San Diego Zoo an organization dedicated to the science of saving endangered species worldwide. They operate three world-class facilities: the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Since we had friends visiting us from Canada, we spent the day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Lots of fun, great experience and lots of learning...definitely worth the visit.
Remember the famous line from the movie 'The Wizard of Oz' - Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My!! Well in addition to those animals you can see many more at the Wild Animal Park. A unique facility situated in Northeast San Diego County (City of Escondido) where animals roam in entire herds and flocks.
It is a facility designed first for the animals, and second for the people who come to observe them. If you were blinfolded and placed in the middle of this park, you would swear that you are on the plains of the Serengeti.
When I visited this “zoo” in Escondido twenty years ago, it was nice as it had some rhinoceros, I fed an elephant with peanuts and it had a lot of walking trails…but returning after twenty years, I was surprised at how far the zoo has evolved!
The safari tram ride was just amazing, and hard to believe that you are in San Diego. The animals are free to roam around and in these free-range enclosures, you might spot cheetahs, antelopes, lions, giraffes, okapis, elephants, zebras, Przewalski's horses, and bonobos. And most amazingly, the white rhinos have increased their numbers several tenfolds --- so you see them dotting the green expanse and you can even get close to them through an arranged ride.
The San Diego Zoological Society has the idea of the Wild Animal Park in 1964, a concept which would allow ample space for large animals. Today, they have adopted several animal-friendly concepts such as the California condor breeding program, the most successful program in the country. So, it is nice to know that your visit to this park also contributes to helping the wildlife.
The Wild Animal Park is not located in San Diego, but rather about 30 miles north of the San Diego Zoo in San Pasquel Valley. A picturesque area. We left early to visit the zoo and arrived a few minutes after the park opened and headed straight for the Journey into Africa Tour, which is located clear on the other end of the park. We were glad we went first, since the later it was in the day the more people there were on the tour and as a bonus the animals are lot more active in the morning. This tour takes you by giraffes, cheetahs, gazelle, the rare white rhinos (there are only 6 in the world, this park has two of them), ostrich,antelope,etc. The tour is aprox 30 min long and is a cool ride to take in the park. Our next stop were the Lions, which were one of the most fascinating to watch as the two cubs were wrestling while mom and dad looked on. The Lions area is huge compared to regular zoo enclosures. Most of the enclosures are quite large, which means lots and lots of walking for us humans. The Wild Animal Park could easily take many days to explore all of the exhibits in depth, but if you don't mind a lot of walking you cover a lot of ground in a day. The tiger was a disappointment-he is a far walk from other animals and was no where to be found. The gorillas were eating when we arrived, cheetahs were basking in the morning sun, and the meerkats were people watching. Our favorites at the park was the African tour, the lions, and suprisingly the hidden jungle where you could see many tropical birds close-up and the Lorikeet Landing exhibit. The Lorikeets are not shy and will land on your arm, or shoulder or in my case your head. We had a lot of fun interacting with the Lorikeets.
Experience a unique adventure at the Wild Animal Park’s 2,100-acre preserve, where animals wander freely in surroundings much like their native homelands. A quiet railway, pathways, and shows enable you observe both animals and exotic plants.
Aside from the Wgasa Bush Line Railway, walking is the best way to see Wild Animal Park. The 1.75-mile Kilimanjaro trail, one of many, takes you to the big animals—lions, tigers, and elephants.
Snack at one of the food stands or carts located throughout Wild Animal Park.
For a burger, sandwich, or salad, try Thorn Tree Terrace in Nairobi Village.
My favorite place is Lorikeet Landing where the Lorikeets (parrots) land on your arms to get at the food you can buy when entering the exhibit. They fly right onto you so not for small children who might be afraid.
Since a visit to the park takes most of the day, you might want to bring water, snacks, and sunscreen. Since so many wonderful trails can only be reached on foot, comfortable shoes are helpful.
Walking through the Wild Animal Park is a nice way to exercise and experience the animals in a somewhat natural setting (instead of caged at a zoo). The cactus area is always an interesting hike as well as the African Safari area. If you like butterflies, the butterfly exhibit is miraculous. Thousands of butterflies flying everywhere. The best time to see the butterflies is in March/April. Best time to visit the Animal Park is in the early morning (opens at 9 AM) or right at closing. The worst time of year to visit would be in July, August and Sept when the park gets really hot during the afternoon.
