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San Diego Wild Animal Park

Located 32 miles northeast of the Zoo near the city of Escondido in north San Diego County, the San Diego Wild Animal Park is 20 times larger than the Zoo. It is also a completely different experience than a visit to the Zoo. The 1,800-acre wildlife preserve, which allows visitors to view herds of exotic animals as they might have been seen in their native Asia and Africa, was established in 1969 under the directorship of Dr. Charles Schroeder. It opened its gates to the public in 1972 and has grown more impressive ever since. Today, the Park has over 3,500 animals representing 260 species, and is also an accredited botanical garden.


Aside from the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Wild Animal Park is the top place in San Diego to see animals. Over the span of 1,800 acres, the animal park gives animals the space they need to explore and play. The animals here play just like they do in the wild, which almost makes you feel as if you are in their native homes of Africa and Asia.

Throughout the 30 year history of the animal park, the Noah's Ark symbol of endangered species has grown to hold dozens upon dozens of animals. Nowadays, every Arabian Oryx found in the wild is the descendant stock from the San Diego Wild Animal Park.

In the park, there are numerous different paths you can take to view the smaller animal exhibits. Although the smaller animals are quite entertaining, the key thing you must truly view is the hour long trip on the Bush Line Railway. Along the railway, you'll see animals that you'd never get the chance of seeing anywhere else, such as the white rhino and the rhinoceros.

If you decide to visit the park in the summer, it's always a good idea to visit early. On a typical summer day, ten to fifteen thousand people will visit the park. During the winter, the number is down to about 2,000 people who will visit per day. Although it's much colder in the winter, the park is less frequent with people looking to see the animals the park offers.

You can find the animal park 32 miles north of Escondido in San Diego. The park is in a calm area, which makes things a lot better for the animals that reside there.

When visiting in the summer, it's a superb idea to go it on foot for a while, and then take the railway. After you have ridden the railway a bit, you can walk some more. It's also good to take tons of sunscreen with you as well, as summer at the park can get really hot. Bringing water is a spectacular idea as well, simply because the summer in California can be a bit of a scorcher.

The San Diego Wild Animal Park is operated by the San Diego Zoological Society. The society also operates the San Diego Zoo, which is one of the most celebrates animal parks in the entire world. With the park and the zoo, the society does more than its part to bring the best of the animal world to you.

The next time you are visiting San Diego or if you are visiting for the first time, the Wild Animal Park is a superb place to visit. You can check out some truly endangered species and learn more about the types of animals that you'll see in this once in a lifetime opportunity.


Location: 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, California 92027-7017

Hours: The Wild Animal Park is open 365 days a year. Winter hours are in effect: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (grounds close at 5 p.m.)

Admission Prices: General admission: Adults (ages 12 and over) $21.95, Child (3-11) $14.95. Children 2 and under are free.
Two-Park Ticket (Zoo and Wild Animal Park to use within 5 days from day of purchase): Adult (ages 12 and over) $38.35, Child $23.15. Parking is $5 per vehicle.

Prices and hours subject to change without notice.  

Other Options

If you want to explore ALL the exotic animals in this world and have different experiences every turn you make, consider visiting the World Famous San Diego Zoo located at Balboa Park.

Want to see information on the San Diego Zoo? Click Here

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