Our Story

Community Involvement

FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS…

For more than five years, a group of community supporters and leaders worked tirelessly to turn a dream into a one of the Hill Country’s top destinations. Built on eight acres, a 14,000-square-foot building was filled with exhibits for people to explore, experience, educate, and enjoy.

The spark that ignited the campaign to build the Bandera Natural History Museum began with Juan Carlos lnfante’s vision to create a place for all people, regardless of age or special needs, to experience and learn about the world’s amazing wildlife. A Board of Directors was formed in 2011 with the mission of establishing and operating a museum for educational and charitable purposes in the name of Bandera Exotic Wildlife Museum. By early 2015, property had been acquired within the city of Bandera and construction began for 14,000 sq. ft. building. In that same year, the Board changed its name from Bandera Exotic Wildlife Museum to Bandera National History Museum to more accurately reflect the broader scope of our display and our education mission. The museum is organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes and is a nonprofit business with 501(c)(3) status. The facility opened its doors June 18, 2016.

Our museum will strongly emphasize nature-related educational programs, complemented with the exhibition of important and valuable sculptures, carvings and conservation-related exhibits

– Juan Carlos Infante

WHERE WE ARE TODAY?

Sixteen life size reproductions of dinosaurs and ice age animals and four educational play stations, made by the same company that made the Jurassic Park reproductions, are placed on the grounds of the Museum. The Texas Hill Country Master Naturalist Chapter has accepted our grounds as an official project and has started planting native plants that will attract butterflies and birds. An International Hall, six dioramas painted by university trained artists from Mexico City, conference room, a multi-purpose room for programs and educational seminars, museum shop and cafe are housed within the building.

The Museum Collection includes: a special collection of full body animal mounts and numerous unique art pieces such as a collection of ceremonial masks from Latin America, a 2,000 pound jade tiger from Taiwan, a 50 ft. Bas Relief wall mural depicting 500 million years of life from the Precambrian period to the present, an Italian Bronze casting and a collection of Isaac Carrasco wood carvings. Music composed for the Museum enhances the experience as visitors move from the International Hall through the dioramas representing six regions of the world. Visitors may access a zoological tour on our webpage to learn details about each animal. We also offer our Sensory Safari Program for sight challenged groups. Newly added is Simba’s Den– an area used for guest speakers and to present educational films on wildlife, their habitats and conservation. A life size replica of a flying “Quetzalcoatlus” with a 36′ wingspan has also been added. You can also see a real 50,000 year old femur bone from a mammoth.The museum also has a gift shop that interests both adults and youth with minimal pricing in addition to the Twiga Cafe and Patio with vending machines for drinks and snacks.

Juan Carlos Infante
Founder and Chairman Emeritus

Members of the Board

  • Sully Woodland, Chairman: President of the Bandera County Optimist Club, Chair of Friends of the Bandera County Library, Director of Bandera Athletic Capital Improvements Team. Retired President of Bandera Wells Fargo Bank
  • Juan Carlos Infante, Chairman Emeritus: Engineer, Owner of Rocky River Ranch in Medina, TX, Chairman, Axis Foster Company, an industrial oil and energy equipment manufacturer.
  • Mary Vargas Infante: Director: New Spain Art Wing, Chair of the Art Wing Board of Trustees, Events Committee member and Special Event Committee member.
  • Don P. Giles, Treasurer: President of MedLife Planners Inc., President TX Dexter Breeders Assoc., Bandera County Project Leader of 4H Dexter Cattle Program, Chair of Endowment and Technology Committees of Bandera United Methodist Church.
  • Genie Strickland, Secretary: President Growth Resources- Event Planning and Marketing, Vice President of V&G Strickland Enterprises, Vice President of Bandera County Convention and Visitors Center, Pipe Creek Christian School Board of Directors.
  • Dr. Maggie Schumacher, Director of Operations: Editor of Ray Wharton: Champion Inside and Out of the Arena, Author and Editor of the Bandera County Pictorial History, Women Artists of Bandera County and numerous newspaper historical articles, former Bandera City Council member, acting mayor and author of City Master Plan.
  • M. Scott Foster, Director: Licensed Ranch Realtor, and Realtree/United Country Land Pro, Consultant in eCommerce, Social Media, and Marketing, Chairman of the Appraisal Review Board for Bandera County.
  • R. Mack Frazier, Director: President of Puhakanet Ranch in Tarpley, TX and Cross Ell Ranch Corporation in West Texas, both managed for wildlife and habitat restoration, supporter of “Save the Habitat, Save the Hunt” program, Shelter Manager for American Red Cross of San Antonio.
  • Patti Morris, Director: Area resident knowledgeable about exotic and area wildlife and their habitats, Volunteer for the Dietert Center.
  • Joe McMullan, Director: Fundraiser for Arthur Nagel Community Health Clinic, former board member of Silver Sage Senior Center and Bandera County Library Board, and Past President of Bandera Chamber of Commerce.
  • John Pearce, Director of Member and Donor Relations: Fourth generation Bandera resident, twenty years with IBM Global Services managing business development and marketing teams, SERS Jobs for Progress providing workforce related services to businesses in San Antonio area, Board member of Bandera Public Library.

ADVISORY COMMITTEE

  • Cindy McMullan: Advisor to School Relations Committee, Treasurer of Bandera County Interfaith Disaster Emergency Assistance, Fundraiser for Arthur Nagel Community Health Clinic, Past Treasurer of Bandera ISD Educational Foundation.
  • Reagan Peterson: Bandera County long- time resident, land developer and successful businessman.

Hours of Operation

Wednesday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday: 12pm – 5pm
Monday and Tuesday: Closed

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Bandera
Bandera, TX is the Cowboy Capital of the World™. As well as the museum, Bandera offers families fantastic and fun attractions and events, many types of lodging, and delicious dining.

LOCATION

Bandera Natural History Museum 267 Old San Antonio Hwy Bandera, TX 78003

MAILING ADDRESS

Bandera Natural History Museum PO Box 1555 Bandera, TX 78003