San Diego Safari Park questions

Old Jan 15th, 2012, 12:10 PM
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San Diego Safari Park questions

A friend and I are headed to San Diego for 4 days in March. One thing on our list of sights is San Diego Safari Park (we are also visiting the zoo, among other things). Despite reading the Safari Park website and the 2 pages in Fodor's guide devoted to the park, I'm still unclear how it works. It appears that for the price of admission, we have unlimited access to a tramline that runs through certain parts of the park. Is that on/off or continuous? Is there a reason to get on/off, can you stop at different enclosures to watch the animals, or is it wide open? Is it similar to a zoo in that you can walk from area to area, or is it much too big for that?

Additionally, there are extra experiences we can pay for in addition. I am a lover of big cats, so the cheetah experience is calling to me and both of us are interested in the Caravan Safari, which is 2 or 3 1/2 hours and $92 with admission...but what does that get you beyond riding the free tram (besides feeding giraffes/rhinos?) Is it closer? Better photo opps? I hesitate to use the "is it worth it?" inquiry, but given that we both love animals and up close experiences, we're wondering if this would be up our alley or the money pit that it seems to be on the surface.

Would love feedback from anyone who's had experience with the above. Thanks!
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Old Jan 15th, 2012, 12:45 PM
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I think there are two tram routes now - and they circle around the big animal enclosures - and you cannot get off. But I have always loved the Wild Animal Park - now Safari Experience or whatever it's called, and you see the wild animals in more of their natural habitat than anywhere else.

You can also walk around and see a lot of the exhibits, and even feed snacks to giraffes on an elevated platform. They have very long tongues.


The Cheetah eperience I believe is watching them released from a pen and they sprint/run to where some food has been left out. I haven't done it but would love to see a Cheetah really laying down the tracks.
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Old Jan 15th, 2012, 01:10 PM
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Tom is probably generally right in what he says, but he may be a little out of date, as I would be if I attempted to answer your questions. He still calls it the Wild Animal Park, and that was its name the last time I was there, maybe 4 or 5 years ago. It's clear from their web site that they are making lots of improvements, and it was pretty darn good to begin with.

I suggest you contact them directly at:

http://www.sandiegozoo.org/contact/index.html

I saw a video clip of the Cheetah thing and what they do is drag an imitation prey across the ground at high speed. The Cheetah, who is apparently long on speed but short on brains, chases after it. I sure hope he/she gets something real at the end.
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Old Jan 15th, 2012, 01:23 PM
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We liked the Wild Animal Park(thats what it was called when we were there) far better than the zoo. We did the Safari that you mention and it was very awesome feeding the Giraffes and Rhinos. The "extra things" there cost some bucks but if I were to go again, I would do as many of them as time and money allowed. Even spending the night there or at the zoos roar and snore would be cool. When I say we liked it "far better" the zoo is the best zoo that we have ever been to. Both are very good.
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Old Jan 15th, 2012, 02:15 PM
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Thanks for the feedback so far, I appreciate it. We might just play it by ear until we get there and scope it out. I think the cheetah experience is the only thing we'd have to book ahead.

spiro, good to know you'd do it again. I've been to the SD Zoo although about 10 years ago, interesting to hear the Safari is "better"!
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Old Jan 15th, 2012, 07:25 PM
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I think they might limit the # of folks on the special tours, so you might need to get those before you arrive. I'm not certain of this, you should check on that. You just don't want the cheetah thing or the safari to be sold out, if it is something that you really might want to do.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 05:54 AM
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Walking around the Safari Park (nee Wild Animal Park - still hard to bring myself to use the new name)is a fun thing to do - and be sure to see the Okapis and the Giant Elands, inncluding "Bubba" who goes about 2,000 lbs. A big goy for sure. Condor Ridge is also a trip.

And depending on the time of year, you might even walk into the enclosure with butterflys flying about and even landing on you - and the same with the small birds - hummers, etc - where you can also buy a small vial of "juice" to feed them.

There are also several "animal" shows and used to love when they let a bird of prey loose and it swooped down to snare a prize.

And dbd: Cheetahs aint' dumb. They survive in the African wilds among bigger cats and all. They are probably hungry when released and dragging the treat downrange - triggers their natural instinct to chase after food, capice - oh Great White Hunter?
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 05:56 AM
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And also check out this website: http://www.sdzsafaripark.org/parkwildlife/index.html
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 11:43 AM
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Thanks, that answers my question about walking around to see animals sans the tram. I'll do my best to see as much as I can. I think right now we're planning the better part of a day there.

spiro, you're probably right, we should book ahead, especially since it'll be a weekend.
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