Get ready for the time of your life to escape into a wild adventure at Safari Park in San Diego! Safari Park is home to the largest Zoo in the world with over 1800 acres of open land and 3500 animals, guest starring many top one-of-a-kind shows and attractions, as the famed Cheetah Run, Balloon Safari, and the Africa Tram. Safari Park is the sister park to the San Diego Zoo, in which celebrated their 100th year Anniversary this year. Right in the heart of Escondido, outside of San Diego, Safari Park possesses that unique exciting allure from the time you walk in.
I attended the park over 4th of July weekend and I felt as if I was on an adventure in the Indiana Jones movie itself. When you enter the park, there is an air of tropical meets wildlife. Beautifully landscaped with with exotic trees, African Safari themed souvenir stores, and a Indiana Jones like safari car, Safari Park is sure to set the mood for an exciting adventure ahead!
Nairobi Village is creates that vibe that you know you have arrived! Set right to the park entrance, Nairobi Village is architecturally crafted to look like a humble African Village with an elaborate Lagoon Loop to take a stroll amidst an authentic looking theme with a real wooden floorboard trail around the water of one of the most breath-taking views of the park. It is designed with an elaborate tree house visitors can climb and see, many exotic trees and plants, various ducks roaming the still waters, and of course the best food in the park at Mombasa Cooker Snack Shack to overlook the entire lagoon in utter relaxation. It is if one has arrived at the boat dock of a real African Village.
Get ready for the Safari Base camp, where the excitement all happens! I attended an amazing Asian aerial and acrobatics shows that blew my mind. A highly-skilled team of Asian men and women acrobats came together in this comedic and mind-blowing show that consisted of a series of short acrobatic segments that all had their own style of music and elaborate fashion to match that segment. Seemingly impossible tasks of these acrobats were executed as jumping in mid-air through small hoops, juggling 10+ items at a time with tall hats, high pyramid-style stunts, back-bend contortion acts stacked on top of one another, and high-impact tumbling gymnastics kept the audience guessing as to what or what is not too extreme. Home to many theme-based shows, Safari Base Camp is the place to be when you are looking for a place to sit and relax to watch various exotic shows, capture in-depth education about the animals, and take a stroll through the forest to the next great adventure!
Every section of the park has its own little world crafted to look like a particular theme with animals to highlight. The African Plains was my personal favorite with acres of open land set amidst the mountains with a beautiful valley centered in the middle for the animals. It felt like I was in Africa itself without having to leave California. I jumped aboard the Africa Tram and had no idea what was ahead and what to expect. As we approached the open land of African Plains, a wonderful staff member narrated every aspect of the tour and animals in that section. The animals are well taken care of and fed up to 9000 lbs of food a day. The tour included a more close-up view of various brilliant exotic animals as giraffes, antelopes, deer, and zebra, all of which are set in the middle of the valley as the African tram takes a well-rounded tour of the entire area. For those interested in a more close-up experienced with your favorite animals, there is the Cart Safari that highlights animals like the big-horned sheep, as well as the Caravan Safari to feed those exotic giraffes, the Jungle Ropes Safari for those dare-devils that want to swing, balance, and climb their way through the jungle, and even different Behind-the-Scenes Safari centered around that specific animals you have a passion for.
The Cheetah Run show was my personal favorite in the park. Right in the heart of the Lion Camp area of Safari Park set aside the Balloon Safari ride, a beautiful cheetah graces the audience with her presence in this over 300+ foot long track. A lovely staff member is there to educate and entertain the audience about this special endangered species. The show highlights her running from end-to-end of the sectioned area chasing after a stuffed toy to showcase her potential speed of up to 70 miles per hour within 4 seconds. She was accompanied by a fellow friend for support and safety, a chipper energetic dog that is not only man’s best friend.
The Frequent Flyers Bird Show in Gorilla Forest is absolutely breath-taking, as these intelligent birds create a theatrical broadway style show by soaring over the audience on cue by trained staff members. It is mind-boggling how birds can learn to take choreographed direction as well as humans. There is never a dull moment as the audience was in awe at the elaborate show never missed a beat.
Elephant Valley is a must see area of Safari Park. Authentic African elephants roam about in an area set to look like you are in a different country. Its was fascinating to see the architecture in how the park designed two open pillar areas made of rocks for the elephants to walks through. It had a subtle exotic vibe that reminded me of the pyramids of Egypt in how carefully crafted they were designed.
Get involved and come and support by taking that journey upon the exotic for yourself, your family, and your friends. If a day is not enough, get that season’s pass or also support by getting involved in Safari Park’s adopt an animal program, the Rhino Rescue Center, the Wildlife Conservancy to end extinction, or even come and volunteer and make that difference!
A trip through Safari Park is a storybook moment that can be remembered for a lifetime.