On a whim a friend and I decided to take our kids to the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park in Escondido, California. We had never been there before, but how hard could it be? We both had our double jogger strollers and we are both fit. Besides, isn’t the Wild Animal Park just a glorified zoo?
How quickly we learned how wrong we were – on everything! Have you ever been to the San Diego Wild Animal Park? Well, this is not some overdone zoo! The park is one of the most amazing wild life refuges around. Animals are not merely in cages, waiting for you to come and gawk at them, no they are in their ‘natural’ habitat where they can be themselves.
The Kilimanjaro Safari Walk is not to be missed, but be prepared it is a 2 mile path that takes you through great vistas and wonderful animals. Make sure you bring along your camera and water. You may want to bring along a snack or picnic and enjoy lunch in the African themed area.
The Journey into Africa tour is another fun way to see the park. You will board a tram called the African Express and begin your journey into the heart of the Wild Animal Park. As the tram moves among the animals you will get to see just how big the animals are as you see them eye to eye. The Journey to Africa tour is not part of the regular admission so be prepared to pay an extra $10, $7 for kids 3-11.
The San Diego Wild Animal Park was a fun place to visit. It was fun to see the lions lounging about in a safari type atmosphere, one was even lying on an abandoned LandRover – very unique! The older toddlers recognized several animals from movies like The Lion King and Madagascar, which made things even more fun for them. Getting to see Timon and Pumba up close was great fun!
The park is built into a very hilly terrain and the animals are all situated rather far from each other. This is not a place you want to wear uncomfortable shoes! We went uphill and downhill quite a bit – and these were very steep hills. Not an easy route while pushing a double stroller with 50 pounds of baby weight.
When all was said and done, the Wild Animal Park was a fun place to visit and it turns out a great place for a great workout. Visit the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park website before you go and plan your trip before you go. Plan to walk a lot and be amazed by the great exhibits!