You know the city is far behind when you enter San Diego Zoo?s Wild Animal Park! Experience a unique adventure at the Wild Animal Park?s 2,100-acre preserve, where animals wander freely in surroundings much like their native homelands. A quiet railway, pathways, and shows enable you observe both animals and exotic plants.
Your first Wild Animal Park greeting comes through the calls of exotic birds as you walk through the African Aviary. A few steps away lies Nairobi Village, a tropical paradise surrounding the beautiful Mombasa Lagoon.
This bustling Village is home to shops, restaurants, animal exhibits, and activity centers; it?s a good place to stop, check the map, and plan your day. Since Nairobi Village is located the heart of Wild Animal Park, it?s a convenient ?base camp? you can return to for rest and refreshments.
Kids love the play area in Nairobi Village, as well as the Petting Kraal and baby nursery. And all ages have fun feeding the birds at Lorikeet Landing. When you head out into the bush, don?t miss the opportunity to ride the famous Wgasa Bush Line Railway.
You?ll see what makes the Park unique?giraffes, elephants, rhinos, and hundreds of other animals freely roaming in herds over large areas of scenic natural habitat. Other favorite treks include Heart of Africa, Gorilla Habitat, Condor Ridge, and Kilimanjaro Safari Walk. A Wild Animal Park show is a treat for the entire family.
Elephants surprise you with their smarts at Elephant Presentation and birds teach you a thing or two at the Bird Show. Along the way, trees and botanical gardens add to the beauty of the experience. These exhibits are opportunities to see wild animals up close and, in some instances, to help out at feeding time.
Getting Around in the Park
Aside from the Wgasa Bush Line Railway, walking is the best way to see Wild Animal Park. The 1.75-mile Kilimanjaro trail, one of many, takes you to the big animals?lions, tigers, and elephants.
Dining & Shopping
When hunger strikes, you can pick up a snack at one of the food stands or carts located throughout Wild Animal Park. For a burger, sandwich, or salad, try Thorn Tree Terrace in Nairobi Village, where the inhabitants of Spider Monkey Island provide dining entertainment. The gift shops in the Park are a ?must-see,? especially the Bazaar, with its fantastic variety.
Wild Animal Park is located at 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, California, 32 miles northeast of downtown San Diego and Mission Valley. Drive north on State Route 163 to Interstate 1-15 North, and exit at Via Rancho Parkway. This drive takes 30 to 40 minutes. Proceed east on Via Rancho Parkway and follow the signs.
Tips & Suggestions
Since a visit to the park takes most of the day, you might want to bring water, snacks, and sunscreen. Since so many wonderful trails can only be reached on foot, comfortable shoes are helpful.