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Zoo, Sea World or Wild Animal Park?

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Phoenix, Arizona
posts: 86
reviews: 33
Zoo, Sea World or Wild Animal Park?

DH and I are spending the weekend in San Diego. We plan on arriving on Saturday and then going to the Midway and the Maritime Museum. We will be staying in the downtown area at the W.

On Sunday we want to spend the day at Sea World, the zoo or the Wild Animal Park. We are in our late 50's, do not have kids and do not care for thrill rides. We will be going home on Sunday. We have never been to any of these attractions. Any advice for us?


San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 46,625
reviews: 61
1. Re: Zoo, Sea World or Wild Animal Park?

HI and welcome to the forums.

None of the animal parks you mention are about thrill rides.

The zoo is near downtown and is inside Balboa Park.

We love to spend the day in both places and we are older than you guys.

The Wild Animal Park is about a 40min drive NE of downtown in the city of Escondido. If you feel like taking a drive and combining it with a visit to a winery, or perhaps a casino that might make a nice day too.

Sea World is about 15 min north of downtown and as you can see on its web site it has shows and exhibits about sea life.

You might want to drive up to La JOlla Cove 20min north of downtown, to see some seals and pelicans in their native environment. The seals are in pupping season right now and some of the mommas have given birth on the beach. You could drive up walk around and have a nice meal .

Phoenix, Arizona
posts: 86
reviews: 33
2. Re: Zoo, Sea World or Wild Animal Park?

Thank you. I am inclined to go to the zoo, but since I have never been to Sea World that is interesting, too. In looking at the Sea World web site it looks like a lot of rides, which we are not interested in are included.

I think we may need to make a second trip as your description of a day at the Wild Animal Park looks great, too!

colorado springs,co
Destination Expert
for Colorado Springs
posts: 1,361
reviews: 16
3. Re: Zoo, Sea World or Wild Animal Park?

My kids were always disappointed that Sea World did not have a whole lot of rides. As an adult, I enjoyed the Wild Animal Park the best. However, if it's nature you enjoy... Cabrillo Natl. Monument , LaJolla,Torrey Pines, the beach (I love Mission Bay/ Beach) all fit the bill.

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 46,625
reviews: 61
4. Re: Zoo, Sea World or Wild Animal Park?

Hmm? Unless they have added a bunch of new things, I can only picture 2 rides at Sea World.

I agree that for views and natural beauty Cabrillo National Monument and La Jolla Cove and perhaps the Torrey Pines glliderport and/or Torrey Pines state park would be wonderful!!

posts: 28,747
reviews: 767
5. Re: Zoo, Sea World or Wild Animal Park?

We love SeaWorld, aside from the fantastic and educaitonal exhibits there are several shows going on, also. We were able to do 4 shows in one day, they are about 30 minutes each. There is a tower ride, a float ride, Journey to Atlantis (we loved this one) and a sky tram that goes over Mission Bay that is very relaxing and scenic. We love SeaWorld! :)

Chicago, IL
posts: 65
reviews: 4
6. Re: Zoo, Sea World or Wild Animal Park?

My vote would be for the wild animal park. I believe they close early, like 5pm but you can check website. You could still get back to the city and your hotel at a decent hour or do something else. The Wild Animal Park is an experience if you have never been. It is a lot of walking but so cool to see all the animals roaming free in their own environments. Enjoy whatever you decide.

Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 15,490
reviews: 2,446
7. Re: Zoo, Sea World or Wild Animal Park?

All 3 are fantastic. Since you are going home on Sunday, is it Sunday night? Where is home? For example, are you driving home or are you flying?

If you are flying Sunday afternoon, the only one that really works is the zoo. If driving home late or have an evening flight any of the 3 will do.

Do you have a car? If you do, then you can get to Wild Animal Park. It is about an hour drive to the park and then an hour drive back to San Diego. If you are driving back home, it might be on your way home. If you are flying, you want to be sure to factor that amount of time into the day's activities.

If you want to see sea animals and shows, then Sea World is a lot of fun. You can see the highlights in 5 to 6 hours. Its more sitting around seeing shows and then walking around and seeing exhibits (similar to seeing a zoo.).

The key thing is: Do you want to see animals in cages? If so, San Diego Zoo. The assortment of animals at San Diego Zoo is the largest?

Do you want to see animals roaming the field areas - sitting in a tram car? Then San Diego Wild Animal Park.

Do you want to see mostly sea animals performing in shows?

Then Sea World

All 3 are wonderful for people of any age and yes, late 50's love these parks too. have a good time whatever you choose.

8. Re: Zoo, Sea World or Wild Animal Park?

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