Just 32 miles north of San Diego, wild tigers, giraffes, lions, gorillas, all roam freely in their natural habitat. This is the wonder of the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park (formerly the Wild Animal Park), the world-renowned, most authentic animal park outside of Africa. Species at the park represent the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and Australia.
The park spans 1800 acres, houses 3,000 animals of more than 400 species plus 3,500 species of unique plants. These natural habitats present animals as they really live, while also frequently providing visitors the opportunity to come within a few feet of these wild creatures.
Located inland away from the damp sea air, the park's semi-arid environment is the perfect location for one of its most loved attractions: the Journey into Africa tram which takes visitors on a trek to view the park's African exhibits. Living in their natural habitat and free to roam are antelopes, giraffes, cheetahs, lions, elephants, okapis , rhinos, bonobos, zebras, and Przewalski's horses.
This is just one of the park's open-range enclosures, which also include habitats of the Asian Plains, East Africa, North Africa, Asian Waterhole, Southern Africa, and the Mountain Habitat. The zoo includes the largest crash of rhinos in any zoological facility, and one of the only exhibits featuring the endangered California condor in the world.
The zoo's maritime climate is particularly suited to its wildlife, as well as to growing a wide variety of plants and foods particular to the animals' natural habitats. Its arboretum features a rare plant collection and is host to some rare animal foods. For example, the zoo is growing 18 varieties of eucalyptus trees used to feed the koalas, and it raises 40 varieties of bamboo for the pandas.
Among the park's popular exhibits is the Heart of Africa, a walking tour on a winding trail that takes you from Nairobi Village through an African forest and savanna to a cool lake. Along the way, just some of the animals you'll observe are forest dwellers okapi, duikers, and wattled cranes, and plains animals bontebok, warthogs, ground hornbills, cheetahs. Admire the silky-haired colobus monkeys on Primate Island, and flamingos and water fowl on Flamingo Island.
Other exhibits or shows include the Journey in Africa safari tour, Nairobi Village, Condor Ridge, Gorilla Habitat, African Aviary, Elephant Overlook, and Kilimanjaro Safari Walk.
The park is operated by the non-profit Zoological Society of San Diego, the organization that also operates the San Diego Zoo.
- Hours vary based on season, please check website for current hours
- Adults: $37, Children: $27
- Location: 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, CA
- Phone: 760-747-8702
- Website: www.sandiegozoo.org/park