San Diego Zoo Safari Park
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
4.5
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
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About
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is an expansive, non-profit wildlife sanctuary that is home to more than 3,000 animals representing more than 300 species. Its renowned botanical collection represents 3,500 species and 1.75 million specimens. Over half of the Park’s 1,800 acres (730 hectares) have been set aside as protected native species habitat. It is located 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of downtown San Diego in the San Pasqual Valley near Escondido, California. he San Diego Zoo is operated by the international non-profit San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (SDZWA) empowers people from around the globe to support their mission to conserve wildlife through innovation and partnerships. The Zoo was founded on October 2, 1916, by Harry M. Wegeforth, M.D. It currently has an 11-member Board of Trustees headed by Steven G. Tappan; and Paul A. Baribault is the president/CEO.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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Admission tickets
from $69.00
All you need to step foot in the door.
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  • tinaNtravel
    San Jose, California1,785 contributions
    Animals roam on a large expanse of land.
    This is a great place to visit, as it is nice to see that the animals have a huge expanse of land on which they can roam. You can take a tram that drives you around the area while the driver tells you some fun facts about the animal(s) you are looking at. The tram takes about 20-30 minutes. When we were there, the line was quite long, but it is worth it. You can also pay extra to go in a jeep/bus to get much closer to the animals. While it costs a lot of money, all the money goes back to the animals, animal research or conservation. The Park contains other large animals, such as gorillas, tigers, lions and elephants. It also contains the only 2 platypuses outside of Australia. The line to see the platypuses was rather long, but it moves quickly, as an employee inside only gives each 2-3 people 20 seconds before they need to move on. The Zoo reverses night/day for the platypuses and so when you go in the caved area, it is dark, but you can still see them in the water. At our night, they turn on the lights in the cave area, but then soon after, the platypuses will go into their den to sleep. So you may not want to wait to the end of the day, as you may wait in line just to find out they went to sleep when you get to the front of the line.
    Written January 17, 2023
  • CNPhair
    Nashville, Tennessee87 contributions
    Great park, skip the expensive safaris
    Overall, this park is great and very well laid out. I would go as an add on day to a San Diego Zoo trip - but not in place of. The main zoo is definitely more bang for your buck. My only issue - and it’s a big one - is with the add on safari. I read lots of reviews, including some San Diego travel blogs, that strongly recommend adding on the safaris if you could afford it. The one I saw recommended most was the twilight safari. So, we decided to splurge on the twilight safari…with 5 people in our family, this was not cheap ($129/person). And I can say without a doubt, it was not worth it! We drove through an enclosure with rhinoceroses, giraffe and several buffalo. We didn’t go anywhere else in the park. We didn’t get to feed the animals. The overall tour lasted only 45 minutes and then it was 30 minutes of a break…you got a peanut snack and a glass of wine or beer. But we just sat there with the snack and didn’t see any animals during that time. It was not the 1.5 hour safari advertised. Even my 3 year old was underwhelmed.
    Traveled with family
    Written June 12, 2022
  • ecollazo
    Topeka, Kansas9 contributions
    Good time! Don’t recommend the extra safari
    The zoo-Safari Park itself was amazing, everyone was very friendly and eager to help. They have numerically sequenced stations and at each station they have ambassadors ready to assist. We used them many times as we traversed the park. We actually paid extra for the Wildlife Safari at a rate of $95 per person. We were disappointed in what this entailed. There were about 10 guests in the back of a safari truck and a guide. They took us in an enclosed area where the truck went around an area about the size of a running track (1/4 mile). Most of the time, the driver would drive a few yards then stop, during which time the guide would talk about the animals and answer questions. Within this small area there were only two or three species - giraffes, Willoughby some birds and perhaps one other species that I may not recall. In our (my family and I) opinion it was not worth the extra expenditure. There is an African Trolly that is included in the price of admission which was actually much better. It encompasses approximately2.5 miles and the driver does a great job discussing the animals and zoo. The trolly actually encompasses the 1/4 mile Wildlife Safari track in its travel in that area of the zoo. I’d recommend the zoo, would not recommend the additional Safari.
    Traveled with family
    Written July 5, 2022
These reviews are the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor checks reviews for fraud.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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David
1 contribution
Jul 2022 • Family
This was my first time in almost 25 years. I had a good time, but I was a little disappointed that there were no shows and many of the exhibits including the lions, the bats, the butterflies, the balloon ride, and some of the kids play areas, etc. were closed, which seems strange on a Holiday weekend in the middle of summer. Most of the open attractions cost additional fees.

