San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park

High on my list of places to visit while we were in Southern California was San Diego Zoo.  It is quite famous as a large zoo, with hundreds of different species of animal.  While doing some research before our trip, I discovered that they had a second park there too – the San Diego Wild Animal Park – and so that was also added to the to do list!

We visited San Diego Zoo the first week.  The drive down from Anaheim was relatively pleasant compared to some of the driving we had done as the traffic seemed a lot lighter and the road had some lovely views over the local countryside and the sea.

We started walking through the Outback area, and then the Urban Jungle.  It was quite cool to see some animals I’d never seen face to face before. Most of the animals were quite sleepy though so we didn’t see as much as we’d like.

Jaguar 9Next we headed through the Elephant Odyssey area which was a large and relatively new looking area.  The elephants were quite far away, but just as you come out of that area you get to where the jaguar was.  He was having fun with a fish in his enclosure and so we got a good look at him.

Next we went to see the polar bears, and they were lovely.  One walked around for a little while before deciding to have a nap with his feet in the air!

Smiley pandaFrom there we headed up the eagle trail and on to see the Giant Pandas.  I thought there would be quite a queue as there is a baby at the moment, and I’d rumours of long wait times.  But we were lucky and managed to get to see him straight away.

Next was the part of the zoo I was most looking forward to – the big cat trail.  However, I was rather disappointed.  They had quite a few cats, but the enclosures all seemed really small, and only contained one animal.  While a lot of cats are quite solitary, they could have had multiple enclosures.  Heading next into the Lost Forest I hoped to get some good tiger shots, but again I was left disappointed.

Overall, the zoo was large, and it did have a huge number of different species, but there were clearly some animals that had all the attention and others that felt like they were there to boost the numbers.  I guess like any zoo it takes time to build up, and then over the years improve as we learn more about animals, but I hope they put some work into the big cat enclosures soon!

Wild Animal Park 4In total contrast the Wild Animal Park was amazing.  It is a huge park in Escondido just outside of San Diego.  Despite its enourmous size the whole park felt well designed and there was attention to detail at every turn – from well laid out paths and board walks over the water, to well landscaped plants and flowers alongside all the paths.

Once in we headed on down to the Heart of Africa.  The views as you come down the mountain were lovely.  You could see the park and the animals, with the mountains off in the distance and it really felt like we were away from the hustle and bustle of being near cities.

Cheetah 10We got to the cheetah area in time to meet one of the residents, and watch as he played like a bit kitty!  He walked around to meet his public before chasing a big toy snake on a stick and then settling down under the umbrella with his friend, a dog, while the keepers told us some more about him.

After seeing the cheetah we headed off on the Journey Into Africa which was a tour included with our tickets.  You stepped aboard a tram which took you off to areas of the walk that aren’t accessible by foot, and we got to see the animals in lovely open areas, mixed together as they would be in the wild.

Lion 15After the tour we went and saw the lions.  These were a real highlight of my visit.  The male had the most stunning dark coloured mane, and we were able to watch him chomping down on his lunch before deciding to settle down in the sun.

Baby elephant 1Another really cool thing was going to see the 4 day old baby elephant!  I took some photos of him with a sibling, and he was so tiny even next to the other one which wasn’t old.

Overall, I loved the Wild Animal Park and would highly recommend anyone takes a visit.  I could have spent days there and it was certainly my favourite place of our visit to California.

More photographs from both the zoo and the wild animal park are on Flickr.

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3 Responses to “San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park”

  1. Florine Says:

    I think this is among the such a lot vital info for me.

    And i am satisfied studying your article. However want to remark on some basic issues,
    The website style is ideal, the articles is truly nice : D.
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  2. [full naruto episodes] Says:

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this,
    like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit,
    but other than that, this is wonderful blog. An excellent read.

    I’ll definitely be back.

    • Helena Says:

      Thank you. There is a link in the bottom of the post to lots more photographs from there but I could only pick a few to share on the blog article.

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