San Diego Safari Park is located at 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd in Escondido, California, about 30 miles northeast of downtown San Diego. The park, which sits on 100 acres of land, is home to more than 3,500 animals from over 650 species. In addition, it boasts many unique stores, food spots, play areas, drinking fountains, elevators, event halls, petting areas, and more.
It is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a safari experience without leaving the city of San Diego.
Things to Do in San Diego Safari Park
First, you can rent a scooter, stroller, or even a wheelchair at The Safari Outfitters shop located at the entry/exit point of the safari park and use it to commute around. Grab some candy, snacks, and a safari hat from the store while you are at it.
The San Diego Safari Park provides special parking, tour buses, complimentary ADA shuttle service, and elevators to help guests with mobility-related disabilities access the park and enjoy their time.
Here are some of the best things to do in San Diego Safari Park if you want to have the time of your life.
Engage in Super Fun Activities
Take a ride for $6 on replicas of exotic and extinct wildlife in the colorful conservation carousel. The Africa Tram, a 30-minute guided tour of the Safari Park’s African savanna habitats on the covered, open-air safari vehicle, will allow you to meet some animals up close.
Head to the Savannah Cool Zone to cool off using the many water features. Or you can go to the Island Water Play Area for more fun water activities.
Take A Safari Tour
Go as high as 100 feet above the ground and get a breathtaking bird’s eye view of animals on the safari park grounds by getting on the hot air balloon tour. The thrilling ride lasts for up to 10 minutes.
The Flightline Safari tour offers a similar experience to the Balloon Safari except you will take flight on the safari’s famous zip line. You would be secured by a harness and flown 130 feet above the ground.
Other safari tours we recommend include:
- Cart Safari
- Wildlife Safari
- Roar and Snore Safari
- Safari Cabanas
- Twilight Wildlife Safari
Grab A Bite to Eat
Oasis Deli, The Watering Hotel, Safari Coffee Outpost, Barking Deer Pizza & Beer, Kalahari Cupboard, Tucker Truck, Congo Kitchen, and Thorntree Terrace are among the 17 food spots located throughout the San Diego Safari Park.
There is also a wide variety of dining options available at the park, so you can refuel after a long day of exploring. Whether you want to grab a quick bite or sit down for a leisurely meal, there is something for everyone.
You can find Neapolitan-style gourmet pizza, tasty sandwiches, fresh salads, refreshing craft/draft beer, wines, spirits, tropical cocktails, hotdogs, specialty coffee drinks, warm mini doughnuts, yummy funnel cakes, soft-serve ice cream, build-your-own slush drinks, Asian foods, and more in the San Diego Safari Park.
Shop for Souvenirs
If you are a sucker for all things tiger, you’ll want to check out the Macan Market. Aside from Tiger merchandise, they sell sweet snacks and draft/craft beer you can enjoy while tiger-watching. Check out the Sheared Sheep shop for Australian merchandise and the Bazaar market for African-inspired artifacts, plush animals, apparel, and more.
And if you want to shop for stylish safari outfits, personalized gifts, hats, souvenirs, or snacks, the Village Market is where you need to be. It is home to the Safari Animal Boutique, where you can get a cute face painting or dress as your favorite animal.
The Plant Trader is home to drought-resistant houseplants or beautiful garden decor. Give plant parenting a go, add to your plant collection, or purchase some beautiful and functional garden decorations.
Lastly, stop by the Safari Photos for expert photographers to capture the fun and excitement of your safari experience.
Host Your Events in the Safari Park
The San Diego Safari Park has many event centers that provide a warm, beautiful, and uncommon ambiance for intimate, casual, or corporate events.
The Harusi Lawn is perfect for hosting a Safari wedding. You can make your vows while being surrounded by a canopy of beautiful trees and soaking in the beautiful view of the Savanna starring cheetahs, rhinos, giraffes, and more.
Other events halls we recommend include:
- Hunte Nairobi Pavilion
- Sambutan Longhouse at Tiger Trail
- The Groves Picnic Area
- Mombasa Island Pavilion
- Mawazo Terrace
Best Time to Visit
The San Diego Safari Park is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day of the year. There is no need to make reservations unless you want to try the 5-hour fully customizable Ultimate Safari tour, in which case you must phone at least 72 hours ahead of time to make a reservation.
If you’re looking for fun and educational things to do in San Diego, the Safari Park is definitely worth a visit. Not only will you make new friends and have lots of fun, but you will also learn about the environment and wildlife conservation.
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