Wild Animal Park, Photos and Information - San Diego, California

Take a Safari through Africa at San Diego's Wild Animal Park!

San Diego Wild Animal Park is a 1,800-acre wildlife preserve featuring 38 endangered species of mammals and 11 endangered species of birds amongst its collection of over 3,500 exotic animals. They roam the park as they might have done in their native Asia andd  Africa (modifications have been implemented to keep species thriving).   A tram ride allows guests to see animals roaming in their habitat and for an additional fee, you can get up close and personal with a customized photo safari.


Located 32 miles northeast of its sister, San Diego Zoo, and operated under the auspices of the San Diego Zoological Society, the Wild Animal Park doesn't look or feel like a zoo. 20 times larger than the San Diego Zoo, the entry gate doesn't give much away in terms of what to expect but when you wander inside, everything feels different. It's a dream realized for naturalists who thinks zoos are cruel to animals. For tourists accustomed to seeing row upon row of cages  and a show, that aspect of the park is very low key.


What you soon discover as you wind your way back to the tram (the zoo train ended a decades-long run as the park scrapped the train, saying the could no longer find parts to operate it) is that this is the heart of action. It is where you will be allowed to watch from a distance in an open car the animals living, grazing, resting and running out on huge plains and rolling hills. Your train passes cliffs where you  are challenged to spot the many animals camouflaged in the brown and white rocks.  The ride is interesting and can be full of surprises.  While animals are well fed, they are not tamed here so you never know what to expect. 


If you are seeking a thrill ride such as a vertical drop on a roller coaster, this is not be the place to visit. There are several shows such as a popular bird demonstration which has been around in one form or another for many years.  The park realizes the need to educate and entertain the public to help bring in necessary funding support. But it is easy to see that this place was created to help the animals and its list of successes and "firsts" are many. If you seek something different, go out of your way and drive to Escondido to the San Diego Wild Animal Park.

The San Diego Wild Animal Park is located off Interstate 5 between Orange County/ Los Angeles area and San Diego in the city of Escondido.  Take the State Route 78 east exit at Oceanside, proceed east to Interstate 15 south, exit at Via Rancho Parkway and follow the signs to the  Park. From Interstate 15 (Riverside), exit at Via  Rancho Parkway and follow the signs east to the  Park. 


Hours: The Wild Animal Park is open 365 days a year. General admission with parking is around $30 (give or take a few) but you must call the park to get the current admission prices and hours of operation.

Photo Caravan Tours and the Wgasa Bush Line Railway, a five mile, 55 minute guided tour  takes guests to the remote Africa and Asia enclosures. Preferred Boarding --  Why wait in line for the train? On  busy days preferred boarding is now available. Purchase a special preferred boarding passage to the Wgasa Bush Line Railway and board the next train out.


Get up close and personal to Lions, Flamingos, Giraffes and a host of exotic birds and wild animals. Watch the playful Meerkats but be warned! The cute little critters are addictive to watch.


Shows at the park include bird shows, lion shows, elephant shows and dancers and drum rhythms from unique, costumed performers. The shows are entertaining, as are the exhibits and educational opportunities. Not just entertaining, however, guests are given soft doses of environmentally-friendly recommended practices for helping conserve and assist diminishing lands for many animals that are becoming extinct and found only in places such as San Diego's Wild Animal Park.  www.sandiegozoo.org

15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido CA  Info:  760-747-8702.  wild animal park photo animal safari wild animal park

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