the attraction offers alligator and crocodile feeding shows.
The Snake Farm was purchased by Eric Trager, a medical doctor, who oversaw its expansion into Animal World, a fully accredited zoo, in 2012. The attraction, along with a beefed up admission price, now has over 500 animals, many of them rescues, and stresses conservation and education. It got rid of the big yellow sign and replaced it with a big white sign. But it still has lots and lots of snakes.