The Caller-Times virtual tour of

The King Ranch

On a tour at the King Ranch you may get a glimpse of a cowboy herding cattle or Santa Gertrudis cattle grazing while other wildlife dart in and out of the mesquite.

The 825,000-acre cattle ranch offers tours that provide viewers a chance to see the world-famous King Ranch.

Steamboat Capt. Richard King founded the ranch in 1853. With 1,300 square miles of Texas brush country, the King Ranch is larger than the entire state of Rhode Island.

Guided tours of one of the oldest working ranches in the United States include a three-day birding expedition, a cultural look at the ranch and a one-and-a-half-hour bus tour.

Visitors get close-up views of Santa Gertrudis cattle and King Ranch quarter horses, both ranch trademarks.

The Visitor Center, on State Highway 141 west of Kingsville, is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It is open Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Tours cost $7 for adults and $2.50 plus tax for children 5 to 12 years old.

To arrange a tour, which can last more than an hour, call (512) 592- 8055.

Some of tours also are offered through private firms.

The wildlife and birdwatching tours are offered in the spring and fall.

The ranch, with 350 full-time and an equal number of part-time workers, is the largest cotton producer in Texas and it also makes money from gas and oil wells and cattle.

More information about life at the King Ranch from 1939 to 1944 can be found at the King Ranch Museum, which also has a display of vehicles dating from the ranch's early days.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and it is open Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

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