Discounts available online or with a Go San Diego pass.
I can't believe I have lived my whole life in Souther California and just now am making it to the Wild Animal Park. It was a spectacular experience. It was like the zoo on steroids. I am used to seeing a few animals in a small space moving and eating, but here the animals are in vast plains and fields.
We were fortunate to see all the highlights. The lions awake, the Cheetah Run ( cheetah vs. dog in a timed race), caught the end of the bird show, and spent 1 1/2 at the amazing playground. Not that it is that amazing, but a playground at the zoo is just better than any other playground, as confirmed by the swarm of kids in the happy space. There was a ton of walking but we took lots of stops and the trails were well paved for strollers.
I was confused about the tram at first, but it turned out to be included in the ticket we bought and we were able to do the basic ride with no additional fee. The loop we took was a little shorter than I expected but the kids were fascinated and we learned a ton.
By far the best part of the day was Robert The Talking Zebra. He is a cartoon zebra on a large outdoor TV screen. There is a hidden camera so the operator can interact with the kids that walk up to the screen. Robert asked my son his name and remembered him all 3 times we visited that day. Check with the attendant to find out when Robert is available for viewing. :)
It was great. Lots to look at and do. There was so many different animals and my kids loved taking the safari train around and looking at the animals in the plains as well. Look it up online first because we got a sizable discount on tickets by printing them out ourselves!
If you have a little one, under two, save your money and go to the Zoo. We saw most of the same animals at the zoo and we couldn't do the up close and personal ride w the animals because my son was too small. He seemed bored wanted to plays the sings moe than walking so far to see the animals.
I don't like zoos. And I especially don't like zoos in the heat. I don't know how I was so blessed to have my first trip to the SD Zoo Safari Park be in the misty rain and experience it for what it is, "a breeding area." This is what everyone who worked there referred to the park...a place for the animals to breed. And boy, did we see the results! We saw a baby gorilla (playful), baby giraffe (adorable) and baby elephants (better than Dumbo). And because of the rain, we were informed the animals were more likely to be seen, awake and in my opinion, in good moods.
The highlight of the trip was when we stumbled upon the Lion's eating time and were able to watch them being fed through a metal door. We were three feet from the woman feeding them and watched them enjoy their lunch of ground beef. She even had the male lion (as she did a tummy and teeth check) stand up for us. It was grand. He is a magnificent being and considering they sleep 20 hours a day, we were honored to witness this.
After the lions, we went on the Africa tram that took us around different regions of Africa and the animals they contain. Our guide on the mic was funny and touching and animated and upon hearing his stories of each animal, I could tell her was passionate about his job and these beautiful creatures. Not only was the guide stellar, but every employee of the park we came across was kind and helpful.
There are a couple of food courts that had pretty tasty food that included good vegetarian choices. The food is expensive, but isn't all food at Southern California parks ?
I have to add that this was my daughter's field trip for school so her admission price was free and mine was only $12. In addition, the Africa tram that is usually $15, was $5 for us. So my usual cheap self was able to enjoy the park for what it is and not keep wondering if the experience was worth the price. We had a perfect day of no heat, no crowds and little money spent. Perhaps we'll have a different experience when we go back, but after today, I know we will return. Plus, we still have the zip line to do!
honestly - you can imagine you are in another country when looking out over the vast grounds of the safari park! it is gorgeous! the flora is unbelievable! if you're not so interested in the animals - but are interested in native landscaping - this would make you happy!
the animal habitats are awesome too! the safari tour is a must! great picnic areas as well!
they have an overnight package (snore & roar) where you can sleep in the park and hear the nighttime voices of the lions and wake to the calls of the birds - but haven't done that yet. definitely on our to do list!
What I remember most about my trip to the Wild Animal Park is the birds. At one point we went into a place that was netted off for the birds, and we actually got to buy nectar to feed them. Seeing the kids hold out the nectar and the birds come land on their arms to get to it was priceless. It also made for some great photos of the kids and the birds. The day I went it was close to 100 degrees outside, but we still had a blast.
I remember as a child going to the zoo in England and the wild life would really come up to your car. You know like you see on afv…when the giraffe comes to your window and says hello. Well don’t expect this at the wildlife park. I do understand why it can't be like that any more. You are typically very far away from the wildlife. Which is of course fine…but it may not be what you were imagining before you paid your hefty fee to get in. Having done it once, I don’t know if we would go back. I think the San Diego zoo is a more gratifying experience for young children…just my opinion…
We did however love the butterfly exhibit…if you can get your children to stand still long enough the butterflies come and land on you…It was wonderful to see so many butterflies in one place…magical even…but not quite sure that makes it worth the price of admission…for us…for now…
This is a fun place to visit. It's a lot smaller than the zoo but has amazing hills to walk if you want to push strollers up hills. I haven't really been on a lot of the rides but the few I have been on are pretty fun. You can pretty much always see the lions in the lion exhibit! You do have to pay for parking, whereas at the zoo you don't.
