San Diego Wild Animal Park - Escondido, California - one of the largest zoos and wildlife sanctuaries in the United States
Part of the world-renowned San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Wild Animal Park is a wildlife sanctuary that is home to 3,500 animals of over 400 different species. The park covers over 1,800 acres, half of which has been set aside as a protected habitat for native species of animals and plants. In addition to the animals housed in the Wild Animal Park, it also is home to over 1.5 million plants from over 3,500 species.
In addition to the protected wildlife sanctuary, the Wild Animal Park features almost a dozen exhibits that range from a Journey into Africa to Lorikeet Landing, featuring tropical lorikeets, friendly and gregarious cousins to the parrots. Each of the exhibits offers interactive activities, exploration trails and chances to encounter exotic animals from around the world.
One of the park's most popular exhibits is the 2.5-mile Journey into Africa tour. The tour takes place on the African Express, inspired by the legendary safari trains that once took tourists throughout the African plains to see some of the world's exotic animals. The train makes its way through simulated environments on the entire African continent. Visitors will encounter rhinoceros and Cape buffalo, sable antelope, eland and giraffes. Along the way, the tour guides will engage the riders with stories about the park's efforts and successes in conservation efforts, including the park's successes in the captive breeding programs to help conserve endangered species.
For the more energetic, the Kilimanjaro Safari Walk is a 2 mile walk along a path through the East African Plains. The path makes its way past the Lion Camp and the Elephant Viewing Patio. Next to the Lion Camp, visitors can take a break with a shady interlude in the Savanna Cool Zone, or wander further to the Nairobi Village or the Heart of Africa exhibit.
The Wild Animal Park also offers a number of "Special Experiences'' for visitors - out of the ordinary and memorable activities that bring park guests to the edge and over. Visitors can book a special Photo Caravan Tour that will take them by truck into the heart of the exhibits, where, accompanied by experienced guides, they'll have unparalleled photo opportunities. Visitors can also explore the park in an adventurous, new way - on an off-road Segway vehicle.
There are also numerous options for overnight adventures at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, including Family Nights that are open to the general public with children over 6, Junior nights with activities geared to children under 6 and Adults Only nights in varying flavors including one that includes a romantic dinner for two and a frank discussion of animal mating habits.
The San Diego Wild Animal Park is open 365 days a year, and is just a short drive from the city of San Diego and the San Diego Zoo. Hours vary by season with occasional special hours for events and activities for guests, groups, and members. For information on admission prices and special packages, contact the San Diego Wild Animal Park at 760-747-8702.
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