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San Diego Zoo & Safari Park

San Diego Zoo & Safari Park

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Visiting the San Diego Zoo in San Diego’s Balboa Park is more than a chance to see animals from all over the world: it’s a chance to see one of the world’s finest facilities for seeing and learning about rare and endangered species, all in carefully naturalized enclosures spread across 100 acres. More than 3,700 animals from 650 species are showcased here, including crowd-pleasers like lounging lions and fuzzy koala bears and intriguing oddities like naked mole rats and two-toed sloths. 

Plan to spend at least a day at this extraordinary attraction, and wear comfortable shoes—you’ll likely do a lot of walking. General admission into the zoo includes plenty to keep you busy all day, but it’s easy to make your visit even more memorable with several upgraded experiences. Kids Programs include activities for toddlers as well as teens and preteens, where the “no grown-ups allowed” policy frees up parents to do their own thing.

If you have to cut your visit to the zoo short, no worries: just log onto a collection of entertaining animal cams, which let you see what’s going on with a variety of species—the koalas Sumatran tigers, as well as polar bears, California condors, and more—even if you’re not in the park.

Located 32 miles northeast in Escondido is another must-see for animal lovers: the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Sprawling over 1,800 semi-arid acres, this sister-park of the zoo is comprised of multiple free-range enclosures representing environments of Asia, Africa, Australia, and North America. Any animals that a safari setting might bring to mind are indeed here—lions, cheetahs, elephants, antelope—in all, roughly 2,600 animals. There are botanical gardens and elaborate indoor habitats for birds and insects as well.

Visitors can choose from a wide array of experiences including a sleepover “Roar & Snore” safari, open-air tours that get up-close to wildlife, or even a “Flightline Safari” where you soar as high as 130 feet above rhinos, giraffes, and other denizens of the savannah.  

Read on to find out more about all the amazing things there are to experience at both the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Useful info: The San Diego Zoo’s site has a map and an app to help you get the most out of your visit. View their hours of operation here.


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