A relatively short drive out of downtown San Diego finds you at one of my very favorite spots to bring family and friends. Affectionally called the WAP by locals, the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park is located in North County San Diego (Escondido) and encompasses nearly 1700 acres!
Being further inland than the Zoo, the climate makes it perfect for African and Asian animals. And with so much land available, the WAP is able to create a more natural area for the animals to live in.
The Journey into Africa tour included in their Best Value ticket gives you a great overall perspective of lower enclosures of the Park in just 30 minutes. Animals of different species mix freely in large “exhibit” areas – much in the way I would imagine them to do in nature.
Part of the really cool element of the Wild Animal Park is their “premium features”. Take a Photo Caravan tour through either the African or Asian enclosures, and you will truly be up close and personal with these animals. You’ll even get a chance to feed giraffes or rhinos! If you don’t plan on going on a true African Safari in the next say 30 or 40 years, this is absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime experience! The WAP’s new Flightline experience looks totally cool as well. I haven’t had the chance to experience it myself yet, but am looking forward to it. And in a truly imaginative way of mixing technology and nature, the Park’s Rolling Safari tour has you touring around the outside of enclosures on a Segway! Too bad our caveman ancestors didn’t have these babies…hunting would have been much easier!
Another experience at the WAP that I have been wanting to do for YEARS is their Roar & Snore sleepover program. They’ve got nice, canvas tents set up on a hill overlooking the African enclosure where you get to camp overnight! Campers are treated to the growls of lions and the calls of various animals all night. (You thought your husband snored loudly!) The experience includes behind-the-scenes tours of the Park, your meals, and special animal presentations – this ain’t your typical camping experience! They’ve got Family nights, Adults Only nights and even nights just for Girl Scout troops. These experiences are so popular that they book up fast, so I’d recommend booking plenty in advance if you’re interested.