Though about an hours drive, very much worth it. What distinquishes this zoo from the one in the city is it's openess. This is a wildlife park, so far more spacious. The animals seem much more in their natural enviornment. So there are many more garden like pathways and man made lakes then the San Diego Zoo. Many people I know like this zoo better. I think they are both awesome. The only negative is that since it is so open, it can get very hot by early afternoon. This, like the San Diego Zoo, is an all day affair.
San Diego wild animal park is one of the most famous three vivariums in San Diego. The park is so huge that a lot of animal have a wide and comfortable home there. The heart of Afica is the biggest camp in the park. In the camp, there are various animals including birds, mammals. In addition, there is an amazing bird show which is be acted three times everyday. The show set out some incredible birds that is wonderful. Meanwhile, taking train can look around the whole park. However, to take train as early as possible is necessary. Because animals will hide when the sun is going to high.
Another reason I visit San Diego, the Wildlife Animal Park and the attached botanical gardens. Picture to be added soon.
Take the monorail around the African exhibit where you can see rare whte and black rhinocerus, giraffes, elephants all roaming free in the vast expanse of a valley.
Tickets to the Zoo are normally $32 and the Wild Animal Park $28.50, but VONS (a supermarket chain) sells gift certificates good for either the zoo or wild animal park for $25 by their checkouts. They are good for the "Best Value Ticket Package" at the Zoo (admission, unlimited use of bus tour, skysafari aerial tram, children's zoo, all animal shows and exhibits) or the "Nairobi Ticket Package" at the Wild Animal Park (admission, Railway, all animal shows and exhibits).
It's really a great deal - get the gift certificates for everyone you are traveling with rather than buying at the park gate and save a bundle!
About 40mins drive outside of San Diego is the amazing Safari Park. Be transported to African landscape as you take the hour long wooden train ride around the whole of the park. You can even take jeep rides up close to the animals. After visiting San Diego Zoo we thought we might have been all animaled out, but we were wrong. Just to see the variety of animals in their natural habitat, or as close to, was well worth the trip. Herds of water buffalo galloping across the plains whilst groups of rhinocerous lifted their heads from grazing to watch. The new addition to the giraffe family standing in the shade of a huge palm and we actually saw the big male lion strolling across his area, and as hes supposedly shy we felt honoured to have witnessed this. A marvellous day out but not quite enough hours in the day to see everything. Cant wait to go back.
At San Diego Wild Animal Park, the animals are placed in cages that mimic their natural habitat. We had to ride a tram to go around the park. The best ones we liked are the petting cages. My daughter had her whole hand licked by the deers and pecked by the birds.
The Wild Park is about an hour drive outside of downtown San Diego. I have to admit when I got here I was too lazy to walk the exhibits which are set up to resemble the natural habitats of the animals allowing them to run free in acres of land. So if you want to walk this park, you need plenty of water and good tennis shoes. I instead opted for the lazy man's way and hitched a ride on the monorail which takes you through all the exhibits as the conductor gives you a play by play on all the animals that you see with plenty a joke thrown in to make it fun, rather than to make you feel like you are stuck in class. I also discovered that for a little extra money you can purchase a ride on a jeep with an individual tour guide who will take you out into the exhibit to feed the animals. If you like animals this is a nice way to spend a couple of hours one afternoon.
Honest, first time we took our kids, it was drizzling off and on all day. This kept the people away so it wasn't too packed, and the animals were out and about more. Much easier to enjoy. If you live close enough to drive there regularly get a membership, and go back frequantly, you'll see something new everytime!
Wonderful - Simply Wonderful. We have visitied twice now an both times it was an amazine experience. You MUST take the monorail tour of the whole park or it's a waste of your day. From the monorail you can see more than you might expect (see the photo attached).
It's a quite inland so you don't get the cooling sea breeze so take plenty of water and a good sun block. There is so much to do that you have to arrive early and try to avoid the midday sun. Mad Dog and Englishmen go out in the midday sun - I DID !
Missing the Wild Animal Park is a big mistake. Go here AND the zoo.