Travel: Topsey Exotic Ranch

The animals equate people with food, and often come right up to vehicles traveling through the Topsey Exotic Ranch's safari in Copperas Cove.

As things are slowly opening back up across Central Texas, there are a few more options for folks looking for something to do outside of the house. Check out a farmers market to support local vendors, catch a movie at one of the area drive-in theaters, or take a trip to the newly-reopened Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. And if you still want to stay safe from home, there are plenty of virtual events to help you do so.

Local Events

The Copperas Cove Farmer’s Market will be from 4 to 7 p.m. every Thursday from May 21 to Nov. 12 at the corner of Avenue D and Second Street. Contact Ashley Wilson at awilson@copperascovetx.gov for more information on how to become a vendor.

Barrow Brewing Company, 108 Royal St. in Salado, will host a social-distance-friendly Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday from March 23 to June 27. There will be local crafters, vendors, farmers and growers in attendance.

Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area, North Nolan Road and Cottage Road, Fort Hood, is featuring free access to boating, fishing, and hike and bike trails for a limited time every day from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visitors must have a Department of Defense ID for access.

The Topsey Exotic Ranch and Drive-Thru Safari, 945 County Road 118, Copperas Cove, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, weather permitting. View more than 50 species of wildlife and buy a bag of feed for $1 and hand feed the animals from your car. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for kids 3 to 12 years old, and kids 2 and under are free.

The Last Drive-In Picture Show, 2912 S. Highway 36, Gatesville, is still open and showing double features. Admission is $10 per car load. This week’s double feature, showing nightly from May 15 through May 20, will be “Trolls World Tour” at 8:30 p.m. and “The Turning” at 10 p.m. Visitors must observe social distancing guidelines and wear a mask or face covering when outside of their car at all times.

The Blue Starlite Boutique Mini Urban Drive-In, both the Austin and Round Rock location, have a variety of movies lined up for visitors to enjoy. Visit www.bluestarlitedrivein.com for a complete schedule, to purchase tickets in advance (highly recommended, as slots fill fast), and for important information on new social-distancing guidelines.

Local parks and trails are still open to the public, however many amenities, such as playgrounds and courts, may be closed to encourage social distancing. Texas State Parks are still open for day use only, and day passes must be reserved in advance online at www.tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/. Limited overnight camping at most state parks will resume May 18; visit the website for availability.

Family Fun

The Harker Heights Public Library hosts a virtual Music Time with Miss Lisa every Monday at 10:15 a.m. on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/harkerheightspubliclibrary/. The library also livestreams a variety of children’s programs, story times, and other activities on Facebook throughout the week. There are now contactless curbside pick-up and walk-in hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

The Killeen Public Library hosts virtual story times and crafts throughout the week on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/KilleenLibrary/. The library also shares family-friendly activities, as well as information on how to obtain a virtual library card and other resources. Curbside pickup is available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call the Main Library at 254-501-8996 or the Copper Mountain Branch Library at 254-501-7871 to schedule a pickup.

Lark and Owl Booksellers in Georgetown hosts a virtual Super Silly Story Time with Cassidy at 10 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The story times are livestreamed through the store’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/larkandowlbooksellers/.

Videos of children’s stories read by famous actors are available to stream at www.storylineonline.net. Check out stories like “Me and My Cat” read by Elijah Wood, “Quackenstein Hatches a Family” read by Kristen Bell, or “Please Please the Bees” read by Rashida Jones to get started.

Enjoy a family-friendly story focused on space and science that are read by actual astronauts living in space at the time of recording by visiting www.storytimefromspace.com/library/. Check out “Hey-Ho to Mars We’ll Go” read by Astronaut Christina Koch to get started.

Rock and Roll Playhouse features livestream episodes with special guests, crafts, live music, and more fun for families every weekday at 2 p.m. on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/RRPHKIDS/.

The Kennedy Center’s Artist-in-Residence at Home, Mo Willems, hosts a new episode of “Lunch Doodles” every weekday at noon on the center’s YouTube page, www.bit.ly/3eM5mKM. Each episode features an art lesson and exploration of creativity for viewers of all ages and skills.

Dolly Parton is hosting a limited series, “Goodnight with Dolly: Imagination Library Bedtime Stories with Dolly Parton,” with a new episode launching at 7 p.m. every Thursday. This ten-week series features a story and a song accompaniment in each episode. Go to www.imaginationlibrary.com/goodnight-with-dolly/ to view.

Popsicle’s Instagram account, @popsicle, hosts a livestream virtual recess at 1 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. Activities are geared toward kids 6-12 years of age and don’t require any special supplies or equipment, and can be completed in under 20 minutes.

Music

Pickathon’s YouTube channel is hosting its “A Concert a Day” series every week day at 3 p.m. Each day, a curated artist’s past live performance is streamed live. Go to www.youtube.com/channel/UCT8Fp9DVEu-jYSRJzZo5qUw to view this week’s schedule and to enjoy some previously-recorded live music.

Austin-based DJ Mel hosts a livestream Living Room Dance Party from 6 to 10 p.m. every Saturday on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DJ-Mel-48330349120/. Tune in for the entirety, or just drop in for a few minutes, for a live DJ set from the comfort of your living room.

New episodes of Live from Indy Terrace presented by the Austin Opera premieres at 3 p.m. every Friday on Austin Opera’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/AustinOpera/. Or catch the recording at a later time at www.austinopera.org. Each week will feature a different artist.

Previously-taped recordings of Austin City Limits Live from the Moody Theater are available online at www.pbs.org/show/austin-city-limits/. Performances by popular artists like Billie Eilish, Maggie Rogers, Willie Nelson, Gary Clark Jr., Kacey Musgraves and more are available to stream now.

Museums and Exhibits

The Mayborn Museum at Baylor University launched the Mayborn at Home program to offer online activities that families can do at home together, as well as virtual tours of its many exhibits. Go to www.baylor.edu/mayborn/ to explore the museum from the comfort of your home.

The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco reopened at 25% capacity starting May 14. Peace Officers Memorial Weekend will be from May 15-17 and current or retired law enforcement officers will receive free admission, and accompanying family members will receive a discount. The museum also hosts a virtual Story Time with Audrey at 10:30 a.m. every Friday on the museum’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/txrangermuseum/. There are also as free resources for students learning from home, like ten-minute lesson plans, activity sheets, and more at www.texasranger.org.

The Bell County Museum offers at-home learning materials for free at www.bellcountymuseum.org/p/education/at-home-learning. Lessons focus on history, science, crafts, and more. The museum will also reopen for in-person visitors June 2.

The Dallas World Aquarium offers livestreams of its Large Freshwater River Exhibit to view manatees and more, as well as its Cenote Exhibit, where sharks can be spotted. Go to www.dwazoo.com/animal-cams/ to view the livestream.

The Houston Zoo offers live webcam views of seven different exhibits to include gorillas, giraffes, elephants, and more. Go to www.houstonzoo.org/explore/webcams/ to view the live feed.

254-501-7557 | bsodic@kdhnews.com

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