Johnson City Exotic Zoo Resort
Johnson City, TX
An hour outside of Austin, the Exotic Zoo Resort is an easy attraction that the kids love EVERY SINGLE time. Give yourself an hour to drive through the resort, and budget $20 or so to buy animal pellets that everyone can feed out of the car windows. Be warned: I’ve found pellets in my car for weeks afterwards, not to mention the slobber - keep the feeding outside the car when making this visit at the beginning of a road trip! They take Covid precautions seriously and it’s a very low contact, high fun attraction.
UPDATE: We've been back to the zoo since our initial visit and I will say, the winter is much less crowded (or maybe the initial wave of excitement has worn off?) but in any case, we drove out near sunset and were among just a few other visitors. The animals were more interested in the food, which was great, but also made for a little too much hoof action to my car doors. You waive any damages when you sign in, which makes total sense on their part, but if you are particularly sensitive about your vehicle, be aware this is not contactless. All in all, we will go back for sure!
PROS: squealing, happy kids!
CONS: possible vehicle damage, crumbs and dust from food inside the car