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San Diego Zoo Safari Park

15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, California

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, part of the larger San Diego Zoo, is an 1,800-acre (728-hectare) open-range park housing some 3,500 animals from about 430 species. The park’s open layout allows herds of giraffes, zebras, rhinos, and other animals indigenous to Africa to roam the recreated valley floor.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park offers many safe animal encounters, including photo caravan rides, balloon safaris, and safari truck tours that pull up right alongside various animals. Stand ringside at the cheetah run and experience the incredible speed of these big cats, or ride the Africa Tram, an open-air, soft-wheeled tram that carries you around a natural environment that feels like the African plains.

Amphitheaters in the park feature shows and presentations throughout the day, such as keeper talks about the Sumatran tigers and flight shows featuring birds of prey. Some San Diego Zoo Safari Park tours from the city offer transportation to the main San Diego Zoo as well, including admission to one or both parks (typically over two days).

  • The Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo are 32 miles (52 kilometers) apart, about a 45-minute drive between the two.

  • Given San Diego’s sunny clime, take a sunhat and sunscreen.

  • Lockers and luggage storage are available.

  • Several restaurants inside the park sell food, or you can bring your own; picnic areas are available.

  • The park is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. An ADA shuttle transports guests with mobility challenges around the large park, and wheelchairs are available for rent.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is 34 miles (54 kilometers) north of San Diego, in the San Pasqual Valley near Escondido in Southern California. Paid on-site parking is available.

The park is open daily year-round with general hours from 9am to 5pm. The park is enormous and the animals are often most active in the early morning, so arrive close to opening and plan to spend the whole day.

Kids love animals, so this wild animal park is a natural fit for little ones. Stroller rentals are available at the front of the park, and there are several play areas to burn off energy, including the Tiger Trail Play Area, the Village Playground, and the Savanna Cool Zone. Nairobi Village also includes a petting zoo and an animal nursery.

Yes. The San Diego Safari Park is worth it if you love animals and are excited to learn more about them. You can take the bus around the park to save on walking everywhere, or if you want to get some steps in, there is plenty of ground to cover.

Most months are great for visiting the San Diego Safari Park, but try to avoid the hot summer months. It can get dry and dusty, and the sun can beat down on you in the summer, so stay hydrated and wear proper clothes if you go.

You can spend up to an entire day at the San Diego Safari Park, depending on how much you want to see, how long you stay at each exhibition, and if you have members of your party who need naps. You can also take the bus tour to get an overview in a shorter time.

No, planning the San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park in one day is not a good idea. They are each huge, so you’ll want to maximize your time at each place. Plus, they are around a 40-minute freeway drive from each other.

No, you cannot drive your own car through the San Diego Safari Park. You park in the lot, walk to the entrance, and from there, you can either walk through the park or hop on the bus for a thorough overview of the area.

Not necessarily. You can purchase your tickets online or at the San Diego Zoo or Safari Park. If you book online, you will avoid waiting in lines under the hot sun, which might make for a smoother day out, especially if young kids are involved.


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