Go Wild at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

June 17, 2014

Animal lovers can go wild at the San Diego Safari Park, a massive 1,800 park dedicated to animal conservation. 

Animal lovers can go wild with their San Diego Safari Park tickets. It's a massive 1,800 park dedicated to animal conservation.  An array of animals can be found here, but the emphasis is on wild and endangered animals.  Exceptional in every way, the park really stood out to me for the natural environments the animals inhabit.  Animals live in large, spread-out areas designed to give animals more room to roam than a typical zoo.  Ready to find out why I think this park is awesome?  Read on.

Educational, engaging, and created to provide animals a natural yet monitored place to thrive, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is home to more than 2,500 animals representing 300 species.  In order to see as much as you can of the park, you will do a lot of walking so wear comfortable shoes.  Be sure to take advantage of the tours and trams, too, to make the most of your visit.  I recommend starting your day with Gorilla Forest, African Woods, and African Outpost.  Weave through Lagoon Loop, then be amazed at the western gorillas before you.  An entire family of western lowland gorillas call the habitat home.  Watch as they play with tire swings and cardboard boxes, all while some of the older gorillas stoically observe.  This was one of my favorite exhibits, as the open-air habitat provided unobstructed views of the animals and made for great photo ops.

The Lemur Walk in the African Woods is a lot of fun, as ring tailed lemurs actively run around you in an enclosed exhibit.  I’ve never experienced these animals up-close, so it was neat to see them frolic and play at this zoo activity.  Take in the scenic vistas atop the elevator deck before heading towards the Balloon Safari attractions.  Do this activity before noon to get a discounted rate for this ride.  It’s well worth the extra money as you enjoy unbelievable views of the Safari Park’s grounds, at heights up to 400 feet.  Modeled after hot air balloon tours of the Serengeti, this is a tethered balloon ride that is smooth, silent, and great fun!  The trip lasts 15-20 minutes, plenty of time to soak up the sights and snap photos.  Wander over to the Lion Camp to see large lions doing what they do best – relaxing in the sun!  Come back to this area at 3:30pm for Cheetah Run.  Witness the fastest land mammal race on a straight 300-foot-long track, reaching top speeds of 70 mph!  Arrive early to get the best vantage points.

Next on your agenda should be the African Tram Tour.  Included in your San Diego Safari Park ticket, the Africa Tram takes you on an exciting expedition through the African Plains.  You’ll connect with animals like giraffes, zebras, and white rhinos.  The white rhinos are a rare sight to see, as there are only seven confirmed living – two of which call the San Diego Safari Park home.  During the African Tram Tour, you’ll also see animals from the Asian Savanna like rhinos and the Oryx antelope, once extinct in the wild.

Another highlight of my day at the Park was Elephant Valley.  The Elephant Viewing Patio and Elephant Overlook provide great spots to sit back and watch these large mammals.  With a large pond and shaded trees creating a natural habitat, it was fun to watch the animals spray themselves (and each other) with water.  The baby elephants were so cute too – I didn’t want to leave!

Meander through Nairobi Village, largely dedicated to smaller animals, to the nursery.  Two lion cubs, born December 2013, can be seen at the Animal Care Center.  Watch them be feed, play with their keeper, and paw around with each other.

For me, these were the must-see sights of the Park.  There really is so much to see and do, not to mention other safari trips to go on and activities to do (for an additional price) that you’ll want to make a day of it.  See sights not available anywhere else in California!  I promise it will be a memorable day.

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