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All reviewspetting zoofeed the animalsexotic animalsplayground areaexotic resortducks and geeseperson stayinghand feedswimming poolsafari toursized bedfire pitliving roomcabintrailerelkdirectv
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Reviewed 28 October 2013

We come out to the exotic zoo resort every new years eve. We try to rent all the cabins out. Great place to have fun and not worry about driving. Bon Fire at night is awesome. Kids have fun durig the day and adults have fun at night around the camp fire. It's been a tradition of ours for 4 years now. This year should be just as fun. This place is a rustic camping environment place. If you want egyption cotten sheets then this may not be the place for you.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank KimmieEidson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 October 2013

I reviewed this place a few years ago and probably would not have written a new review, except that I see a previous reviewer gave it only 1-star and said some things that are simply not very accurate.

We also just stayed in Cabin 2, as we have in the past. The cabin is fairly basic, but fine. The sheets and towels are not "threadbare" -- they're not new, but reasonable. The shower does not leak all over the bathroom floor if you deploy the shower curtain in a normal manner. There is a burnt out bulb in the overhead light fixture. The window AC is normal in sound. The hot tub worked. There was no broken furniture by the pool. The tram vehicle is basic and old fashioned, but that's part of the charm of the place.

All this said, the place could use a little more TLC and I thought of giving them only 3-stars. I think this place is really only worth the money if you have kids -- who will love the animals -- or if you're an animal-lover yourself. Otherwise, the cabins are only OK. The correct name for the property would be the "Exotic Ranch and Cabins." For a zoo, the animals are only OK -- no lions, tigers and bears, just kid-friendly creatures that you can hand feed.

I was also somewhat annoyed by the critters that seemed to keep coming into my cabin. A fly-swatter was helpfully supplied (and utilized), but I even found a very small scorpion in my bed. Not sure if he was big enough to sting me, but I don't usually give 4-stars to properties with in-bed scorpions! I guess that's just part of "ranch life" in this part of the world, and I'm guessing it was just bad luck to find a scorpion in the bed this time.

Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
1  Thank Dave R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 August 2013

We recently stayed -- for one night -- in Cabin 2. It was bad. The sheets and towels were threadbare. Both the beds smelled bad as did the recliner. The shower leaked water all over the bathroom floor, and the door to the bathroom offered no privacy whatsoever. The overhead light fixture had three bulbs in it. One worked all the time; one sputtered off and on; and one never worked. The window unit air conditioner was really, really loud; it was loud enough to keep me awake most of the night. The hot tub was broken (Another guest, someone staying in another cabin, said of the hot tub, "It smells like something died in here.") And there was broken furniture by the pool, a pool that looked a lot bigger in the pictures than it did in person.

Many of the swings in the play area were broken, The tram we rode on for the animal tour had trash in it and the canopy was torn.

I, too, complained about our room, and whoever returned my call was really defensive and rude about the whole situation. We paid for two nights at this place and left after one and did not receive a refund. This place charges $130 a night for Cabin 4, which is about $80 too much. If your kids want to go on the animal tour, stay somewhere else and pay for the tour. It's a little expensive for what you get, but the young ones will enjoy it.

And, this cabin is advertised as handicapped accessible. In my opinion, it is NOT handicapped accessible. Yes, there is a wheelchair ramp leading up to the porch, but just in front of the start of the ramp is a large tree root, thus making it practically impossible to actually get a wheelchair onto the ramp. There is a small ledge in the doorway leading from the porch into the cabin as well.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank Flip W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 July 2013

