The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, part of the larger San Diego Zoo, is an 1,800-acre (728-hectare) open-range park housing some 3,500 animals from about 430 species. The park’s open layout allows herds of giraffes, zebras, rhinos, and other animals indigenous to Africa to roam the re-created valley floor.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park offers many safe animal encounters, including photo caravan rides, balloon safaris, and safari tours that pull up right alongside various animals. Stand ringside at the cheetah run and experience the incredible speed of these big cats, or ride the Africa Tram, an open-air, soft-wheeled tram that carries you around a natural environment that feels like the African plains. Amphitheaters in the park feature shows and presentations throughout the day, such as keeper talks about the Sumatran tigers and flight shows featuring birds of prey.
Some tours from San Diego offer transportation to both the main San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park, as well as admission to one or both parks (typically over two days).
Things to Know Before You Go
The Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo are 32 miles (52 kilometers) apart, about a 45-minute drive between the two.
Given San Diego’s sunny clime, take a sunhat and sunscreen.
Lockers and luggage storage are available.
Several restaurants inside the park sell food, or you can bring your own; picnic areas are available.
The park is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. An ADA shuttle transports guests with mobility challenges around the large park, and wheelchairs are available for rent.
How to Get There
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is 34 miles (54 kilometers) north of San Diego, in the San Pasqual Valley near Escondido. Paid on-site parking is available.
When to Get There
The park is open daily year-round with general hours from 9am to 5pm. The park is enormous and the animals are often most active in the early morning, so arrive close to opening and plan to spend the whole day.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park for Kids
Kids love animals, so this wild animal park is a natural fit for little ones. Stroller rentals are available at the front of the park, and there are several play areas to burn off energy, including the Tiger Trail Play Area, the Village Playground, and the Savanna Cool Zone. Nairobi Village also includes a petting zoo and an animal nursery.