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Summer Guide 2012

Daytrippin': The Snake Farm

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Thanks to the magical combination of severe insomnia and Animal Planet programming, I finally discovered the greatness of Steve Irwin. For years, I dismissed him as the parody comedians and sketch shows portrayed him to be. Now, way after his demise, I watch his show with absolute awe. It's incredibly poetic knowing how he eventually "bites it" by stingray. Every episode becomes a massive foreshadowing of what's to come later. Kind of like the Titanic, but the large carnivorous beast isn't actually Kate Winslet.

Watching The Crocodile Hunter genuinely makes me want to better my understanding of nature, but what can I do? I don't live in Australia, I hate hiking, and my legs are far too pale to wear such revealing shorts. The Animal World and Snake Farm in New Braunfels may just be the answer. If you've ever made a drunken adventure to Austin, you know this place. It's that weird-looking whitewashed building between exit 182 and 183 that, by urban legend accounts, may or may not have once been a front for hookers.

The first thing that hits you is the pungent smell. Yes, nature smells terrible. (This may help explain hippies as well.) Just deal with it. Here are hundreds of snakes from all over the world filling cages with their slithering and general snakedom. It's especially good if you bring a squeamish friend. The staff there are engaging and sure to encourage much interaction.

Aside from the snakes, there is a wide variety of life in all shapes and sizes: tarantulas, scorpions, geckos, a petting zoo filled with goats, pigs, and pellet-sized feces. There are monkeys, alligators, even mountain lion cubs. It's like Noah's ark, but with a gift shop.The employees are friendly and informative and, depending on your tolerance of terrible smells, you can get through the place within anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple of hours. Personally, I'd make it a point to see the alligators fed 20 pounds of chicken.

A special note to the PETA crowd — don't. You will be overwhelmed with sadness and inevitably insist on shutting the place down, which may be warranted. Is it animal cruelty? I don't know. Do tarantulas have a sense of smell?

Price of Trip

$9.50 Gas
$9.75 Adult admission (Children 3-12 $6.75, 2 and under free)

TOTAL: $35.75
(Bring a friend and her kid)


What to pack

Snake bite kit


Miles round trip: 50


Threat Level: 5

Handling a giant boa can't be the safest way to spend a Saturday, unless you are a Parseltongue in the Harry Potter universe.

The Summer Issue 2012
  • Daytrippin': Luling Luling, known to many in San Antonio as that spot off I-10 where Buc-ee's makes an appearance, defies most conventions of a tourist town. There's plenty of free parking... | 6/20/2012
  • Daytrippin': The Upper Guadalupe Tubing, Lone Star beer, bad tattoos, sunburns, chicken fried steak at the Gristmill … it's a central Texas tradition. But it's good to remember the Guadalupe doesn't... | 6/20/2012
  • Daytrippin': The Comal River After securing your tube from one of the nearby vendors (we chose Rockin' R River Rides, 1405 Gruene, just outside historic New Braunfels), it takes about 20 minutes... | 6/20/2012
  • Daytrippin': Corpus Christi Summer has arrived, and no my friends, she is not friendly. Her seasonal fever can suck you dry as you drag your way through desolate parking lots and... | 6/20/2012
  • Daytrippin': Enchanted Rock and Fredericksburg I live in a German town, so the idea of vacationing to a place like Fredericksburg, which sells itself with Biergartens and chocolate shops, doesn't really appeal to the... | 6/20/2012
  • Daytrippin': The Snake Farm Thanks to the magical combination of severe insomnia and Animal Planet programming, I finally discovered the greatness of Steve Irwin. For years, I dismissed him as the parody... | 6/20/2012
  • Buggy summer Many news outlets have reported that this summer would be one of San Antonio's buggiest. This is a myth. While various insects are crawling (and flying) around the... | 6/20/2012
  • Pickup basketball After spending ungodly hours watching the NBA this playoff season, it's time to get off your ass, lace up your sneakers, and get on the court. But don't settle for... | 6/20/2012
  • How to survive the summer: bunkering lessons for locals Why we haven't figured out yet that even with air-conditioned rooms and air-conditioned cars it's just plain whacked to get up with the sun and stay awake through the heat of... | 6/20/2012
  • Plastic Beach Photography and fashion styling by Bryan Rindfuss. Visual Art by Erin Curtis | 6/20/2012
  • Bus or bust Yes, "Everything's bigger in Texas." I get it. The sheer size of this state is daunting to a bleary-eyed driver. We may long for cheap, fast commuter rail linking Texas... | 6/20/2012
  • Summer camp roundup CCamp Disney gives children ages 5-18 the chance to perform songs from some of Disney's popular musicals including Alice in Wonderland, The Little Mermaid... | 6/20/2012
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