San Diego Zoo Safari Park
15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027, USA
Photo courtesy of San Diego Zoo Safari Park
San Diego Zoo Safari ParkWhile tourists flock to the world-famous San Diego Zoo, its Safari Park—located 30 miles away in the San Pasqual Valley—is equally interesting. Spread over 1,800 acres, it’s home to more than 3,500 animals and 260 different species as well as a huge botanical garden. Massive, open-range enclosures re-create various habitats from around the world (don’t miss African Plains, which is larger than the entire San Diego Zoo itself), while interactive exhibits allow visitors to get up close and personal with lemurs, lorikeets, bats, and more. The Safari Park began as a breeding program to supply the zoo but, over time, has become a major conservatory project. In fact, its condor-breeding efforts are behind the almost extinct bird’s successful reintroduction to the wilds of California. Note: Early mornings are the best time to see animal activity. Avoid August, September, and October, which are the area’s hottest months.