The park is a great accent to the famous (and wonderful) San Diego Zoo. It has great exhibits, and is beautifully themed. Be prepared, however, for a TON of walking. Just to get to the Journey into Africa tour (which is a MUST DO, by the way) is one of the longest walks in the park.
All of this walking can be a bit overwhelming for little ones just out of the stroller, but not ready to take on a marathon. By the time we reached the tour, I was so thankful I had packed more snacks than I thought reasonable as the perpetual snacking was the only thing keeping my kids going.
I will definitely return to this park, when my kids are a bit older, a bit more prone to walking, and a bit less prone to whining about walking :)
Pick either the zoo or the wild animal kingdom. We did one on Fri and the other 2 days later. Looked like a cool place to go. Main problem is that we had just bee to a zoo and were done seeing animals. Due to the openness of the animal pens wasn't able to see some of the animals. The safari ride might have been cool. Didn't stay more than 2 hours.
What a wonderful place to go with your family! There are expansive walking trails with native plants, shaded areas for picnics, and beautiful views. It can be very hot in the Summer. Afternoon/evening is recommended in the hot months. There is quite a bit of walking involved. It's not like going to the Zoo where you run into animal after animal.
Our favorite thing to do on a weekend. The views you get of the animal is a native like habitat is unmatched! If you visit San Diego often, (more than 2 or 3 times a year), it is well worth enrolling your kids in the koala club, which give them free admission to both the Wild Animal Park, and The San Diego Zoo, and a monthly magazine as well! Dont miss all the trails off the beaten path here, really for "exploring".
Wonderful experience in the Wild park Safari. Offers close interaction with the wild life. Very educative when travelling with kids. Lots of exhibits and the animals are in the natural surrounding compared to a zoo. Can feed Giraffe and be licked for a wonderful photo to preserve
a year pass is pretty cheap and I recommend to everyone. Parking is free at the Zoo which we love. We love going and taking the tram tour and just being able to relax and look at all the different animals. The zoo has pretty steep hills and if you have strollers it can be challenging so we take the tram so the kids can be unstrapped and listen to a guilded tour. with the tram you get to see 90% of the park. The birds are fun, you can buy food and have a chance to feed them and get your picture taken.
Zoos have always been fun for us, but it is always a bit sad to think of the animals in cages and so clearly out of their natural habitat. At the Wild Animal park it is so nice for children to see animals as they would be naturally, diferent species together and in huge, open spaces. I took my one year old son there and we enjoyed the tram ride around the park and the carousel. We also enjoyed feeding the giraffes. I can't wait to take him back now that he is older!
We've been to the Wild Animal Park a few times and we always have a good time. It's a little different then the zoo. You can take a tour on a tram and see how the animals interact with one another and what there habitats would be like. There's face painting, a play area, decent food and it's clean. Always a good time.
Maybe my family just went on an off day, but we didn't love the San Diego Wild Animal Park. It was a cold, wet rainy day, which was actually ok since the park was almost empty. We made the mistake of taking the tour right off. The person doing the tour was AWFUL & we were stuck for a long time. The kids got bored. After the tour, we did enjoy walking around & looking at the animals, though. The plant life is amazing. It is also a bit of a drive, so I don't think we'll be going back again anytime soon.
This park was a lot of fun. I am not sure how great it is for little kids though. It was hard for my little one to see the animals because they are far away when you drive by them and stuff. We saw a huge lion way up close though, and it was really awesome! Maybe a little more for older children and adults, even though my kids would not complain that we went.
The Wild Animal Park is a must when in San Diego. We went in January, so there weren't as many animals out, but still enough to make it worth the trip. The park offers a stay over night option that I would really love to do some time, but it's something I would only consider with children who are a bit older.
If you have youngsters and are looking for an animal theme park, then your best bet is probably to head over to San Diego Zoo. The Wild Animal Park was amazing, but animals are in an expansive habitat, and commonly hiding in the shade or in nooks and crannies, so our young son could not spot the animals he was so excited to see.
But, they have a couple of great splash pads, so bring bathing suits and a towel for little ones. And, if yours dozes off on a hot day, head to the gift shop to escape the heat while your kiddo catches his or her zzzz's :-)