Probably more humane than an animal prison-er-zoo, the San Diego Wild Animal Park features their creatures in a more natural, and expansive habitat. It is more expensive to visit, also. See website for most recent prices.
They do have a nice gift shop. I got a nifty bush hat for $28. Not too shabby! Better than the hats I've seen at Banana Republic!
In the park one takes a motor tram on the tour. There are areas where one can walk around, but the park is very large and the tram is best way to see everything in a day.
It's worth the time and money to visit. I'd rather come here than the prison-er-zoo!
for allof you animal lovers this is a must see. alot of walking but well worth it...the things this place does to create a natural habitate for the animals is great. it is an ongoing process and still remolding so bare with them...lots of baby animals this time of year...not bad food in the park either. and for you smokers...there are places to do that. and you can also buy alcohol there if you feel you must...
I had been burnt out on zoo's for a number of years even the San Deigo zoo. Then I went to the Wild Animal Park. It was great to see animals running around, in realistic terrains, not just in tiny habitats. The facilties were great for animals and humans. I've never had such a great time at any animal housing area. Well worth the drive up (plus the drive is senic).
Can also be done as day trip from Orange county with ease.
Today (March 18th) I went to the Wild Animal Park, accompanied by 7 small children! We arrived at 10.30 and left at 4pm, so spent a decent amount of time there. From 'The Heart of Africa' to the 'Kilimanjaro Safari Walk' we saw gorillas, rhinos, giraffe, tigers and elephants, to name the big ones. Unlike a zoo, and as the name suggests, the animals here have huge amounts of room to move around and live in. Take the 'Wgasa Bush Line' railway and enjoy an hour tour of the park's more remote areas, where you'll see a baby giraffe (as of now), white rhinos and the above mentioned. You'll also get to see stunning Californian scenery.
As with most zoos/parks, there's a decent selection of food here - sandwiches, burgers, salads. We payed $6.25 for a sandwich, which came with fries, so it's not too expensive, but not cheap either. Drinks are expensive, so bring bottled water with you.
A tip for the railway - we had to wait for 40 mins. to board the train, so prepare for queues. You're not supposed to eat or drink on the train, but there's no-one to enforce this, you can bring bags onto the train, and to expect you not to drink for an hour on a hot day is quite frankly a bit ridiculous.
If you've got the time and money, go on the 'Photo Caravan' tour. You can ride in a safari truck and get up close to the animals and feed giraffes. The four tours range from 1hour, to 3 1/2 hours and cost from $69 to $130, but the person I spoke to recommends booking early as they're popular, though I'm guessing the cheaper tours fill up more quickly!
Park opens from 9am-4pm, and the grounds close at 5pm. Cost: Adults $26, Children: $19.50. It's cheaper to get a joint ticket for the park and SD Zoo, but that's if you're planning on going to both. We joined as members, which works out very cheap, but you have to live in zip codes 90000-92999. Worth it if you live in the area.
The San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park is located at 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, California on 1,700 acres. The Park is open 365 days a year. Winter hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (grounds close at 5 p.m.) through June 18, 2004. Summer hours (Park at Dark): 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (grounds close at 10 p.m.) June 19 through September 6, 2004. Fall hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (grounds close at 5 p.m.) September 6 through December 9, 2004. Festival of Lights hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (grounds close at 9 p.m.) December 10 through 23, and December 26 through 30, 2004.
General admission (includes Park admission, the Wgasa Bush Line Railway, all shows and exhibits): Adults (ages 12 and over) $26.50
The best time with the least crowds is weekday mornings. The Railway is a 5-mile, 55-minute guided tour experience takes you to the remote Africa and Asia enclosures to see the 4,000 animals as you've never seen them before. The railway is included with your admission.
