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San Diego Safari Park Toddler Tips & More

San Diego-Safari ParkDo you live in Southern California and are wondering if you should take your little ones to the San Diego Safari Park? Well, based on our family experience, we’d say absolutely!

We’ve compiled a list of reasons why the Safari Park is a must see and why we recommend becoming a member.

San Diego Safari Park (SDSP)

The San Diego Safar Park (Previously known as San Diego Wild Animal Park), is actually located in Escondido, California (30 miles away from San Diego) and is unlike any other zoo. Although the park does have fewer animals than say the San Diego Zoo; the experience is unlike no other in that their animals live in large open enclosures much like the Savannah’s of Africa.

San Diego-Safari Park

The Savannah’s open fields scenery alone is breathtaking but riding their trams, caravans and being a part of their thrill seeking tours, makes this park unique and perfect for kids of all ages.

  • The Africa Tram: This open-air tram ride is approximately 20-30 minutes and included in your day pass. Per the SDSP website, “A Cart Safari is a great way to see herds of wild animals in a natural setting. All you have to do is sit back in the comfort of our intimate safari cart and enjoy seeing some incredible wildlife!” Some of the animals we’ve seen in this safari include, zebras, giraffes, cheetahs, rhinoceros, gazelle, bulls, a variety of birds and more. Perfect for kids and adults of all ages. Plus, did I mention this is included in your one-day ticket?!
  • The Caravan Safari: You can upgrade to ride a safari truck, see the animals up close and even feed them! Must be 8+ years to ride. Click here for rates.
  • Behind-The-Scenes Safari: This safari is offered for birds of prey, tiger and friends, lion and friends, cheetah and friends, junior explorers and the Veterinary Medical Center tour. Age restrictions apply per tour.
  • Flightline and Jungle Ropes Safari: Zip line over animal exhibits or challenge yourself to a rope coarse adventure! Perfect for kids ages 8+ and adults.
  • Roar and Snore Safari: Ok, so you can spend the night at the Safari Park too? As in, inside the park?! Yes, they offer sleepover packages for all ages which “include camp activities, an after-hours look at the wild life of our animals, guided walks, a campfire program, the unique opportunity to experience the Safari Park at night, dinner, an evening snack, breakfast, and a Park souvenir.”

San Diego-Safari Park

San Diego-Safari ParkAdditional Kid Friendly Perks

  • Conservation Carousel: The carousel “features 60 ride elements to choose from, many of which replicate rare and endangered animals.” Tip: the cost to ride is $4 per person for one ride or $6 per person for an all-day wristband. We recommend getting the wristband as our little one rides it at least twice per visit. More so right when we enter the park and before we exit.
  • Lorikeet Landing Aviary: It’s free to enter this exhibit but if you’d like to feed the lorikeets, which you absolutely should (wink wink), a cup of nectar will cost you $3. I admit, it was by far the best $3 we spent at the park. The interaction with these beautiful birds was priceless. Tip: Be sure to arrive early in the day when the lorikeets haven’t been fed. Otherwise, you’ll be competing with other feeders and nectar belly lorikeets.
  • Play Areas: There are four play areas in the park including a splash zone which is a must during the summer. I suggest bringing your kids swim gear and extra clothes to change into.
  • Shows: Be sure to check out their Frequent Flyers Bird Show! It’s a must. For a list of current shows and times click here.

Lorikeet-San Diego-Safari Park

Lorikeet Landing-Safari Park-San Diego

San Diego-Safari Park

San Diego-Safari ParkCouple Things To Consider

  • Shops & Dining: Although there are approximately 7 shops and 11 dinning areas, I recommend bringing a packed lunch and definitely extra kid snacks. This way, you’ll save some cash in the meal portion of your visit but can splurge on that cute plushed flamingo your little one spotted at the shops. Ahem, that’s the one Mia was obsessed with and hence made his way into our home. 🙂
  • Extras: We try to visit the park during the week as there are less crowds. Also, if you can’t splurge on the extra cost to take a behind-the-scenes safari, we suggest visiting the park right when it opens. Most of the animals are awake and are waiting to be fed. Especially those adorable lorikeets! Lastly, when you arrive to the park, head straight to the back and ride the Africa Tram first to avoid long lines.

We’ve mentioned a few reasons why taking kids of all ages to the Safari Park is a must but our biggest reason is the price!

We purchased their Diamond Membership which includes free entry all year-long to the San Diego Safari Park AND to the San Diego Zoo! Yes, both parks. This membership includes many perks. Here’s a list of them.

  • Unlimited admission to the San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park for one full year for one adult with one accompanying guest OR two adults in the same household
  • Two 50% Off Super Discount Admission Coupons for the San Diego Zoo ($48 value)
  • Two 50% Off Super Discount Admission Coupons for the Safari Park ($48 value)
  • Free Africa Tram at the Safari Park & Free Skyfari aerial tram at the Zoo
  • Four discount guest coupons (a $16 value)
  • Free parking at the Safari Park (save $12 each visit) *The San Diego Zoo offers free parking to all guest
  • Four 2-for-1 Zoo Bus Tour coupons
  • ZOONOOZ® magazine subscription (a $25 value)
  • Exclusive Member specials such as merchandise discounts throughout the year

San Diego-Safari Park-Flamingos

San Diego-Safari Park

A one-day pass to the Safari Park costs $56 vs. their regular Annual Membership which costs $112/ adult and $56/ child (3+ yrs) . Plus, free parking and tons of other member perks as mentioned above. Definitely a win-win for us as we live in Southern California and can visit both parks frequently. The value really stacks up. If you’d like to see all membership options as well as day pass prices click here. Updated: We now have the Keepers Club + Guest which allows us to bring a guest every single time throughout the year.

Stay tuned for our tips when visiting the San Diego Zoo. 😉

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

San Diego-Safari Park

San Diego-Safari Park

 

 

 

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