San Diego Safari Zoo

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boater07
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Location: Northwest

San Diego Safari Zoo

Post by boater07 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:12 pm

Would love some firsthand info on visiting this part of the zoo.
We have enjoyed the Balboa Park site but have been reluctant to go
this far north without a car. I'm tempted to get a hotel in the area and wonder
how much time to allow for a decent visit. A rental car would be another option.
Any suggestions ??

Carefreeap
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Re: San Diego Safari Zoo

Post by Carefreeap » Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:21 pm

Are you talking about the Wild Animal Park in Escondido?

If so, I would just rent a car for the day. I'd plan on four hours or so. Stone Brewery is nearby and a lovely place to have lunch or dinner even if you aren't a big beer fan and/or have kids. Good food and gorgeous grounds.

Not a whole lot more to do as a tourist in Escondido but depending on the situation you could visit Mt. Palomar (probably 15 miles away) or over to Carlsbad (beaches, LEGOLAND).

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HueyLD
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Re: San Diego Safari Zoo

Post by HueyLD » Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:40 pm

When are you going to the S.D. Zoo Safari Park (formerly known as the Wild Animal Park)?

It is in the Inland region in the town of Escondido and it could get very HOT in the summer. Try to go there outside of the June - August period. The sun will be very intense, so bring your suntan lotion.

If you like wild animals and exotic desert vegetation, you can spend the whole day there easily. Do keep in mind of rush hour traffic on I-15 and avoid the rush hour direction carefully. I have witnessed the entire I-15 "parking lot" during the morning rush hour on the south bound lanes.

It may be a good idea to stay nearby to avoid the peak traffic.

It is a fantastic park. Enjoy your visit.

quantAndHold
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Re: San Diego Safari Zoo

Post by quantAndHold » Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:45 pm

You need a car to get there. It’s about 45 minutes north of the main San Diego Zoo, and is in the middle of nowhere. Even staying in a “local” hotel, it would probably be cheaper to rent a car for the day than it would to take Uber or something.

And yes, it’s worth it.

boater07
Posts: 515
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 7:44 pm
Location: Northwest

Re: San Diego Safari Zoo

Post by boater07 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:43 pm

Thank you all. Just cancelled a reservation in Enscondido ? as the google map didn't have much appeal.
Got an Uber est of $55. Rental here I come even for 3 days that I allocated for this visit. Will have spent 5 days
downtown and the yacht harbor.
With your weather warning, I think I'll look for something closer to the coast and a little north. Will study a map
to keep traffic in mind.
Really appreciate the suggestions

boater07
Posts: 515
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 7:44 pm
Location: Northwest

Re: San Diego Safari Zoo

Post by boater07 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:58 pm

PS This is a Big Birthday trip and unfortunately in August. With the hot weather caution,
I'm also reconsidering the need to spend 2 days in the park as their site suggests.
You BH's rock with your willingness to help :sharebeer

mega317
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Re: San Diego Safari Zoo

Post by mega317 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:09 pm

What's your situation? There are other ways to see animals, probably best if you want to entertain little kids for a little while.

Free Flight, in Del Mar, has a bunch of exotic birds that you can hold on your hand.
Sunshine Gardens in Encinitas is a nursery that randomly has some animals scattered around--goats, a huge tortoise, chickens, fish, birds.
I take my toddler to those places once in a while if we need to kill an hour or two.

There is also an aquarium near La Jolla. I think it's a little overrated but my wife bought us annual passes which was clearly unnecessary (but tax deductible!). The first trip was fun though.

TravelGeek
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Re: San Diego Safari Zoo

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:18 pm

boater07 wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:12 pm
Would love some firsthand info on visiting this part of the zoo.
We have been there two or three times and would recommend it. We did one of the "back of the pickup truck" tours (now apparently called "caravan safari") and loved it. Not quite the same as doing a real safari in Africa, but quite different from the average zoo experience. Yes, it's not cheap, but we thought it was worth it (and you only have your big birthday once).

http://sdzsafaripark.org/safari/caravan-safari

denovo
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Re: San Diego Safari Zoo

Post by denovo » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:38 pm

AAA , Costco and others have had discounts at one time or another.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

Jack FFR1846
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Re: San Diego Safari Zoo

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:14 pm

We did it when it was still called the wild animal park and we had no kids. Having just visited the San Diego Zoo, we had a good comparison and liked the park much more. Without kids, a day is about right. We took the train on the "safari" and I forgot film or ran out or something, so we did it again and it wasn't a bother at all. Loved seeing the whole thing again.
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jaybee9
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Re: San Diego Safari Zoo

Post by jaybee9 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:56 pm

I've been to Safari Zoo (Wild Animal Park) many times. Always loved it much more than the San Diego Zoo. It's for this reason any other zoos I go to are just meh. I suppose you could take two days to do it if you wanted to see every last part of it. Personally, I would just do a long day of it.

Cyclone
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Re: San Diego Safari Zoo

Post by Cyclone » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:53 pm

I would also highly recommend the caravan safari. You are right there feeding giraffes and rhinos, versus viewing them from a distance.

BBQ Nut
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Re: San Diego Safari Zoo

Post by BBQ Nut » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:59 am

I didn't see whether the OP will be bringing any kids along.

If not, then if you like wine tasting, there are several nice wineries in the area around San Pasqual Valley which is right by the Safari Park.

Orfila winery has some vg wines and is close by; you can even get a tour of the winery.

Cordiano Winery in the San Paqual Valley area serves a nice margherita pizza made fresh on the spot overlooking the valley; almost feels like you are in the Tuscan country side.

Another nice spot only 17 minutes from the Safari Park is Bernardo Winery with different shops and eateries on the grounds where you are free to walk around with your wine.

Carefreeap
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Re: San Diego Safari Zoo

Post by Carefreeap » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:06 am

boater07 wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:58 pm
PS This is a Big Birthday trip and unfortunately in August. With the hot weather caution,
I'm also reconsidering the need to spend 2 days in the park as their site suggests.
You BH's rock with your willingness to help :sharebeer
Kids?

I'd look at booking either a hotel or vacation rental in Oceanside (across 78 from Carlsbad). W/B traffic from Escondido to Oceanside will be mostly reverse commute (after the I-15/78 interchange). That's why I recommend dinner at Stone Brewery. :beer

Oceanside beach is one of the great sleepers. Anita's near 78/El Camino exit is another great find if you like Mexican food.

In theory you could use the Sprinter between Oceanside Transit Center to the Escondido Transit Center and maybe taking the bus or Uber to the Animal Park but you should take a look at the schedule. IIRC, it runs according to peak commute which is counter to what I'm recommending.

FWIW I grew up in San Diego, moved away, bought a couple of properties which we just sold (Oceanside and La Jolla). We decided that between the traffic and hot weather we were better off up here in the Bay Area. But I sure had a good time visiting friends and family during those 10 years of ownership. 8-)

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