With the cooler packed and loaded, a friend and I decided to venture 130 miles North West of Houston to experience a drive-thru safari in Franklin, Texas. What we didn’t realize is that we’d stumble upon the hidden gem of Calvert, Texas along the way! Our day trip was quick, fun-filled, and one I will happily make again, complete with giraffe feeding, good coffee, antiquing, and great music and conversation.
Franklin Drive thru Safari
The Franklin Drive Thru Safari was worth the two-hour car ride in itself. We bought red solo cups full of feed and drove around the vast property where we encountered several exotic animals along the way. This isn’t like a zoo where you will casually admire the animals behind a high-fenced border, but an up-close-and-personal experience. The animals roam freely and eagerly approach your car in hopes of getting a snack. I was a bit frightened when we were surprised by a Texas longhorn who pushed his way through my driver’s side window and was quick to roll it up when we spotted a goofy llama, who we named Fred, just in case he felt like spitting a hello. Personal space isn’t something they are too concerned about, so be prepared to have these happy visitors pop their heads in to say hey!
After spending the day driving around and meeting some new furry friends, and avoiding others (Ostriches…no thank you!), we cooled off in the visitors center where we browsed the gift shop and saw the reptiles before heading back out to feed the giraffes. This experience was so cool. They take the lettuce right out of your hand and are quite the posers when it comes to picture time!
Before heading out we took a stroll through the birdhouse where we saw beautiful and unique birds and even had a conversation with Ruby the parrot.
Just a short fifteen minutes away sits the quaint town of Calvert, Texas. Looking for a bite to eat, we headed over to Zorro’s Cafe before wandering around this picturesque town.
My favorite stop in Calvert was En Gedi Vineyards Winery, where you can sip on unique award-winning wines like the dry grape Lenoir Rosé, the blueberry infused favorite, Bluest Eyes in Texas, and The Texas Tornado, a Blanc Du Boi featuring hints of honey and jalapeno. The winery’s event schedule is full of live music and special tastings and pairings all year long. This is a space that I could easily spend hours in.
This small town surprisingly had a number of cute vintage shops, from a Western wear and leather store called Cowboy Up, to amazing antique spaces that we leisurely browsed. I loved all the wonderful nick-nacks and authentic finds at The Farmers to Market antique shop.
After exploring the antiques we hopped next door to Calvert Coffee Company. I am quite the coffee connoisseur and this spot did not disappoint. The barista spent time explaining the featured bean options before pulling shots of espresso for our drinks. They even make specialty flavored coffees and have a large range of Italian sodas if you’d rather have a cold bubbly beverage. The space was warm and inviting, full of locals and visitors alike.
The combination of the small Texas town and the exciting safari made for an overall amazing day. If you are looking for something to do and want a change of scenery, I’d highly suggest making the drive on a Saturday. With any road trip, keep an eye out for fun stops along the way. Spontaneity always makes for the best of times! xxx