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“Better than the zoo??” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park
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US$52.00*
and up
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Ranked #1 of 53 things to do in Escondido
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Step into an adventure like no other at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park! Your exciting safari experience includes seeing herds of rhinos, giraffes, antelope, zebras, and more roaming natural habitats, a choice of guided safari expeditions, and beautiful walking trails to see exotic animals. Come experience the excitement of getting up close and personal with rare Sumatran tigers at Tiger Trail, the Safari Park's newest experience!
Useful Information: Activities for young children
Key West, Florida
Level Contributor
20 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Better than the zoo??”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 March 2012

We loved the zoo, repeat visitors, but the safari park offered things the zoo can't. If you're willing to pay an extra $100 or so per person, then the truck ride in the exhibits is something you should do. We got to hand feed giraffes and endangered rhinos!! The guide is there with just 15 max occupants, so it's very personal, you can ask questions, and you learn a great deal. They also have one of the countries longest zip lines and Segway tours. If you like the zoo, then you'll love this place. I would say the zoo is better for younger kids though.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank showaltermt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Greenville, South Carolina
Level Contributor
47 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“A Must See”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 March 2012

From the minute you enter the park you are transported to another continent! I LOVE the San Diego Zoo, but the Safari Park is better! Out in the country, lots of open space, so many different animals, well marked, and for some reason just not as "touristy." We walked and pushed a stroller, and rode the tram (twice), ate ice cream, and had a thoroughly wonderful time viewing the wildlife. If you can only take in one tourist attraction this should be it!

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank anderson13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Defiance, Missouri
Level Contributor
39 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“So Disappointing........”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 March 2012

We went with high expectations of viewing exotic animals in wide open areas. Many of the viewing areas were obstructed from overgrown vegetation and the animals are so far away it is a bit hard to determine what exactly you are viewing.

We were there during the offseason however we were unable to find a snack bar open until after 1 PM to be able to given get a a bottle of water!

The saddest part of our visit was the Gorillas, I have never viewed animals with such spirit broken they appeared to be in agony. Our family could not wait to leave, pure waste of $150 for an unadventurous hike on poorly maintained trails. Highlight of the adventure was a stray bunny on one of the trails.

Visited February 2012
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Thank ParadiseBlond
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sacramento, California
Level Contributor
47 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“Great, in spite of being a little too commercial.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 March 2012

Around 1970, the San Diego Zoo (probably the best zoo in the world at the time) decided to start an open environment where endangered animals could be encouraged to breed (which they normally will not do in enclosed zoo environments). Soon, the zoo found that people would pay to see these animals in near-native settings, without obvious enclosures. Visits to what was then called the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park started in the seventies.

Fairly recently, the Zoo renamed the facitlity the "Safari Park" and added a touristy African theme that kind of gets in the way for me, but the park is still a top attraction.

My husband and I spent most of a day there midweek in March, which is certainly not high tourist season. The part was visibly populated, but not crowded. I might not have enjoyed it on a crowded day.

I thought I'd post a few specifics for people who might think to go there (not how to get there, which is easily found on the internet, but how it is once you get there).

The park has a huge parking lot, and the hike from there to the entrance is uphill (yeah!, at the end of the day it is downhill!). The ticket purchase process is well explained (which truck and tram rides do you want?), and the entrance is obvious. Good maps of the grounds are freely available.

A lot of the grounds are tourable on foot (although doing all of it would be impossible for most people at one time. Pick the things you would like to see (my preference was birds and gorillas) and build a tour from there. The open area is covered by the African Tram and several more intimate tours. We took the Africa Tram (50 minutes) and that, together with walking a lot, gave us a great tour.

The venue seems to be very well accessible to people in wheelchairs or strollers, and it's very kid-friendly. There is food and drink available everywhere.

My recommendation would be that this is a great place to visit when it is not too crowded, but on a day when it is full of people, especially noisy kids, waiting in line will become painful, and some of the animals will be invisible, hiding from the noise.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
Thank ecblisa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
indiana
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Wish I could recommend”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 March 2012

Wanted to love this place since we blew a whole day here but it was disappointing for my husband and I and 10 & 12 year old kids. Weather was very cold and windy so most everything was closed except for 2 gift shops, and one restraunt where I paid $28 for 2 bags of chips, 2 drinks and a small bowl of soup. Outrageous. Took others advice here and stood for 30 minutes at the bridge to see the Cheetah run. Real reason we even came. After shivering in the cold wind for 30 minutes to keep our spot, one minute before it was supposed to start, we were told they moved the location across the park. After the long walk to the carousel area near the entrance, a handler walked the cheetah around and gave facts about it. That was it. I even checked at the entrance when we arrived to make sure the cheetah run would take place that day and the ladies response was " I sure hope so, I've been selling tickets to it all day" I'm sure we weren't the only disappointed patrons. Very poorly handled. Took the tram but did not see anything that wowed us. Actually didn't see anything in the whole park tha wowed us. Wish we had gone to the San Diego Zoo instead.Wasted a day of our vaation.Just can't recommend.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank carolinann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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