Viral TikTok lures people to sleep next to giraffes in Texas Hill Country

A 15-second TikTok video changed everything, said Rick Barongi, the founder of Longneck Manor in Fredericksburg.

Barongi, who served as director of the Houston Zoo for 15 years, opened the 100-acre animal and overnight conservation suite in September. Longneck Manor averaged one or two bookings a week before being featured on txvacation, a TikTok account with 1.5 million followers that highlights travel destinations in Texas, last week.

About 2.3 million likes and more than 13,000 comments later, Barongi’s phone is still ringing nonstop. Longneck Manor is now fully booked until 2022 after posting, which is by far the most popular post on the account with 21 million views.

@txvacation Imagine a place in #texas where you can wake up to a #giraffe and rhinos outside your door? @longneckmanor ♬ The lion sleeps tonight – Vittorio Fraja

“So we were flooded for two days, three days, everything was booked,” Barongi said. “People were frustrated because it looked like the calendar was open, but someone else was booking it right before they could press the button.”

Even among a plethora of bed and breakfasts in Fredericksburg, Longneck Manor stands out because it allows guests to interact directly with the barn animals. You can see a family of three giraffes, including a female named Betty White, outside your second story window and participate in supervised feedings downstairs. The facility is also home to three male rhinos, named Fred, Barney and Justin, a two-toed sloth and two dogs – Drifter and Boone.

Longneck Manor hopes to expand its animal stable in the coming years.

Courtesy of Longneck Manor

The $900 per night two-story barn only takes one reservation at a time with up to 5 people. Longneck also does two rounds a day. It’s a private luxury experience, Barongi said.

GROWTH OF GREEN SPACES: Houstonians and Their Pets Join Nancy and Rich Kinder for the Memorial Park Land Bridge Preview Party

“So you walk in and you look to your left and there’s a giraffe looking at you when they’re inside,” he said. “Sometimes they come straight to the window…which opens during the day where the giraffes can stick their noses and tongues out and they can sit in the living room and feed the giraffes under supervision.”

Eventually, Barongi hopes to offer more beds. Phase II of his plan includes building another barn inside the giraffe exhibit with six suites and a balcony, allowing for hands-on interaction. He also plans to grow his stable of animals. Barongi may have another giraffe next year and hopes to build a rhino barn where he can also house females.

The Animal Conservancy is home to three male rhinos.

The Animal Conservancy is home to three male rhinos.

Courtesy of Longneck Manor

The massive influx of revenue after the viral TikTok video will help it accomplish Phase II – guests must pay in advance.

“The good news is that I now have a sustainable business and people really appreciate what we do,” Barongi said.

[email protected]

About Elizabeth Smith

Check Also

Eco-conscious guests can book a room at this zero-carbon hotel

More and more people are thinking about their environmental impact when they travel. Now hotels …