Jason's Thoughts & ObservationsNon Disney Travels

San Diego Zoo Safari Park – Pictures, Thoughts & Observations from 10/19/20

2020 10 19 090123
San Diego Zoo Safari Park Entrance, quiet this morning. This was about 10 minutes after park opening.

For my nephew’s 4th birthday we had planned to go to Disneyland, but with the park closed and not opening any time soon we looked for an alternative and settled on heading south to San Diego for the Zoo and Safari Park.   I had not visited the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in decades (I believe my last visit was in the late 80s when it was still known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park).  All I remember from that visit was the tram ride around the savanna and the park being extremely hot.

The San Diego Safari Park is located about 30 miles from the main zoo, near Escondido.  It is 1,800 acres in size and is home to over 3,600 animals representing over 300 species.   In addition to the animals the park is an accredited botanical garden featuring over 1.3 million individual plants of 6,500 specimens representing 3,700 species.

Pandemic Thoughts/Observations:
As you entered the parking lot before parking you were required to stop for a health screening.  This consisted of them asking the driver of your car some question such as does anyone have any symptoms, has anyone been exposed to anyone with Covid-19 and do you all agree to wear masks.  Several experiences of the Safari park are not allowed to operate.  The tram tour, all shows and interactive activities.  The biggest loss is the Africa Tram tour.  I really do not understand why the state & county could not come up with guidelines for the safe operation of this attraction.  It is an open air/out door vehicle.  Seems with spacing and dividers it could be operated in some fashion.

My Experience:
Today was a much calmer experience compared to yesterday at the San Diego Zoo.  We arrived at the parking lot a few minutes before the 9am opening time for the park and found no line at the parking toll booth (they charge $15 to park here).  No wait at the health screening and were able to park near the entrance in row 2.  It was less than 10 minutes from the parking toll booth to the park entrance.  As we walked around the park the first few hours it was a near ghost town.  We had the areas to ourselves many times with maybe a random family or group in sight.  So social distancing was not a challenge.  As the morning went on the crowd did pick up but it was still nothing compared to the day before and it was relatively easy to keep your distance.

Lunch today was a much better experience too.  There were several choices so we split up and lines were minimal and moved efficiently at all the locations.  We ordered food from three different places and it was still faster than yesterday.

Trip Log (6.9miles – 14,617 steps)
Arrived at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park around its 9am posted opening. The parking lot had no lines and a quick health screening was done before you could park. Once parked we headed for the entrance and into the park. We took the first right to the Lagoon Loop and then another right to the Gorilla Trail to start our day. Walked around then took the Africa walk out to the overlook and elevator down. Turned right and took the African Loop around in a counter clockwise fashion. Saw the cheetah and savanna animals then walked through the Lion Camp area and took the African Plains Trail to an overlook and out to Kilima Point. Continued on the trail through Elephant Valley. At this point walked back through the Grove to the elevator and took it up to the top. Took the Nairobi Walk back to the Lagoon walk to finish this large portion of the park. Sat and rested for a few minutes waiting for the dining locations to open for lunch and then grabbed lunch. After eating set off on the Safari Walk then Tiger Trail to Condor Trail. Strolled through the Walkabout Australia as we headed back toward the Safari Walk and the park exit to wrap up our visit.

Here are some cell phone pictures from my visit to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on Monday October 19, 2020 –

My Videos San Diego Zoo Safari Park –



Our group really enjoyed this park.  It had less of a Zoo feel and more of an Animal Kingdom feel to it which plays better with our group.  Even the kids seemed to find the enclosures more engaging overall.  We were all extremely disappointed the tram tour was not operating so your only options were to see the animals in the distance or pay for a private tour (we opted to see them in the distance).  I could see myself revisiting the Safari Park again before the Zoo.


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