I imagined this to be like a safari park were you could drive through however it isn't. When you arrive you will have to pay 6 dollars to park your car, which I thought was a bit of a con. Then the entry into the park is about 26 dollars for an adult. The park featured a train ride which lasted an hr and took you on safari. This was good with lots of rhinos and bucks, but driving round would of been better. You can pay extra for a jeep tour but that is expensive and limited in numbers. Its a really nice place for the conservation of these animals but I do feel that to see both the zoo and the wildlife park is expensive and is doubling up a little.
The wildlife park is good if you want to see the animals interacting but I feel the zoo is more value for money.
You can also walk round lots of the exhibits in the wildlife park and feed the giraffes if they are not being fed by the people on the jeep tours.
As great as the zoo is, I prefer the Wild Animal Park. This is a great chance to see animals in as close to an authentic setting as possible. It is a huge complex full of all the exotic animals you can imagine. There is a great collection of exotic birds as well. The only downside is that it can be a little hit or miss. I just hope you don't have bad luck and go when the animals are hiding. Try to avoid going when it's hot, because the animals will be nowhere in sight.
Open daily - 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (grounds close at 5 p.m.) thru June 16
Located 32 miles north of the San Diego Zoo, the Wildlife Animal Park offers a completely different experience than a visit to the zoo. View herds of exotic animals in a natural setting.
The highlight of the visit was a ride on the Wgasa Bush Line Railway, which is an electric monorail ride that takes you on an incredible, 60-minute guided tour of the Wild Animal Park's major field exhibits.
If you prefer an up-close-and-personal look at the free-roaming animals, you can take one of the Photo Caravan tours in the back of a truck (requires advanced reservations).
It is a fantastic place to see various types of animals in the open. They are not in cages and are much comfortable in their nearly natural habitat created in this place.
There are different villages with different types of birds and animals. You can explore these places on foot at your own pace. Just remember, that it is a huge place, and if you want to explore each village in detail, you will need more than a day. However, it is possible to pick and choose the villages/shows you are interested in and cover those in 1 day.
Basic ticket ($26.50/adult, $19.50/child) includes park admission, the Wgasa Bush Line Railway and all shows/exhibits. The 1-hour rail tour covers the entire place and gives a good overview of the different types of animals. It is great for the budget-minded traveler and for families.
If you are a wildlife photographer or want to touch some of the animals, I highly recommend the Photo Caravan Tour (about $100/person) which takes you up close and personal with the giraffes for the perfect Kodak moment.
In fact, I recommend the Wild Animal Park over the San Diego Zoo, since animals are caged in the Zoo.
San Diego Wild Animal Park is 20 times bigger than the world-famous San Diego Zoo, and lets you see the animals somewhat closer to their natural habitat. Beautiful scenery also adds to the experience.
Today, the Park has over 3,500 animals representing 260 species, and is also an accredited botanical garden.
You can ride a tram around the entire park (it is 1,800 acres, so it's pretty tiresome to try to see everything in one day, especially if walking everywhere!) and see all the main areas. The tram is free.
There are also themed tours that you can take, like special photo caravans, behind-the-scenes tours etc that take you closer to the animals. Sounds pretty interesting, but is so expensive I haven't tried it (yet?).
watch the shows at San Diego Wild Animal Park, it's always nice to take a leisure ride on the tram tour in the park, but the wild animal show, bird show and elephant show are so good, I never get bored at watching them, especially when my favorite animal racoon is the star of the show, just by looking at the cute little face is worth the trip.
The Wild Animal Park is different than the zoo in that it allows you to really become a part of the animal's habitats. You take a electric monorail throughout the park and have the opportunity to get really close to the animals. If interested you can feed the Baringo Giraffes. Beware it is HOT during the summer months.
The Bird sanctuary is very nice (though a little smelly). You seea lot of exotic birds over there.
There is also a bird show.
Be sure to take the Wagassa bush line train ride.
Wild Animal Park www.wildanimalpark.com
you get to see the animals of Africa on acres and acres of land, not in cages like a zoo, but all interacting as they do naturally