If you didn’t already see our Twilight Caravan Safari post, we had a very close encounter and got to feed rhinos and giraffes. The safaris are the highlight of the San Diego Wild Animal Park, but in addition to their safaris, they have a walkable part of the zoo too. The exhibits are only a small percentage of the park, but still worthwhile. Did you know that this property is much bigger than the San Diego Zoo? It can actually fit 180 San Diego Zoos!
We arrived at the safari park 2 hours before our scheduled Safari and immediately headed over to the tigers exhibit. We have a thing for cats, big and small. ;)
The Cheetah Run was our favorite exhibit. This unique demonstration shows their cheetah, Shirley, sprint across their 330-foot-long track. It only happens once a day at 3:30 PM, and there are long lines. Pro tip: Go at least 30 minutes early or purchase the $12 ticket where you are in your own viewing area (see below photo on left where there is plenty of space) or you can even do a full behind the scenes experience with cheetahs.
Did you know that every Cheetah has a domestic dog buddy that they are paired with? Since cheetahs are cautious animals, it helps having a buddy who is naturally comfortable with people and will help assure that the interaction will be okay.
I’ve actually never seen a bat this close before or awake!
San Diego Zoo is one of the leading organizations in the world when it comes to breeding programs and conservation efforts. The revolutionary idea to even build a space this large was driven by creating habitats that are as realistic as their natural habitats, including the amount of space that each animal has!
Pro Tips for visiting the San Diego Wild Animal Park:
- Give yourself 3 hours or more to see everything in the park. We only had 2 hours, mainly focusing on seeing the big cats and gorillas.
- Unlike the traditional zoos, the Safari Park offers a wide range of really unique ways to encounter the animals. They have Balloon Safaris, Jungle Ropes Safaris, Caravan Safaris, Flightline Safaris and more.
- There are plenty of food and drink options at the park, but bring a small backpack with a water bottle (these are our favorite travel water bottles) that you can refill.
- Parking costs $12, so if you’re going with a group, try to carpool!
- For the photographers out there, bring a telephoto lens to get some great shots.
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen so that you can reapply while you’re there.
Are there any animal encounters you’d like to do?
What are your favorite exhibits?
A huge thank you to San Diego Zoo Safari Park for hosting our visit.
All opinions, photos, and text are our own.
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