The owners of Great American Entertainment Company, Dianne and David Linderman, have been traveling the country since 1983 providing petting zoos, pony rides and more to schools, rodeos, fairs and private events, and made Stephenville their home five years ago with big plans in mind.
The Lindermans, originally from Oregon, purchased a ranch they call Great American Lone Star Ranch that is now open to the public from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday through January.
The ranch, located at 5396 S. US Hwy. 281 in Stephenville, features a petting zoo, pony rides and a gift shop and bakery.
“We’ve been doing this for 35 years and when we looked for a place here, we wanted a place close to town where we could get kids and families out,” Dianne said. “We want to be that ‘go-to’ place you want to take your kids.”
The petting zoo has llamas, goats, sheep, miniature cows and donkeys and a deer — some that are famous.
“We do movie animals as well and our deer were in Twilight, so we have some famous animals here that we’ve done movies and commercials with,” Dianne said. “We have huge plans, but we’re going to be doing a little at a time.”
Dianne is a cookbook author and cooking show host who has owned restaurants and teaches kids how to open up through cooking. She has hopes of opening a cooking academy in Stephenville one day.
The Lindermans also took in troubled teens that needed help and support, many of them growing up in the company and some moving to Stephenville with the couple.
“We moved to Stephenville about five years ago and have really fallen in love with it,” said one of the Linderman’s business partners Sarah Kupelian. “We’ve been dying to do something to give back to this community.”
The petting zoo will be $2 per person and the pony rides are $5.
This is just the start for the Lindermans and they hope to open a family-style restaurant and host other fun events on the ranch.
“We love Stephenville and thought, ‘we’ve got to do something in our community,’” Dianne said. “We’re trying to keep the culture of agriculture alive and just have a place where the community can come hang out and have fun. We love what we do.”
For more information about the Great American Lone Star Ranch call 254-965-2264 or visit greatamericanpettingzoo.com.