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San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park Toledo Zoo The Central Park Zoo St. Louis Zoo
Woodland Park Zoo Visiting Famous Zoos    

This outstanding zoo is one of the largest tourist attractions in Southern California.  It is located in Escondido, California and it 35 miles from the Sand Diego Zoo.  It is approximately 1800 acres and has more than 3,200 animals including an array of wild and endangered species from the continents of Africa, Australia, Asia, North and South America, and Europe.

What makes this park special is that you can experience the animals in their habitat.  Tours are available, for an additional fee, where you can venture into remote areas on special open air photo safari trucks, Segways or even soar above them on a flightline.  In addition, for the real adventurers you can choose from a variety of overnight experiences. The wonderful exhibits will bring to life lions, elephants, exotic birds, lorikeets, bighorn sheep, gorillas and more. 

Nairobi Village

Visit the Nairobi village for shops, restaurants, animal exhibits and activity centers.  The kids will enjoy the Conservation Carousel, Discovery Station, and the Petting Kraal.  The Mombasa Lagoon, which is in the center of the village, is surrounded by paths and walkways where you will find pelicans, storks, ducks, birds, meerkats, antelopes and then ultimately the Gorilla Habitat.  

Journey into Africa Tram Tour

The park is known for its 25 minute tram tour that ventures through the large African exhibit.  You will encounter rhinos, giraffes, gazelles, and impalas wandering free in their habitats.  To get up and close with the animals for photos or feeding you must take the photo caravan tour for an additional fee.  There is much more than the tram tour but the exhibits are spread out so wear comfy shoes and be prepared for a lot of walking.

Park Exhibits

The Lion Camp is an exhibit that lets you get extremely close to the lions, through tick glass windows, where you can enjoy them lazing in their boulder area. The lions were raised amongst people so they will come right up to the glass window. 

In Lorikeet Landing you will find if you arm yourself with a cup of nectar that the green-naped lorikeets will swoop down and land on you to dine.

The Wings of the World Aviary is home to over 140 birds of varying species that are in free flight. 

The Elephant overlook allows you to get a closer look at the parks elephant families in their habitat.

Kilimanjaro Safari Walk is a two mile trail filled with beautiful gardens and many animals. 

The Hidden Jungle is a tropical greenhouse filled with plants, exotic birds, and insects.

Condor Ridge is home to North American animals like the California condor and thick-billed parrots.

You can take a thrilling hot air balloon ride where you will venture high above the park for about 15 minutes to get a wonderful view of the animals and the sites. 

Park Shows

Shows that are included with your admission include:  Frequent Flyers Bird Show, Have you herd? with Robert the Zebra and Animal Encounters.  Frequent Flyers lets you view a variety of over bird species in full flight including the East African crowned crane.  Have you herd? with Robert the Zebra is a chat with an interactive Zebra.  Robert talks about zebra life, asks questions and cracks jokes.  Animal Encounters is an interactive program that allows you to converse with trainers to ask questions about their animal ambassadors such as a cheetah, alligator and other rare species. This occurs at various locations and times throughout the park.

Special Tours

If you decided on the Photo Caravan Tour you can photograph exotic animals such as rhinos and giraffes in their habitat.  At times they are just inches from you and you may even have the opportunity to feed them. These adventures can run from 2 to 3.5 hours depending on the package that you select.  It is like  experiencing an real African safari.

The flightline allows you to soar from a cable 160 feet above the ground over exotic animals and open exhibits for 2/3 of a mile.  This experience from orientation and training to your flight will take approximately 1 hour.

Rolling Safari allows you to see the park aboard an off road Segway. Once trained in how to use it your guide will lead you on an incredible adventure on both paved and dirt paths around several of the park's field exhibits.

Veterinary Medical Center Tour allows you to take an inside look at the state-of-the-art facility.  Tours are available on Saturdays only so advance reservation are recommended.

Hours of Operation 

The park is open every day of the year, including all holidays.  It opens at 9 am and will close at 5, 6 or 7 pm depending on the time of the year.

There is a fee to park your vehicle and the price varies for members and non-members.

Contact Information

15500 San Pasqual Valley Road,
Escondido, California 92027-7017



Ticket Information

You can purchase single day, multi-day or multi-park tickets.  Single day tickets cost approximately $40 for adults and  $30 for children age 3 -11. The multi tickets vary in price based on the package selected.  For further information visit the Safari Park Website Ticket Page

Dining in the Park

The park has a wide variety of  food including snacks at various food stands and carts throughout the park.  You will find the the Throntree Terrace offers sandwiches, salads and burger.  Mombasa Island Cooker serves Italian and Asian specialties as well as salads and burgers. At Okavango Outpost you will find hot dogs, sandwiches, salads and Kid's Meals.  Samburu Terrace offers burgers, hot dogs, fries, chicken sandwiches, kid's meals and South of the Border entrees.  Congo Kitchen serves hot dogs, nachos, and kid's meals


NORTH (southbound): From Interstate 5 (Orange County, Los Angeles), take the State Route 78 East exit at Oceanside, proceed east to Interstate 15 South, exit at Via Rancho Parkway (Exit 27) and follow the signs to the Park. From Interstate 15 (Riverside), exit at Via Rancho Parkway (Exit 27) and follow the signs east to the Park.

SOUTH (northbound): From State Route 163 (downtown San Diego, Mission Valley) proceed to Interstate 15 North to the Via Rancho Parkway exit (Exit 27). Go east and follow signs to the Park. From Interstate 5 or 805 (Mexico), proceed to State Route 163, then to Interstate 15 North, and then exit at Via Rancho Parkway (Exit 27). Follow signs east.

EAST (westbound): From Interstate 8 (Imperial County, Arizona) take Interstate 15 North to the Via Rancho Parkway exit (Exit 27). Follow the signs east to the Park.
Public Transportation

Insider Tips

Visit the Petting Kraal when the park opens because first thing in the morning the keepers let the nursery animals out in the Kraal to exercise them so you are likely to see more baby species.

Allow a full day for visiting this park.

Best time to visit is in the Spring and Fall on weekdays.

It can be expensive for a family of four to visit this park with all of the additional tours that are available.  Plan your trip to the park in advance so you know what you want to do and how much it is going to cost.