As parents, watching our kids experience something for the first time is like going back to our own childhood and experiencing it like we were 5 years old again. Don't you agree? At San Diego Zoo Safari Park, experience the animals like never before! See the animals through your kids' eyes at this beautiful and enchanting park.
We spent a day at San Diego Zoo Safari Park and we have a perfect itinerary for you and your family!
The Safari park features special interactive activities, and experiences to connect with wildlife and nature in fun ways. Entertainment and activities include Frequent Flyer show, Robert the Zebra, Cheetah Run (this is a must see), Animal Tales, Animal Presentations, Kids Activity Station, Keeper Talks, and Animal Moments, and more.
We recommend getting there early (like 9am when the park opens), and you can expect to stay there till 5pm (closing). The park is so massive and so beautiful that you wouldn't want to leave until the last minute. If you have little kids, we recommend starting your adventure at Nairobi Village after you take some pictures of the funny little Meerkats on your way. Meerkats look comical when relaxing, sitting on their backside, front paws draped across their stomach. All that's missing are reclining chairs, a bag of chips, and the game on television! see the map of the park.
The Lagoon is absolutely gorgeous with birds flying around and swimming in the lagoon. Standing there, you'll feel as though you are in a post-card.
Make your way to Gorilla Forest, after exploring the lagoon and the Kalahari Cupboards. Seeing the Gorillas in the open is an uplifting experience. They are just fascinating to watch. You just won't get enough of them even though you have probably seen them so many times at different Zoos. There is just something about seeing them so up-close and personal, and not behind a glass.
At 10:30 am, get an up-close look at free-flight bird training at Benbough Amphitheater (Gorilla Forest ) for 15 minutes, then make your way up to Nairobi Village and catch Robert the Zebra at 11:00 am. While you are there, visit the petting zoo and brush some furry animals. Don't forget to take a look at the amazing bats hanging upside down on your way to the petting zoo.
It is lunch time now. Look at the back of your map and you will find plenty of options to choose from for dining. Are you done? Let's go... we have so much to see and enjoy. It is time for some Safari Walk to the Tiger Trial, Condor Ridge, and World Gardens now that the kids are full and hopefully not cranky. The scenery is absolutely breath taking on this trial and your kids will enjoy looking at the wild animals. Keep in mind that this is a bit of a walk. Now head back to the Elephant Valley, and the Grove. There is a cool zone at the Grove, where your kids can play and cool down if the weather permits.
We highly recommend the Cheetah Run at 3:30pm at the Lion Camp after your Grove visit. This is one experience that you won't want to miss. Get there at least 20 minutes prior to the show if you want to catch a good spot. Witness the fastest land mammal up close doing what it does best: run! The spotted sprinter races on a straight 330-foot-long track that allows the cheetah to 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. If you're close enough, you may feel the wind as the cheetah passes by.
It is time for our most favorite part of the day: The Africa Tram. This is an open-air expedition at the African Outpost is takes you around the African field exhibits, which is included in your 1-Day pass. No reservations are necessary. The wait might be anywhere from 20-30 minutes to get on a Tram but definitely worth your time. Get some snacks on your way to the Tram and keep the kiddos busy munching. The guided tour rides depart 10 a.m. until 45 minutes before the Park closes. Busiest times are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on peak attendance days. The Africa Tram is an exciting expedition with diverse animal collection creating a relaxing adventure. The ride path takes you around some of the field exhibits, giving you a chance to connect with the animals on a closer level.
You can purchase other Safari experiences at the door or online. To choose different Safari experiences to add to your day, visit San Diego Zoo Safari Park's Website and click on Safari Tours.
For hotels near San Diego Zoo Safari Park, click here.
For other activities to do in San Diego click here.
MUST VISIT ON YOUR WAY TO SAN DIEGO
On your way to San Diego, there is a cupcake shop, "Ohana Cupcakes" that you must visit. From the moment you walk in the door, you can't help but be swept up by the ocean inspired floor design, and the festive Hawaiian environment. The owners have created a cupcake shop where your children can actually create their own cupcakes. They get a little chef hat, and an apron to wear while they mix the ingredients, after which, the batter is given to one of the staff who places it in their own Ohana branded cupcake maker.
While you are waiting for your cupcakes to bake, you can stroll over to their barista, and order a coffee or Hawaiian ice, all while perusing their cute Hawaiian themed retail area (and maybe even pickup one of their Ohana cupcake makers for your kids).
On your way out, don't forget to stop at the front counter to pick out some of their imaginative and delectable creations for the entire family. Ultimately, this is a great stop to breakup the drive whether you are headed up or down the 5 freeway when your going through Oceanside, CA.
The address for Ohana Cupcakes is 2455 Vista Way, Suite M, Oceanside, CA 92054 for Ohana Cupcakes.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park is located at 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027 and they are open daily from 9 am to 6 pm.