San Diego Wild Animal Park Photos

On one of our last days in San Diego after Labor Day this year, we used our Costco park hopper passes to visit the San Diego Wild Animal Park.  It is up in Encinitas so it was a long drive and unlike the Zoo they charge for parking ($10) which was a bummer.  We went the day after the big county wide power outage and I think many people must have assumed the park was closed so there were no crowds.  (The picture above is of some Macaws in a tree.)  At the entrance they have a neat area where you can see an animal up close to learn more about it, out at the “meet and greet” was a Monitor Lizard named Tarzan.  The kids liked seeing his long tongue flick out while he ate some breakfast.

The big plan was to get on the African Safari and see the park that way but the trek to the Safari is long.  I don’t like to complain but when you are with little kids your time is at a premium, it was hot as well (great time to be in San Diego, for a heatwave, at least that meant the beach was perfect the day we went!).  Once we got on the safari though, we loved it.  The picture above is the view 3/4 of the way to the tram entrance.  Isn’t it expansive?  Amazing to see Wildebeest running across green plains (gave me chills, but I can’t think of Wildebeest without thinking of this video, it has NSFW language but Billy Connolly is hillarious), a 13 month old Rhino being nursed by his mother, and to learn of the conservation efforts of the Zoo.

After the Safari we saw the Lions, sleeping of course.  Nearby was a splashpad and a picnic area so we settled in for lunch and let E and R get a little wet.  It was already time to beeline it to the exit so we’d be back in time for afternoon naps.  I was able to get some free ice from the concession stand which is one of my standbys, you can usually get cups of ice for little or no charge.  We got to see some Meerkats as we made our way to the exit.  The next day we headed home and concluded that though we loved seeing all the attractions, maybe our next trip will be a beach only one.  These parks take a lot of walking and work and the kids don’t have the stamina for too much.  That said, it was a great trip and we learn more about traveling every time we do it.  Oh, and there was a fantastic rainstorm on the drive home which was fun as well.

6 thoughts on “San Diego Wild Animal Park Photos

  1. Our plan is zoo and Botanic Garden only – and the beach for three days + a beach evening. Oh, and a puppet show. I really am not a fan of crowded tourist attractions. We picked the zoo over the wild animal park because Billy and I have been twice but have not seen the zoo, and I think Amelia might get more out of it at her age. Thanks again for all the stuff you gave us – I think it saved us $60 or so.

    The good news with the no napping thing is that I was able to plan full days!

    I was on a long trip during a violent rainstorm last year (to Albuquerque). We picked it up just outside Flagstaff and it practically moved with us all the way to Albuquerque. I don’t think I have ever been so terrified for my and my child’s life. I really wanted to just stop and wait it out (overnight if necessary), but I was with my whole family and not driving and the group decided against me. I generally like rain during travel, but not like that.


    1. I think it is wise, the Botanic Garden is up north of where you are staying but otherwise everything you are interested in doing is pretty close. I have to write something about Mission Beach but it was great. I’m excited for you all to have a break, what a summer it has been – losing naps is actually something I look forward to when all is said and done but we’re a ways off from that with R I am sure. I am glad you can get some use out of the tickets!

      True about rainstorms, I don’t like the worried for my children feeling, I had it during the power outage just because we didn’t have enough gas to go home and the pumps were down and there is nothing like being away from home and not being sure how you’ll get back. E had fun looking for thunder and A was driving so I think I had that invincible feeling I get when he’s got things under control. The roads outside of Flag are pretty windy so that I’m sure would make me worry too.


  2. I love that place. Before kids we spent an overnight camping there. It is called snore and roar, you wake up to the wild animals so close to your tent and you can hear them at night. It was so cool. We went on a adults only trip, but they have kid friendly trips too. Highly recommend it!


    1. I did see the signs for that, it sounded so cool! I would love to try it someday. They also had ziplining you could do which sounded fun. A very experience-oriented place to be sure.


  3. You’ll have to plan a drive to Children’s Pool near San Diego. It was a cove originally created as a shallow, safe area for children. Local seals (animal versus human variety) thought it was just divine and eventually took over the water and beach. There are often 30+ seals in the water and on the beach. You can enjoy them from the stone boardwalk above or walk right down onto the beach. Occasionally, the seals will venture onto the beach even with people present. Some parents allow their kids to swim. I would never in light of water pollution (from seals and otherwise; it’s posted that the water exceeds safe levels of pollutants, but some people don’t mind) and the fact you can’t predict wild animal behavior. But it was utterly fascinating being that close to wildlife in their own habitat, without zoo constraints. A perfectly lovely day. Parking can be difficult, so I would recommend going early. But, it is free all around.


    1. Early is always good for us, thanks for the tip, Erin! It sounds awesome, I think it is amazing how much wildlife you can see on the coast even with the human presence right up next to it. Now I want to take another trip. 🙂


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