San Diego Zoo Safari Park | RTX Traveler Magazine

Zoo_2_webWhile it was never intended to be open to the public, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park now has more than 2 million visitors each year, and is one of the top attractions in the San Diego area. About 45 minutes inland from Carlsbad, the Park is well worth a visit, especially with the deals available when purchasing combo tickets for the Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo.

More than half of the park’s 1,800 acres is set aside as protected native species habitat, and that leaves a lot for visitors to explore. With more than 3,000 animals from more than 400 species, the park showcases herd-style animals from the plains and savannas of Africa and Asia. Take a tram ride through the savanna and see the rhinos, giraffes, antelope and more interact and live as they would in the wild.

Originally founded in 1969 as a conservation and preservation park for both animals and plants, the park has successfully bred more than 40,000 baby animals, many of which have been reintroduced into the wild in efforts to save and enhance endangered species. The park’s renowned botanical collection represents 3,500 species and 1.5 million specimens, and many endangered plants have also been reentered into the wild thanks to the park’s efforts.

The park exhibits all of its animals in the most natural way possible, with entertainment and animal presentations throughout the day. Best of all, visitors can choose their own safari, with a variety of options that cater to all ages and interests. The whole family will enjoy the Africa Tram Safari, an open-air tram that travels around the African field exhibits. For a more intimate experience, tour the Africa or Asia fields with a Cart Safari or get up close and personal with the giraffes on the Caravan Safari.

Adventurous kids and adults can see the part from a birds-eye view with the Flightline Safari zipline, and the Jungle Ropes Safari offers a bit of a challenge. Check the park’s calendar for daily events like the cheetah run and the elephant keeper presentation, as well as for the schedule of performances at the park, like African dancing or acrobats.

While walking from the Gorilla Forest to the African Woods and through the Lion Camp to Elephant Valley, Tiger Territory and Condor Ridge, you’ll likely work up an appetite. There are plenty of eateries throughout the park, many of which are in centrally-located Nairobi Village, where it’s easy to take a break for shopping, a carousel ride or to take in the entertainment.

Zoo_1-webThe park is fun and fascinating for kids of all ages, with a message of preservation and conservation throughout that everyone can take away from the experience. Be sure to check out the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on your next Carlsbad vacation!

Tip: Visit in the morning or late afternoon/early evening to witness the most animal activity.

Tip: If you or the kids get thirsty in the park (which you will), pay the extra change for the souvenir cup and take advantage of cheap refills during the rest of your visit to the park, as well as to the San Diego Zoo.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park
15500 San Pasqual Valley Road
Escondido, CA 92027
(760) 747-8702
Hours of Operation
The park opens every day of the year at 9 a.m.
Closing times vary depending on the season.
Call or visit the website for details.




Thanks to San Diego Zoo Global for providing photos for this article.

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