I’ve driven every type of vehicle that I can. I have experience with stock cars, Formula One, super cars, and Indy cars. I’ve driven motorcycles, dune buggies, go-karts, RVs, scooters, dirt bikes, ATVs, mountain bikes, snowmobiles, and jet skis. I’ve even flown helicopters, airplanes, biplanes, gliders, and fighter jets. When I tried to dream up what driving experience I could have next, driving a Sherman tank topped my list. Maybe it’s not as fast or technical as driving a Formula One car with Formula Experiences, but at over 40 tons, driving a Sherman tank is in a class of its own. So, my research began and I found out that Drive Tanks is the world’s premier historical military vehicle and weapon experience. Located in Uvalde, Texas on the Ox Ranch, they are the only place in the world where you can drive and shoot real tanks, artillery, and machine guns in one location, and that location just happened to be driving distance from my house. I knew I had to try it, but it turned out even more interesting than I anticipated. Find out why you should add Drive Tanks to your bucket list.
Why Add Drive Tanks to Your Bucket List
Number One: The Obvious Reason – You Can Drive a Tank
Drive Tanks offers a variety of tanks to choose from for your driving experience. We chose the M4A2E8 Sherman Medium Tank.
UNITED STATES M4A2E8 SHERMAN MEDIUM TANK
The “Easy Eva” is a late war version of the iconic Sherman tank featuring a more powerful main gun, thicker armor, and a better suspension. It’s the same model as featured in the movie “Fury” starring Brad Pitt and it’s the only fully operational Sherman E8 left in the world.
It drives like… well… a tank.
I climbed up into the tank and sat in the driver’s seat. There wasn’t a steering wheel but two steering levers that are brakes- one for the right track, one for the left. On the floor was an accelerator and the transmission had been converted to automatic for easier driving.
After some instruction, I put it in drive and pressed the accelerator. You can’t be afraid to really push the accelerator because you’re trying to move more than 40 tons. It took me about 30 seconds to get a good feel for the required pressure. Then, making turns required a smoother motion on the right or left brake.
As I drove around the specially developed tank course, I traversed anti-tank obstacles, drop offs, and a creek in the middle of an amazing 18,000-acre exotic game ranch called Ox Ranch.
Number Two: Shoot The Tanks Main Gun
At Drive Tanks, you can shoot one round from the tanks main gun.
Although we didn’t participate in shooting the gun, we were able to watch an 11 year old boy shoot it and it was intense. The Sherman’s 76mm main gun hurls its 14-pound projectile down range at an impressive speed.
I was ready with my phone to take a picture. He counted down so I knew exactly when it was going to happen, but when the gun went off and the ground shook, I literally jumped so high, I dropped my phone. All of the dust that had collected on the tank from the drive had been completely shaken off. It was the most intense boom I have ever experienced. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to experience it without ear plugs and headphones.
Number Three: Interactive Museum
You can touch, hold, and climb on pieces of history from tanks to artillery and machine guns.
At Drive Tanks, not only are their tanks operational, but many of the weapons are restored and fully functional. While their focus is on armored vehicles, they also have a large collection of historic firearms, including machine guns, that visitors may handle and shoot in addition to their tank experience. You can shoot a US 105mm howitzer, a Soviet D20, or a German Pak-40 anti-tank gun, and much more.
Number Four: The Barracks
Drive Tanks offers a WWII themed “Barracks”. It’s a one-of-a-kind overnight accommodation with all modern amenities. The Barracks are designed to allow clients to stay at Drive Tanks and continue their adventure by experiencing the Ox Ranch’s amazing activities, dining, and drinks for an all-inclusive experience.
Number Five: Ox Ranch Activities
Ox Ranch offers every activity you can imagine from private Yoga lessons at their waterfalls to exploring caves. You can hand-feed giraffes and a kangaroo, among many other animals, take a guided photo safari, swim in the resort-style pool, learn how to shoot a bow, kayak, paddleboard, fish, offroad on 4x4s, explore dinosaur tracks, stargaze…. Quite frankly, the list is too long to include everything. That’s not to mention the delicious food and the endless supply of drinks.
In all of my years of travel, I haven’t found another place like Drive Tanks. It’s a world of bucket list adventures and experiences all in one place.