The sit down restaurant at the Overlook would not take any walk-ins at 1:30 pm even though the place was half empty. They said they couldn't take any more people since they were closing at 4 pm. But the app said they were going to be open till park closing. The Mexican food kiosk we eventually settled on had a long wait for the food and, despite the high cost, it was cold and not very tasty.

However we still managed to have a good time seeing the animals and the volunteers who manned the animal exhibits were all very friendly and knowledgeable and would answer all of our questions especially Susan at the gorilla exhibit.
Written July 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kbhathal
Calgary, Canada87 contributions
Aug 2022
Not a true Safari Park where you would expect to be driven or drive your own vehicle to look at wild animals from close. They charge $65 per head for a days ticket, and once inside you have to pay a heavy fees if you really want to enjoy any informative tour. Even at the African Tram Safari, which is included in the entrance fee, you may skip the line by paying additional $20 per head for an half hour ride through the park. Unashamed commercializations of what is supposed to be a noble cause - to protect and breed endangered species of animals! Hats of to volunteers in red shirts who make the excursion easy by providing excellent directions and advice!
Written August 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kiran_2009
Seminyak, Indonesia132 contributions
Dec 2022
Very overrated. Poor experience.
We got there at 10 am and since the African tram is included in the ticket price we went there first. We thought we will first do the tram ride and then walk around so we know which is the best part but the line for the tram was very long ....TWO HOURS LONG!!!!! This is ridiculous considering we paid so much for the entry ticket. We decided not to stand in the line and walk around to see the animals. There are very few animals and they are not easily visible. They are more accessible to the people seeing them while riding tram and not if people are walking but the tram line was so long!
Other than that there were other tram rides which were $80+ per person. So overall they are trying to just make money and the experience is very very poor. Would not recommend going there unless you want to pay a lot of money on special tram rides.
Written December 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

tencatdaddy
Athens, GA367 contributions
Jan 2023
(two issues: there is a rather steep charge, $15, to park and that is not made readily known AND due to construction much of the elephant exhibit is not easily accessible and w/ a bit of ingenuity that could be changed) and note that due to avian flu many of the birds are not on display.
As w/ the zoo get a map before visiting and plan out your visit as once inside you can get turned around and find yourself unnecessarily backtracking.
This place is amazing. Trying to find my favorite part is impossible. The tram circling animals of the plains is brilliant as you can see so many different species in something of a natural habitat that would be impossible in a normal setting. Actually seeing a duckbill platypus is incredible; getting "up close and personal" w/ a kangaroo is something of a treat; either watching a cheetah or having it watch you is fun; and the same w/ great apes, &c.
Like the zoo I walked in as they opened and they kicked me out at closing so plan to spend the day enjoying things. There is a lot of walking (as one would expect) so beprepared for that.
Written January 22, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lexibelle
Phoenix, AZ1,212 contributions
May 2022
This was fun but very crowded. Lots of kids and lots of people. Fortunately we went on a partly cloudy day because otherwise it would have been very hot. We bought the day pass thru this web site and paid $65 for 3 adults. We decided we wanted to see the giraffes and elephant up close so we paid an additional charge to ride a open truck. There were about 12 of us including the tour guide who gave us lots of information about the animals and their habits. It was informative and you could tell the guide was enjoyed her work and was very knowledgeable. There was a tram included in our ticket but we didn't take it. We did loads of walking to try as much as you can. We did the whole park and it was fun but like I said there were lots of small children there.
Written June 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

sarah p
1 contribution
Dec 2022 • Family
Such a wonderful visit yesterday. We were surprised at how not crowded the park was. We arrived at about 10:30 in the morning when it was still cool. This is the perfect time to go. First thing in the morning ,especially on a cool or foggy morning, means the animals will all be still awake and active and usually playing with the enrichment the keepers have just put out. And make sure to take the tram especially if you can first thing. Again, the animals are up and active and eating and it was just wonderful. We even saw the chubby unicorns, the rhinos, having their breakfast.

