Do you love up close and personal animal encounters? Have you ever wanted to visit an elephant sanctuary? Then let me tell you about The Preserve in Fredericksburg, TX!
My family was fortunate enough to visit The Preserve on a warm winter day this past January. We actually had tickets for last spring, but due to Covid, our visit was canceled. I want to start by first pointing out that the communication and gift card process during the shut downs were excellently handled. Then, when we decided to visit and redeem our gift card, it was the smoothest and quickest rebooking I have ever experienced! Right off the bat I was impressed before ever visiting. Detailed instructions were emailed to us with our confirmation and directions to the location were on point. We had no trouble finding The Preserve, even though it is pretty far out in the country. And then there’s the facility and the grounds. Everything is gorgeous, well kept, clean, and expertly organized. I promise you, you will be impressed and so glad to visit!
I really don’t know how I found out about The Preserve, I think I may have seen a post about this place on Pinterest. I am an avid animal lover and dream of owning my own animal sanctuary one day. So, of course I had to add this place to our travel bucket list. We had planned to road trip down to Fredericksburg in the spring and spend a day or two in the area, visit The Preserve and then head home. Of course, Covid threw a kink in those plans and the trip was put on hold. We had an upcoming school holiday, so I checked the weather forecast about a week before our day off and to my surprise, the weather was supposed to be unseasonably warm. I emailed The Preserve, and within about 30 minutes, we had our new date set.
Let me tell you a little about the experience. It was so amazing, I was literally brought to tears twice. So, to begin, groups were seated under a large tent (with several space heaters) around tables. We were all spread out at least 6 feet apart and masks were required. There are several employees that talk at different times throughout the 1.5 hour experience. We listened to some information about The Preserve, the back story and how the elephants came to be here. Then we all watched in complete awe as 4 Asian elephants began to head towards the tent, trunk to tail in a line. Cue the first set of tears I cried.
The elephants were introduced, all female, and they showed off a bit in their own unique way. After this, we all moved to a different nearby area to watch one of the elephants get a bath. The amazing part, we ALL got to help scrub her off with brushes and assist in her bath time. Besides the organization and how much we were learning about these magnificent animals, I really enjoyed the employee interactions with the guests. Each person offered to take photos of all the guests with the elephants and there was no limit to the amount of time we could spend with each one. After photos were taken, phones/cameras were placed at a sanitation station and we were able to sanitize our devices and hands throughout the entire experience. I want all of the family memories, so photographs are probably my most treasured material item, so this was a huge deal to me!
After bath time, we moved to another nearby area and learned about how the elephants are cared for. We specifically learned about their feet and how important this type of care is for elephants since they carry so much weight. We even got to touch the pads of one of their feet! From here, we moved back to the first larger tent to continue learning more about elephants. It was engaging and my boys never once said that they were bored or ready to go home. Finally, at the end we all got another turn to have employees take our pictures with all 4 of the elephants together.
Overall, without giving too much away in case you want to visit on your own, I will say that this has been one of my favorite family getaways of all time! I am a life-long learner, an animal lover, and adventure seeker. This hit all of those areas for me. But my favorite part about it was seeing the pure joy and excitement from my boys. They loved the experience and want to go back!
Our Weekend Itinerary
We live north of Dallas, so Fredericksburg is about 5 hours from us and we decided to just spend a short weekend away on this trip. We left early in the morning and headed straight to San Antonio. The weather was perfect! We arrived around lunch time and had some Mexican food on the River Walk and then went to The Alamo for a quick visit. From there, we drove about an hour to Fredericksburg and stayed at The Holiday Inn Express & Suites. It was immaculate and the kitchen staff made us omelets for breakfast. The pool area was the best and I hope to visit again in warmer weather since we were only able to enjoy the hot tub! While it was a quick trip, it was also unforgettable.
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