Sunday, January 22, 2012

San Diego Zoo Safari Park


On Friday we both took the day off work so that we could go to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido.  It had been a few years since we’d been there.  We purchased San Diego Zoo memberships last February and they were about to expire.  We had gone to Nighttime Zoo this past summer, but hadn’t been to Safari Park with our membership.   
After lunch, we headed over to Safari Park (formerly Wild Animal Park). It was a gorgeous and clear day, temperature in the 60’s. The drive there was beautiful and rustic.  It’s so weird to me that a couple of miles off the I-15 becomes so rural. We got to the Safari Park and parked with no problem.  It was good to go on a Friday, because it was a lot less crowded than the weekend.  Parking was $7 for members.  They've remodeled and moved things around, such that we didn’t recognize where anything was.  We walked around and saw meerkats.  They were standing around, so cute! 

Check out this little one… awww!

All standing up and lined up.  Meerkats really crack me up!
In 2008 we had the chance to go to a meerkat reserve in the Morongo Valley, where we got to hold and feed meerkats. So our affinity for them is quite strong!

A map of the Safari Park.

I love looking at gibbons swinging around so gracefully with their long limbs.

We headed to the Safari Tram and was pleasantly surprised to find virtually no lines.  A group of us waited about five minute and a tram came and we boarded.
On the Africa Tram Tour.

The exhibits at Safari Park were created to simulate real living conditions for the animals in Africa.  Many different types of animals live together in peace, in the open.

A herd of giraffes.

A rare sight.  A cheetah on a tree limb.  Soon after we saw him he ran off and laid down in the grass.

A giraffe close-up.

Some antelope.

This giraffe family was in an enclosure because they’re new to the park and not yet acclimated.

A rhinoceros resting in a sand pit.

A family of buffaloes.  Look at the little baby, he’s only 2 days old!

The zebras were the only species living in an enclosure.  We were told that they don’t get along with others and will try to get in fights.

At the end of the tour, we came upon this sight.  A female lion (left) and male lion (right) taking a nap.  Wow!

The tram ride was 30 minutes.  Then we headed over to the “Frequent Flyers” bird show, where we saw many birds including an Andean Condor. 
The birds were flying too fast for my camera to get a good shot.

After that, we hung out by the gorilla enclosure and saw a family of gorillas, including mom, baby, and dad! 

Size comparison between Todd and a gorilla.

We ended the visit with the Cheetah Run at 3:30, which was spectacular.  The cheetah is the fastest land mammal.  During the Cheetah Run, the cheetah races on a straight 330-foot-long track that allows the cheetah to really stretch its legs and reach an astounding speed: 0 to 70 miles per hour in just 4 seconds while chasing a mechanical lure attached to its favorite toy. 

Here’s the track that the cheetah runs on.

Even my DSLR was too slow to capture a good shot of the cheetah running at full speed.

Here she is, after the run and after eating her treats.  She’s gorgeous.

A parting photo of us in front of the Safari Park entrance.

After leaving Safari Park around 4:15, we went south on I-15 and went to Wahini Kai Shave Ice.  Todd loved it the first time we went, and kept talking about going back.  We shared a large (Big Kahuna) pink lemonade with azuki beans, and vanilla ice cream. 
It was so good.  Even better than most of the shave ice we've had in Hawaii! 

We had an awesome day off on Friday.  I love 3-day weekends.


  1. Thanks for sharing. We've only been to the SD Zoo. Looks like you had a very nice day off. Have a good week.

  2. 3-day weekends are fantastic! Like your pics from the safari zoo.
    We visited a similar park two years ago.
    It was a wonderful experience


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