The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is not your typical zoo experience. Located 30 miles north of San Diego on over 1,800 acres of land, the Park offers safari animal encounters like no other. Marvel at a speeding cheetah in African Outpost, be amazed by the California condors on Condor Ridge, or commune with springtime butterflies in Butterfly Jungle. Visitors can experience the thirteen habitats that the expansive safari park provides for its animals in so many ways – walking, Segway, or the free African tram, or with paid extra options like caravan, cart, zip-line, and more. As with any safari, come prepared with sunblock, hat, water, and camera in hand.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park and its sister the San Diego Zoo are two campuses of the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy, dedicated to bringing species back from the brink of extinction. The Conservancy has reintroduced 33 species back into the wild, increased the number of China’s Giant Pandas from 25 to over 100, helped to increase the California condor population from 22 to over 300, and much more. Their Institute for Conservation Research, located next door to the Safari Park, employs over 150 scientists committed to vital research for the conservation of habitats, plants, and animals in 35 countries around the world. Their dedication to the conservation and restoration of endangered species is unsurpassed.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s thirteen habitats are organized in a way where several animals that are natural to the habitat reside together. All visitors enter the park at Safari Base Camp, where shops, restaurants, and the Children’s Discovery Station are located. Nairobi Village houses the animal care facility and the children’s petting zoo. Gorilla Forest houses the gorilla exhibit and an aviary; the Bird Show Amphitheater is located here. African Woods offers a walking path, a restaurant, and children’s jungle gym. African Outpost hosts the Jameson Research Center and Lion Camp; two tours leaving from this site – the add-on Africa Cart Safari tour or the Africa Tram Safari Tour that is included with the price of admission. Guests can picnic, camp, or enjoy the Savannah Cool Zone at The Grove.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, visitors can watch the African elephants at Elephant Valley, or check out a show there in Tembo Stadium. Spot the tigers in Tiger Territory, or check out the high-flying condors or the panoramic African Plains from Condor Ridge. Enjoy the Conifer Forest and Bonsai Pavillion at World Gardens. Check out the horned rhinos on the Asian Savannah, or the giraffes, zebras, and flamingos on the African Plains. These thirteen habitats offer visitors as close an experience as one can get to a real safari without traveling around the world.
With so much to do and see, your best bet is to go to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park website and check out the Plan Your Trip tab. You’ll definitely want to include the African Tram guided tour, the best free way to see the most at the Park. Another must-see is the once-a-day Cheetah Run located in Lion Camp in African Outpost; watch the fastest land mammal reach speeds of up to 70 mph. (The paid Cheetah Safari allows guests to sit trackside.) Be sure to include Lorikeet Landing in Nairobi Village on your visit where guests can purchase nectar to lure colorful rainbow lorikeets to land on them – a definite photo opportunity! Check with a Park guide to see which animals have babies in the Park’s nurseries.
There are several add-on Safaris available at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park for an extra cost. The park offers two guided cart safaris – the African and the Asian animal tours. The Caravan Safari drives guests right into the heart of animal field exhibits where they can touch and feed the animals. The Cheetah Safari allows visitors to sit trackside during cheetah runs. Flightline Safari offers guests the opportunity to zipline 160 feet in the air along a 470 foot line above the animals of the African Plains. Other safaris include the Ultimate Safari, Roar and Snore, and Jungle Ropes; check the San Diego Zoo Safari website for details.
Address: 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd
Escondido, CA 92027
Phone: (760) 747-8702