Wild Animal Park

San Diego Wild Animal Park
At the San Diego Wild Animal Park, species mingle just like they do in the wild, and visitors can see them as they might be seen in their native Asia and Africa. The San Diego Wild Animal Park began as a veritable Noah's Ark and was opened as a tourist attraction afterward. Today, dozens of nearly-extinct species have been bred here and re-introduced into the wild.

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What's New at the Park

San Diego Wild Animal Park Exhibits and Activities

The San Diego Wild Animal Park covers 1,800 acres and there's plenty to do and see.

  • Journey Into Africa: This trip may be the closest many of us will ever come to seeing these wild critters in their natural environment. Typically, you will see giraffes, several kinds of rhinoceros, elephants and other kinds of wild creatures, all roaming together like they do in the wild. The vehicle tour replaces the old Wgasa Bush Line Railway train and is not included in the lowest-priced general admission ticket.
  • Heart of Africa: In this area, you'll find a giraffe feeding station where you can buy snacks and hand-feed the tall creatures. Arrive at feeding time, and you'll be sure to see the cheetahs. Check to find out the times for these activities. There are also daily animal encounters on the lawn here.
  • Lorikeet Landing: Lorikeets are very colorful birds slightly larger than a parakeet. Stop at the entrance to their enclosure to buy a cup of lorikeet nectar. Hold it in your hand and the birds will sit on your finger and drink it up. This activity is highly recommended for kids and adults.
  • Nairobi Village: Here you'll find the Petting Kraal where you can get some hands-on time with the tamest critters, along with the San Diego Wild Animal Park Nursery. There's also a daily bird show.
  • Other areas of the San Diego Wild Animal Park include the Lion Camp, Elephant Overlook, Condor Ridge, African Aviary and Australian Rain Forest. If horticulture is your passion, you can indulge it at the Wild Animal Park. Look for the unusual gardens spread along the trails.
The San Diego Wild Animal Park raises extra money with a number of fun activities such as Photo Safaris, Cheetah Run Safari, Balloon Safari (a 15-minute ride that goes 400 feet in the air), sleepovers and special Wild Animal Park tours. Extra admission is charged for these, and you can find all the details at the San Diego Wild Animal Park website .


Activities included with general admission

Discovery Station

This new kid-friendly area for children and adults is filled with musical instruments, puppets, books, craft activities, and wildlife "toys" and is designed to give children and their adult companions a playful space to learn. Educators facilitate learning and activities every day during Park operating hours. You can stop by for an impromptu animal presentation, or do a stone rubbing of your favorite animal track. The Station is located next to the Park's Thorn Tree Terrace.

Savanna Cool Zone

Walk through palm trees offering a gentle mist to three slippery critters that spout water: a turtle, a lion, and a crocodilian. Located next to Lion Camp , the Savanna Cool Zone is a wild way to cool off!

Jameson Research Island

10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Stop by this island research outpost to see animals up close, hear real-life animal stories, and play with inventive water games. Located in Heart of Africa.

Fisher-Price Samburu Jungle Gym

Kids love to climb and explore in this safari-themed play area; parents love the shade-covered picnic area! Located below Benbough Amphitheater.

Keeper Talks at Lion Camp

Meet our lion keepers and learn about the cats in their care.

Activities included with Best Value admission package (*may also be purchased separately)

Journey into Africa tour Guided tour rides depart 9:15 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, including all holidays, with extended hours during summer's Park At Dark .
Journey into Africa tour The Journey into Africa tour is an exciting expedition, with brightly colored tour vehicles, a new route, and our diverse animal collection creating a fresh, new adventure. The new ride path takes you into some of the field exhibits, giving you a chance to connect with the animals on a closer level. *Journey into Africa is not included with general admission, only with the Best Value admission package. Separate tour price is $10 for adults, $6 for children ages 3 – 11.
More... Conservation Carousel

For kids and kids at heart, our colorful Conservation Carousel features 60 ride elements to choose from, many of which replicate rare and endangered animals. You can ride giraffes, rhinos, zebras, cheetahs, and more—which will be your favorite? *Conservation Carousel is not included with general admission, only with the Best Value admisison package. Separate carousel price is $2 per ride, or $4 to ride all day.

Other activities (not included with general admission or Best Value admission package)

Balloon Safari (temporarily closed for maintenance)

Get a bird's-eye view of the entire Wild Animal Park on this unique airborne ride, modeled after the hot air balloon tours of the Serengeti. Located just west of Lion Camp , this quiet, tethered helium-filled balloon can carry up to 30 people and rises up to 400 feet (121 meters), giving riders a panoramic view of lions, rhinos, giraffes, wildebeest, and gazelle, as well as the beautiful San Pasqual Valley. Tickets for the Balloon Safari are available for $20 (members pay $17) at either the main entrance or at the balloon site. Balloon Safari operates daily, and each launch lasts approximately 15 minutes.

