A Taste of the Serenghetti — in San Diego

Sure, you’ve been to zoos, maybe even to outdoor animal reserves, but the renowned San Diego Wild Animal Park takes the experience of being at one with nature to new heights.

With its upmarket “Journey into Africa” packages, you can watch Cheetahs run, feed wild rhinos and giraffes, or enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dinner before sleeping over in luxury tents in the park. Luxury tents come with queen-size platform beds, stocked refrigerators, and souvenir gift baskets. You can stay for one or two nights (stay the second night and you can get a VIP behind-the-scenes tour). The options include adult-only and family packages, so there’s plenty to choose from. The main draw, of course, are the animals — rare Serenghetti antelope, zebras, white rhinoceros, giraffes, cheetahs, ostriches and other endangered birds — all roaming the 213-acre African area. The entire 1,800-acre San Diego Wild Animal Park is located in the San Pasqual Valley, 35 miles northeast of downtown San Diego.

General admission starts at $17.50 for children ages three to 11 and $28.50 for ages 12 and up. Through October, overnight stays for adults only range from $139 per night for a basic tent, to $209 per night for a luxury tent; families go for $109 to $199 per night. From November through March 2008, adult-only rates drop to $109 to $179, and for families $89 to $179.

Helen Chang