San Diego Safari Park
For Christmas I was given an annual pass for the San Diego Safari Park. The annual pass is great because you can go anytime you want and only spend a few hours there if you choose because you can always come back another day. Parking is also included in the pass so the price of gas is all you’ll need. The San Diego Zoo is also included in the package.
I have to admit I was put off at first off by the prices of food and drink at the park, but then I realized that the park is non-profit so all money earned goes back to the upkeep of the animals and the park. However, you can bring in your own food and there are plenty of picnic areas around the park.
The park is 1,800 acres in the San Pasqual Valley near Escondido, California. It is home to a large variety of wild animals including species from the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and Australia. You will see elephants, giraffes, rhinoceros, lemurs, antelopes, lions, tigers, cheetahs, gorillas, and more.
We just explored half of the park and saved the other half for another day. We also plan on doing some of their extra safaris which are not included in the price of admission. Included in the general admission is the Africa Tram Safari which takes you to the Africa plains for a 30-minute open air truck ride. The other safaris cost a little more because you get a much closer look and personal tour of the animals. As an example, I saw in the distance one of the trucks stopped and it appeared that they were feeding the giraffes which to me would be a great experience. The tram ride will take you farther out into the park to see places where the walking trail doesn’t go.
The zip line platform can be seen way up on the hill, giving its thrill seekers a view of the whole park as they speed down the line. The Jungle Rope Safari looks fun too but a little bit of work for my taste as you traverse through the trees on a series of rope bridges, tightropes, swing logs, etc. For your safety, you are clipped in with a safety harness and given instructions before you start. There are also behind the scenes safaris as well as overnight stays, dinner events, and more. There is also a giant hot air balloon that takes you up 400 feet to get bird’s eye view of the park.
Gazing over the park from one of the many outlooks, it actually looks like you are looking over the plains of Africa or somewhere else. Most of the park is wide open with enclosures to separate some of the animals. You don’t want your kids viewing a lion chasing after a cute little antelope. There is a mix of different species scattered over the plains and fields, but they are animals that naturally get along with each other in the wild.
The gorilla enclosure is always interesting to watch. Gorillas are fascinating to me maybe because they are the closest thing to humans. Yet they cross the line between being cute while young and then scary looking when they are older. They looked content relaxing in the shade while getting fed bananas from the zookeepers. I giggled thinking that one looked like me in the morning, hair standing straight up, eyes half closed, and eating a banana for breakfast. I am hoping that is the only similarity.
The lions were all asleep but I was able to snap a few shots when they opened their eyes for a brief moment. I didn’t make it out to the tigers this time but will next visit.
The new Lemur Walk exhibit lets you walk on a path through their natural habitat. Evidently, they can come right up to you sometimes; however, as cute as they are, you are instructed by the park employee not to touch them. Sadly, the lemurs weren’t interested in us this day as they relaxed in the shadows.
Even though they don’t do much except stand there, the elephants are always fun to observe. A few younger elephants were in the enclosure and in the distance you could see a few huge males.
We decided that we had seen enough for one day but will come back to see the animals and exhibits that we missed this time.
All the sleeping animals made me tired and I just wanted to sit in the shade away from the sun drenched San Pasqual Valley. Also, for some reason, I had a craving for a banana smoothie. Don’t know what that is all about but still enjoyed my day at the San Diego Safari Park.