San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Image Heavy)

Yesterday, I was able to take off work and decided to take the 5 kids out of the house so Lynn would be able to work on the second semester home school schedule.  At first I was thinking of hiking, but we have had some rain and cold weather so many of the hiking areas I like are wet or have some ice.  Call me crazy, but I don’t think that would be fun with 5 children under 11 years old.  My next idea was the San Diego Zoo since we have year passes. Lynn suggested that we go to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park since the pass covers there also.


The park is located in the northern part of San Diego about 45 minutes from our house.  The last 5 miles of the drive are rather rural with vineyards and plant nurseries.  It is a large park with large open spaces for the animals.  Each enclosure is larger than the San Diego Zoo, but there are less types of animals represented.

The first animals that I wanted to see were the tigers so we made a beeline for their area.  They have a few months old baby Sumatran tiger who is spending a few hours a day in his enclosure.  We were fortunate enough to come when he was out and playing.  He was quite hard to see with his natural camouflage and liked to play in the bushes making him even harder to spot.  My 2 year old daughter loved the “baby” so we stayed around that area for at least 45 minutes.  We even ate our lunch where we could watch the baby tiger.

There were also some full grown adult Sumatran tigers out and more importantly active.  The big cats are usually a disappointment.  We hype them up because they are large scary animals, then they are usually laying around sleeping.  One of the tigers was pacing his enclosure about 4 feet away from us.  My daughter didn’t like him at all. She thought he was scary and I don’t blame her at all.

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There was also an adult tiger sunning itself on a rock.

They have a bat house were you can see the bats up close.  I had never really seen bats like that before and learned quite a bit from watching them.  I don’t know if all bats are like this, but this type used what looked like fingers on the ends of its wings to climb and walk.  I had always just assumed they fly around like birds.

There are many paid tours that you can participate in at the Safari Park.  The lowest level of them is included with the year membership.  It is called the Africa Tram and is a 30 minute drive around the large safari part of the park.  It made me think of Jurassic Park where everybody is waiting to see the dinosaurs.

There is a large Elephant enclosure where we got to see an elephant pee and poo.  That made quite the impact on my boys.  I didn’t get any pictures or video of that.

The last animals we saw were the lions.  They were doing what lions usually do.


The Safari Park is a beautiful place to go and spend a day.  The winter and spring is probably the nicest time to go there weather wise.  The high yesterday was 68 degrees, but in the summer it can be as hot as 100.  There are lush plants that give the impression of being in a jungle, and they do a good job of incorporating local and drought-resistant plants.

I hadn’t been to the Safari Park in years, and there has been much added in that time.  Living in San Diego County, I will have to make an effort to go more often.  If I was visiting for only a few days, I would have to choose the San Diego Zoo over the Safari Park.  There are many more types of animals and plants at the Zoo and it is closer to where tourists usually stay.