We just got back from a two night stay and our experience was second to none! I will say though that if you are planning on petting animals by day and laying in the lap of luxury by night, you will be disappointed (and overlooking the whole point of this amazing place!).
I will start with the tour, which we took twice - once the first day and once the second. It is sooo much fun! We bought two buckets of feed and had a great time hand-feeding and petting all of the animals. There are many varieties of deer, elk, zebras, buffalo, camels, emus, ostriches, rheas and MANY others. None of the animals disappoint! When they hear the tractor coming, they typically swarm the trailer and are eager to let you feed them and pet them. The deer and elk even allow you to pet their antlers. My 5 year old and I were able to get up close and personal with the bison and camels and gently scratch zebras behind their ears while they munched on the food...Amazing!!! And the tour lasts for about 30-45 mins, maybe a bit longer (I was too busy enjoying myself to time it, so that is just an estimate). Word to the wise, take lots of sani wipes or baby wipes for your hands! Feeding and petting the animals is too much fun to pass up and you won't want to let the possibility of dirty sticky hands to hold you back from the experience!
Now the room and campground area for cabin guests...We stayed two nights in Cabin 3, Catfish Hole. It was much larger than I had envisioned which was a pleasant surprise. This cabin has two queen beds (one in the living area and one in a separate bedroom) and two fully-enclosed bathrooms (if you read some of the other reviews, you will note that at least one of the cabins has a bathroom that does not have a ceiling and has saloon style doors so there is a lack of privacy). The separate bedroom and en suite look fairly new. The en suite is really quite large and has a full bath/shower combo and single vanity. THe other bathroom that is off of the living area is quite small and has a shower, sink and toilet. It would be a good size bathroom for young children to use. The cabin was overall, fairly clean but more in the way like if you were going to stay at your family's house for a few nights, not cleaned as though you were staying at a Westin or Hilton. The kitchen in this cabin was great for our family needs. This one has a 4-burner gas cooktop, plenty of cabinets, and a small fridge with a freezer. It also contained a toaster and coffee maker. The cabin was fully stocked with dishes, pots/pans, and even utensils for using on the grill (each cabin has its own charcoal grill). For me, the only real downside to the cabin was the bed. It is kinda saggy and (based on the squeaking I heard every time my husband moved), I can only assume it is a well-loved spring mattress. The sheets and comforter are also well-loved and a little nubby, so if you are particular about having high-thread count sheets, you would be best served to bring some with you. The cabin also had two tv's and I think both of them had DirecTV service. We never turned them on though so I could not confirm. And for those of us who have trouble putting down our smart phones long enough to commune nature (guilty!), know that our ATT 3G network and the Verizon 4G/LTE network worked for us and we were still able to check our emails...and post on FB about what a great time we were having! lol Another important thing to know with this TX heat, the cabin is cooled with window units and they worked GREAT! They are the type of units that allow you to actually set a temperature. We were there June 30-Jul 2 and never had a single complaint about being too hot (a rare occurrence in TX).
All of the actual sleeping aside, by far, the BEST PART ABOUT staying in the cabins is that you have unlimited access to the KANGAROO exhibit (you can only see them from the tour itself), the "petting zoo" which is really a much more natural fenced in pasture area between the cabins and the pond, and all of the animals that flock to the perimeter fence in the morning for some early morning attention from cabin guests. My son and I probably spent an hour or more hanging out at the kangaroo exhibit the first night we were there. We just sat and fed them grass through the fence. They are very friendly and we were able to pet them as well. How many times in your life will you have the opportunity to hand feed and pet kangaroos?!?!? The morning we were leaving, we spent some time feeding grass over the fence to the zoo's 3000-lb male buffalo, Sitting Bull. When you go, and you meet Sitting Bull face to face, know that he is happy to stand and eat grass from you for as long as you are willing to stand there and feed it to him and also that he enjoys being petted and will gladly let you sneak in a few scratched behind the ear while he is chewing on his grass.
We did make use of the pool and playground area while we were there but we did not spend an entire day just hanging out at the resort, so I could not say if someone might get a little bored if you were to actually stay on the premises all day long...Johnson City is right in the thick of many beautiful hill country towns so there really is no shortage of things to do within a one hour radius.
Needless to say, we will definitely be going back!!!

Room Tip: Another perk to Cabin 3 is that it is in the shadiest spot of all of the cabins
  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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5  Thank Breonna N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2013

We just returned from a family weekend at the Exotic Resort Zoo. We had the best time even though the weather didn't cooperate.
The cabins are rustic but clean. The staff are super upbeat people and eager to attend to any request.
We were super close to animals and a petting area. Catch and release fishing is steps away. And there's a playground area, kiddie pool and adult pool just steps away from the cabins.
We will go back!

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Nana_n_Pops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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