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“Not enough homage to Quarter Horses”

King Ranch Visitor Center
Ranked #1 of 13 things to do in Kingsville
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: A short-day trip from Corpus Christi, the Rio Grande Valley or San Antonio, this 825,000-acre ranch is a privately owned National Historic Landmark and offers daily tours on its' Santa Gertrudis division. The King Ranch Museum and Saddle Shop are separate locations in downtown Kingsville. Visitors can watch a video on the history and current operations of the Ranch, as well as explore the butterfly/birding garden on the grounds of the King Ranch Visitor Center. King Ranch Visitor Center is open seven days a week and closed on most holidays. You can practice roping on the grounds, check out our historic chuck wagon, picnic, and bird watch, or check out the store and exhibits inside. Free coffee always!
Edenton, North Carolina
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Not enough homage to Quarter Horses”
Reviewed 22 May 2014

We visited the King Ranch and it was very interesting and informative. However, being a working ranch who still uses horses - our guide could not tell us where Wiimpy P 1 was buried. They have wonderfully marked graves for the thoroughbreds. I would have thought they would have been more informative of the Quarter Horses. What happened to Wimpy & the other well know show horses that were instrumental in keeping the name of the King ranch alive? Other than a great disappointment in the ranch not stressing the used and importance of the Quarter Horse - the tour was worth it. Also I would like to say that I really wanted to take one of the specialized tours but never got a response to my second email to set up the date & my call was never returned so I just gave up on that.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank sat6113
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Marlboro, New Jersey
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Complete Waste of Time & Money”
Reviewed 21 April 2014

There's not much good to say. We stopped off here on the way from South Padre Island to San Antonio. Unfortunately, the kids (ages 5-15) found license plate watching in the car more interesting than the ranch tour. So, did the adults! A small bus took us around the ranch but never let us get off. All we saw was the same cattle from multiple different viewing points. Our driver/guide seemed like a nice enough man, but it was virtually impossible to understand a word he said. Talk about a mumbler! The ranch supposedly employees 350 people but we did not see a single one of them - besides our mumbling driver. This was a total disappointment. Save your money and find something else to do. Anything else will suffice!!

Visited April 2014
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2 Thank Neil S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
315 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 175 helpful votes
“Pure Texas”
Reviewed 20 April 2014

If you ever have the chance to take a guided tour of the King Ranch, don't miss it. This is the only way to get onto the ranch itself (there is a separate museum in nearby Kingsville). It is a 90 minute bus tour on which you will see cattle, horses, varied wildlife, and a number of important working areas of the ranch -- areas in which the quarter horses are trained, a horse cemetery with Triple Crown winner Assault, the historic ranch house (viewed only from the bus) and associated outbuildings, and a "colony" of homes housing ranch hands and their families. Our guide, Miguel, gave us a running history of the ranch and was terrific at telling us exactly what we were seeing. It seems like the ranch is way out in the country (and it is), but it is only about a 45 minute drive from Corpus Christi. Definitely worth the drive.

Visited April 2014
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2 Thank Wedgewood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Katy, Texas
Level Contributor
26 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Great ranch history and wildlife”
Reviewed 19 April 2014

The was a great bus ride with a very knowledgeable tour guide. We saw lots of wildlife too. It would have been nice to have the ability to get out and walk around the barns, see more of the feedlots etc. It was great for history but not very up close.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank albertantexan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
33 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“LESS than exciting..NOT for kids..MILDLY interesting”
Reviewed 17 April 2014

I feel really bad writing an non-favorable review of the King Ranch, because I really wanted to like it.
You're basically on a tour bus for an hour and a half. The tour guide was kind and knowledgeable, but it was just too long to stare at empty prairies. A few migrating birds were pointed out and that's nice, but that wasn't enough to engage me or my three children.
There is so much history around the story of this family. They influenced so much of the area around Kingsville and so many things are named after them. I was hoping to learn more about the family. I had hoped that my children would learn how and why the King family made the decisions they made and how that helped them become successful. Or if my kids could have actually seen the cattle operation in action. Honestly, we drove by buildings and drove by fenced prairies, without seeing more than 15 cattle.
That's not worth the money.
Perhaps the tour would be of value to birders who come as "winter Texans" , but we were there in May and there weren't very many birds left to see - just a drought-stricken prairie.
The gift shop is full of things you could buy on Amazon less-expensively. If you want anything made by the King Ranch, you have to go into town to see the Saddle Shop.
There are hummingbird feeders outside of the gift shop and we had NEVER seen so many hummingbirds in our lives. When people asked my kids if they liked the King Ranch, they tell them about the hummingbirds.
So...
We also bought the museum combo and visited that the same day. There are several vintage vehicles there, which were mildly interesting. It's the kind of place that you can go in and out within 30 minutes.
There is a lot of potential at both of these places, but the potential is not being met. As someone who has a major in American Studies, I am always prepared to have a great time at a museum or hear a tour guide describe this great country and I was bored, bored, bored.
The King Ranch needs someone to rewrite their tours and shake things up. They could make a lot more money and get a lot more positive reviews.
TIPS for Parents: There is NO restroom on the tour bus and the tour is around 90 minutes long. Be sure to visit the restroom in the gift shop, before you leave.
THINGS TO BRING: Camera or binoculars with a good lens for viewing wildlife.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank sarahbyu1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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