Photo Caravan Safari Tours

Experience the safari of your life on one of our Photo Caravan Safari Tours . Safari trucks take you into the heart of our large field exhibits, where you get an up-close-and-personal look at the free-roaming animals of Africa and Asia. Don't forget to bring your camera for some amazing photo opportunities. Also offered (during February and the summer) are Night Moves Caravan Tours for adults only and Family Caravan Tours (offered April–September) for families with children ages 6 and up. More...

Cheetah Run Safari

Witness the world's fastest land mammal do what it does best—run! Cheetah Run Safari takes you to beautiful, rustic Cheetah Outpost to meet some African animals up close. Then you'll feel the wind whoosh by as the sleek cheetah bolts past, mere feet away, after a mechanical rabbit lure. Offered on Saturdays and Sundays only. More...

Savanna Safari

A premium version of the Journey into Africa tour, Savanna Safari is a 50-minute program that takes you to all the places on the Journey into Africa tour, as well as other areas not on the tour, such as Mountain Habitat. All you have to do is sit back in the comfort of an intimate safari cart and get ready to see incredible animals and their habitats. Tickets can be purchased at the Journey into Africa ticket booth on the day of the program. More...

Ride on the Wild Side

Venture deeper into the Wild Animal Park experience! A Ride on the Wild Side takes you in a safari cart to meet an animal up close, visit the back area of Lion Camp, and check out the cheetahs' bedrooms. This two-hour tour also includes a trip on the Journey into Africa path, as well as binoculars to help you get the best view possible of our African animals. More...

ZooWerks simulator ride: SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D

Riders join SpongeBob SquarePants™ as he desperately pursues a runaway pickle in his heartfelt desire to serve the perfect Krabby Patty. Get ready for a hilarious and zany adventure as SpongeBob chases a robotic double of Patrick through Bikini Bottom. The ZooWerks simulator ride can be found next to the Park's Petting Kraal in Nairobi Village. Price for members is $5.50 for adults (12 and older) and $4.50 for children ages 3–11; nonmember price is $6 for adults (12 and older) and $5 for children ages 3–11. The ride is at the Park for a limited time. Prices and films subject to change.

Member Special: During the month of May, members may buy one ZooWerks ticket and receive a second one free!


Experience Africa

This brand-new interactive family show features life-sized "parade puppets," magic, and music to involve and entertain you as you help bring life-saving rain to the animals during this playful African folktale. The 20-minute show can be seen in the Elephant Show Amphitheater at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily, with additional show times during Park At Dark . Come join the fun and help bring the rain!

Animal Trackers

Test your knowledge of wildlife trivia as you play along during Animal Trackers , a new, interactive show at the Park. Held at Benbough Amphitheater, the game show-themed program includes visits from some very special animal guests. Come see how much you really know about animals! Animal Trackers is offered daily at noon and 4 p.m. and is included with Park admission.

Frequent Flyers Bird Show

An East African crowned crane in flight is a stunning sight viewed by only a privileged few, until now! The crane is one of the stars of the Wild Animal Park's bird show, Frequent Flyers . The program lets you witness birds in full flight.

Frequent Flyers offers spectacular flights and focuses on a variety of birds from around the world. You'll find this program engaging as you watch more birds free flying, offering a chance to see the feathered cast's natural talents. With over 40 different species and growing, no two shows will be the same. Frequent Flyers is full of great fun, natural history, fantastic stories, and, of course, lots of birds! Show times are 1 and 3 p.m. daily; the show is included with Park admission.

A number of Animal Encounter chats will get you up-close to some wild things!

Animal Encounters

This interactive program gives you an opportunity to have face-to-face contact with the Park's animal ambassadors like a cheetah, alligator, serval, and other rare and exotic animals. You may interact with trainers and ask questions about the species. Interactions happen throughout the Park, check your map insert for times and locations.


Thorntree Terrace: Located in Nairobi Village , the Thorntree Terrace not only offers a selection of sandwiches, salads, and burgers to diners, but also daily entertainment from the nearby inhabitants of Spider Monkey Island. Breakfast is also served here until 10:30 a.m.

Mombasa Island Cooker: An outdoor dining facility covered with a thatched roof and located in a secluded area surrounded with exotic waterfowl. The Mombasa Island Cooker serves up Italian and Asian specialities, as well as salads and burgers.

Okavango Outpost: Select your meal from a choice of hot dogs, deli sandwiches, salads, and Kid's Meals, then dine outdoors and enjoy the spectacular scenery in the Park's Heart of Africa exhibit.

Samburu Terrace: This outdoor dining facility is located just below the popular Bird Show amphitheater . It offers burgers, hot dogs, fries, chicken sandwiches, barbecue ribs, tri-tip sandwiches, Kid's Meals, salads, and "South of the Border" entrées.

Congo Kitchen: Located in Nairobi Village, across from the main gift shop , Congo Kitchen serves hot dogs, nachos, and Kid's Meals.



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