Thursday, July 12, 2012

San Diego Safari Park

DSC09745For my birthday, I thought it would be fun to drag take my family to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It all started with a Groupon I saw. And then I contacted the San Diego Zoo Safari Park to see if they would mind me doing a little write up. Of course they wouldn’t mind, and they kicked in 4 complimentary tickets for my awesomeness. Definitely helpful when we had 8 adults and Will in tow.

The drive took a little over an hour from our house. Not too shabby. We arrived to San Diego’s sunny skies, ready for an adventure.
DSC09767Will grabbed a map and picked up an explorer hat from the gift shop less than 10 minutes after we walked into the park. I thought this was for my birthday celebration?! Sadly, my head didn’t fit in the explorer hat.

There is no shortage of things to do, animals to see, or places to go at this place. You can check out their map HERE. We got there around 10:30am and closed the park down at 5pm on a Saturday in June. We saw a little over half of the park. There were lots of people there, but we didn’t wait long for anything. Pretty amazing feat for the day of the week, time of year, and amount of people we had in tow! No way we would’ve been able to accomplish that at Disneyland!

Unlike a regular zoo, we got to get pretty close to the animals. Maybe because they’re in a more realistic exhibit, they were all very active!
GorillaHow stinkin’ cute is Monroe, the baby gorilla?! He was born June 17, 2011. We are birthday buddies, almost! So he was a little over a year old when we were there. His momma was holding him and clinging to her (1st pic & 3rd pic, above, clockwise from top left). That’s the momma peeking out from the cave in the bottom left picture. Then they climbed up the tree and hung out in the hammock that’s up there.

We made our way around to these beauties:
ElephantDSC00008The elephant exhibit was huge. And there were quite a few in there, including lots of babies! See the one in the bottom right of the collage, and then right here to the right, he played with this little box while we watched. I swear he’s smiling in the pic to the right. It was so cool!
The one in the background of the pic in the bottom right of the collage was playing in the water spout that’s right in front of him.
By the way, I’m not expert, so I’m calling them all “him” because they look like boys to me. Except for the ones that were very obvious boys… if you know what I’m sayin’!
They look so gentle though. I just wanted to go out there and play with them!

We also hopped on the tram, twice:
Tram-001TramAmazing, right?! Rhinos, Giraffes, Zebras, Lions, Cheetahs, and Asses, OH MY! You can go feed the giraffes, too. Definitely on the list for our next visit. I love the picture in the second set, top middle, where my giraffe buddy is looking straight at me. Hi! I’ll see you soon!
Another amazing feat is that this was the only line we waited in, for a total of maybe 20 minutes, the first time. The second time we went, right before closing and were on the last tram running, we waited maybe 10 minutes. That’s nothing! The line is well shaded and has large fans with misters for a nice cool off while you wait. It’s also where we got this great group picture:
Top-200Which brings me to my next personal task that day… pictures! Not just of the animals, but of my whole family and in smaller groups of us, etc. It was like I worked for TMZ that day. This park was full of lush landscape, so there was no shortage of beautiful backgrounds. We don’t have a lot of pictures of all of us together because we forget cameras or get tired or whatever. I definitely accomplished my mission this day:
My mom and sister also had their cameras with them. Between the 3 of us, we took over 400 pictures that day. Awesomesauce.

Speaking of the landscaping:
Gorgeous, right?

The must see event of the day is the Cheetah Run. Go HERE to see their video of the coolest thing I have ever seen.
See that steel cage in the back of the truck (pic on the left), there’s a cheetah in there! You can see the legs and bod of the cheetah in the bottom right pic. This is all open hair with a 4’ high fence on it. Pretty incredible. This cheetah is haulin’!
We were lucky enough that our cheetah did two runs. It’s quite an exhausting run so sometimes they only run once. Here’s my ghetto video of the 1st run:

and the 2nd run:

Barely over 5 seconds for both runs. The first whizz of something you see go past is the cheetah’s favorite little zebra stuffed animal. It’s on a tether’s rope on a motor so that the cheetah can chase it to the finish. Ah-mazing.
This was the only attraction that was crazy crowded. If you want a good spot without paying $10 per person for the VIP area, get there 30-40 minutes before show time with a snack and a drink in hand and just hang out. Best 5 seconds of running I’ve ever seen! Oh, and the cheetah has a dog friend. They grew up together to help train the cheetah. If the dog runs and sees that everything is ok, the cheetah takes his advice and runs too. How cute is that?!

We are trading in our Disneyland annual passes for some San Diego Zoo & Safari Park passes. Two places for the teeniest fraction of the cost for our Disneyland passes. We can’t wait to go back and check all of the stuff we missed. They were finishing up the new Tiger exhibit, so those will be awesome to see next time.

After a full day and a little bit of a drive to get home, a few of us were pooped:

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Go. Now!
I’d even say skip the regular zoo. Do this first!


1 comment:

  1. That day didn't feel like a drag at all! Such a fun day!


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