We saw two of the three tigers walking around. We saw the cheetah and her dog up and about looking for new sunny spots to snooze. We saw the Australian walkabout which has three babies. And we saw one huge baby get into its mama's pouch. And then the mama jumped 6 ft over the little stream! We saw the tree kangaroo in it's tree. We saw birds galore. And, we even enjoyed with our teens the bonsai garden and the cactus garden.

We had lunch at the Deli, I don't remember its name. Yummy turkey sandwiches. One teen had the veggie wrap that she really enjoyed and the tomato soup and grilled cheese was a big hit for the other.

The staff was so helpful every time we got lost. And the volunteers gave us lots of interesting trivia about each of the animals and their personalities and what they enjoyed most at the zoo. So don't be afraid to ask the red shirted volunteers any questions you have.

It was a lovely day. We couldn't have asked for better weather or a more perfect visit to our favorite zoo.
Written December 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lindy
Mapleton, UT71 contributions
Feb 2022 • Family
Cart Safari Tour (Africa) - Very poor.
My husband and I come to San Diego every February. We often visit the Safari Park, and this time we brought our son’s family of four. We thought the Cart Safari Tour would be fun, and the cost was $330 for the six of us. We did enjoy the ride (about an hour) and on the way out my husband said ‘Let’s go on the Africa Tram’. This ride was nearly identical to the Cart Safari, and it was FREE!! For $330 we literally went on an upper road in the park and saw a ton of sage brush and some big horn sheep. Then the same loop that the Africa Tram takes. This left a very sour taste in our mouth. DO NOT PAY for the Africa Cart Safari. It is a total rip off!!!!!
Written March 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

johnaH6107WF
Minden, NV7 contributions
Dec 2022
We signed up for the Deluxe Safari Tour, we were hoping to get a chance to see the Asian area, ever since the closed the monorail the only way to see this area is through one of the safaris the tram rout is about half of what the monorail covered.

As it ended up we only got to see the two African enclosures that you can see from the free tram. We did not get close to any rhino's.

We have done the Deluxe Safari Tour more than 10 times the last two of the three times were very disappointing. I used to recommend the Safari Tour, but I would not recommend these tours any more and doubt we will ever take them again.
Written December 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Joan C
Clarendon hill88 contributions
May 2022 • Family
This is a very large park and therefore the animals are very far away. Even on the carts or tram the animals are far away. Go to the zoo instead, this was really really disappointing. The team ride included w the ticket was a 90 minute wait and the park didn’t even seem that crowded; for $20 more person you could join a line that was only 20 minutes. Again the viewing of animals was not that great and the tram guide had superficial knowledge, at best, of each animal
Written May 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

LuxuryGipsy
San Diego, CA21 contributions
Jul 2022 • Couples
I recommend to be at the park at least 30 min prior to opening time. Go straight via the lagoon, the Gorillas to the Africa tram. I would recommend to spend some extra for either an African cart Safari or wild Safari, the latter bringing you very close to the animals. The guides and associates in the park are superbly trained and know what’s going on. Make a reservation for lunch or early dinner at the Watering hole for superb views during daylight while enjoying a meal and a drink.
After the driven Safari it’s time for a visit to the elephants and tigers and the gardens near “Australia”. Only regret was that there were no lions albeit that there was a lion enclosure. The Tiger was gorgeous.
Very educational for old and young.
Special mention for our guide Ms River, Justin, Zedell and the best lady attendant I’ve ever experienced.
A definitely must do when in the area.
Written July 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Escondido) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park is open:
  • Mon - Fri 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Sat - Sun 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park admission prices can vary. Entrance tickets currently cost $69.00, while a popular guided tour starts around $89.00 per person. See all 3 San Diego Zoo Safari Park tickets and tours on Tripadvisor

San Diego Zoo Safari Park can be crowded, so we recommend booking e-tickets ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund. See all 3 San Diego Zoo Safari Park tickets and tours on Tripadvisor