The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in San Diego. This Safari Park is located on the outskirts of San Diego near Escondido and is just a 25-minute drive from San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park. San Diego Zoo Safari Park lets visitors experience African safari without visiting Africa.
Spread over 1,800 acres of land and housing 2700 animals and up to 4000 plant species, the San Diego Zoo Safari is a wildlife paradise. The park has many animal exhibits and enclosures, birds, and wildlife species from almost all over the world. The Safari park has a semi-arid environment and houses animals from Africa to Australia.
The Best Time to Visit San Diego Safari Park
The park is open to visitors throughout the year. A full-day visit to the Safari Park is sufficient to tour all the park's wonders. Weekends and holidays are crowded, so try visiting on a weekday to avoid crowds and travel the African tram and other amazing Safaris in the park. Remember that the animals are most active in cold and optimum temperatures.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park attracts 2 million visitors annually. The winters attract fewer tourists due to the cold weather, but it's the best time to explore the park without long queues. The summers are packed, and most animal shows occur in the morning. So, arrive early in the morning to view enthusiastic and active wildlife.
10 Amazing things to Explore in San Diego Zoo Safari Park
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park was a breeding ground for endangered animals. Over time, the park started offering wildlife tours, and later Safari tours, animal exhibits, and activities like camping, zip-lining, ballooning, and much more. Here are the top things to do at Zoo Safari Park in Balboa.
1. Take the Africa tram
The Africa Tram is a free Safari tour. Visitors do not have to pay for another ticket for the Africa Tram, and the entry ticket will suffice. Riding the Africa Tram is one of the best things to do at San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This ride offers an exclusive tour of the savanna habitat where one can see African wildlife from close.
The Africa Tram transports you to the African plains. Visitors can see African wildlife like rhinoceros, antelopes, cheetah, birds, and other animals. The tour guides are knowledgeable and brief visitors about various species, their adaptation, and facts about them. It takes 25 minutes to finish the Africa tram, which is one of the best attractions of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
2. Feed the Giraffes on Caravan Safari Tour
San Diego Zoo Safari Park has nine exciting safari tours with up to 20 variations. Each Safari tour offers a unique experience. However, the most popular of all is the Caravan Safari Tour. Visitors can view many animal enclosures and see animals like cape buffaloes, giraffes, rhinos, and elephants from near. Tourists can also feed giraffes and sometimes Rhinos with the tour guide's assistance. The tour guides talk about fascinating facts about the animals and share wildlife knowledge with visitors.
Caravan Safari Tour comes in four variations. Most of the Caravan Safaris are similar, with little difference in each variation. It is a paid safari, unlike the Africa Tram.
3. Camping with Roar and Snore Safari
Exploring the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is an adventure with thrilling activities, unlike the Zoo in Balboa Park. The Roar and Snore are overnight Safari where visitors can do camping activities, set up their tents, and enjoy themselves together. This safari takes care of all your food and other needs.
There are four variations of Roar and snore. For all ages, Roar and Snore, Adults only, Girl Scouts, and kids. Each variation has fun activities. The kids and girl scouts safari teaches kids about wildlife, while the adults-only is an adventure in the wilderness.
4. Venture into Animal habitats with Wildlife Safari
The Wildlife Safari is the only safari that offers a sneak-peek into different wildlife habitats where visitors can see African Cheetahs, Asian Elephants, baby Rhinos, South American mammals, and many endangered species in one go. Visitors travel in an open truck and learn about wildlife and their conservation from tour guides. The Zoo in Balboa Park has more animals than San Diego Safari Park, but the wildlife diversity at Safari Park amazes its visitors.
Wildlife Safari has four variations:
Twilight Wildlife Safari at twilight offers incredible scenery.
The Deluxe Wildlife Safari for 90 minutes
Mimosa Wildlife Safari has beautiful flamingos.
The Southwest to Savanna Wildlife Safari is where visitors venture into 900 acres of the wildlife in the Safari Park.
5. Snap Pictures on Cart Safari
The Cart Safari lets visitors travel in a cart and tour the animal habitats. Tourists can step out of the coaches to click a few pictures and see animals from close. The guide offers insights about the wildlife, plants, and their conservation. Visitors can also ask questions about nature.
There are three variations of Cart Safari to explore different habitats.
Cart Safari Africa for Savannah Habitat and African wildlife
Cart Safari Asia Asian habitats
Deluxe Cart Safari for a personalized Cart Safari tour
6. Traverse the Australian Wildlife with Walkabout Australia
Walkabout Australia in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park lets you explore diverse Australian wildlife species on foot. Kangaroos are hopping around, marsupials with their babies, and various birds along with many other animals. Walkabout Australia is a part of the behind-the-scenes safari. Hence visitors can talk to wildlife specialists and learn stories and facts about the unique species on their 90-minute walk. Tourists can also tour other behind-the-scenes safaris to learn about diverse wildlife.
7. Witness the running Cheetahs in the Early Morning
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has a new Safari addition with Sun up Cheetah Safari. Visitors tour the park at 8 a.m. and witness the active and enthusiastic cheetahs running around. This morning's adventure is a walking Safari. Tourists can also watch other animals actively in the morning while doing their activities. The tour guide explains various wildlife Cheetah Stories and about all the species found on the way during this unique safari. Remember to buy an entrance and Cheetah Safari ticket in advance as ticket booths are usually closed at 8 a.m.
8. Tour the Safari Park from the sky
Experience the ultimate thrill with Flightline Safari and view the San Diego Zoo Safari Park with an incredible view from the sky. Flightline Safari is like no other Safaris at the Zoo in Balboa Park or Safari Park. Flightline Safari is the best place for zip-lining; visitors are trained before letting go high up in the air. The support staff briefs about the safety equipment and other tips before launching visitors on the zip lines.
This is an exciting experience, as an aerial tour of the Safari Park. There are two variations in Flightline Safari.
Flightline Safari for a Zip lining tour of up to 1 hour
Deluxe Flightline Safari includes a Safari truck tour around the Savannah Habitat along with Zip lining.
9. Fly around the Safari Park on Balloon Safari
The Balloon Safari offers some of the most unbelievable views of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and its wildlife. Visitors can tour on the hot air balloon and experience the thrill. The Balloon safari starts at 9 a.m and is available till dusk. However, sometimes this Safari is closed due to inclement weather. It is one of the top things to do at the Safari Zoo near Balboa Park.
10. Carousel and the Kids Village
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has unique activities for kids. The Conservation Carousel is the kid's favorite because of its various ride elements that depict animals. The Safari Park also has a Kids Village designed like a traditional African village for kids to play and learn. Kids can participate in Safaris and other activities and even talk to Robert the Zebra, a digital Zebra who speaks witty lines to entertain kids.
Things to Carry while Visiting the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Don't forget your masks. Everyone above the age of 2 must wear one.
Sunscreen to protect your skin in the hot weather
Carry a map of the Safari Park to not miss out on anything
Book your tickets in advance to avoid long queues
Carry a bag with light snacks and soft drinks
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is a unique Safari zoo near Balboa Park with diverse wildlife. There are tons of activities and numerous safaris for the visitors. Sometimes it can be overwhelming but do not worry, plan your visit and the actions you want to do in advance to explore the Safari Park thoroughly. Ultimately, all there is to do is watch the wildlife and experience the thrill. Learn more about Zoo parks and Safaris at leisure.com.
Our private tours typically range from $500 - $1000 per person/per night depending on chosen hotels and room categories, vehicles used, types of tours, flight cost, time of year and other factors. Make an inquiry for a customized trip quote.