Planning a staycation in California this year? I know that my family plans a lot of California staycations and long weekend outings. One of the places that we just love to visit while staycationing and would love to share with all of you is the world famous San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Before I get any further into this wonderful California Staycation idea I would like to say that I was not compensated in any fashion for the selection of this staycation location; I am not affiliated with the San Diego Zoo Organization; however, my family is an annual pass holding family because we like to visit the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park multiple times a year and sometimes even more than once in a week.
With that said, there are a lot of places that you could staycation in San Diego. San Diego is diverse enough that we have multiple world renowned beaches, diverse historical landmarks and sites, and multiple mainstream attractions. Since we all have families I thought it would be nice to share with you all one of those main attractions that my family loves to visit together: The San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The other main attractions are great for staycations too, but when we have SeaWorld, the Zoo, a World’s Fair Park with multiple award winning museums, and Legoland all in our home turf, we still tend to gravitate towards the San Diego Zoo Safari Park for repeat visits all year long.
What is it that draws us to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park? Well, we live in the rural mountains outside San Diego so it is close to us. This means we can go for a few hours, see a few animals, and then come home, but for a staycation, the best thing about the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is that it has a diverse selection of animals that are not only close to you; but also, the park contains wide open spaces where the animals can run right before your eyes and be themselves.
To help see more of what a San Diego Zoo Safari Park California Staycation can offer you, my family and I decided to take a day trip to the park to share its wonders with you. We were sad to only take one day through because we didn’t get to see the entire park in one day. That is just how big it is. If you had two days you could see everything and enjoy it all too. And if you had about a week you could not only see the entire park, but you could also experience all the added tours and safaris where you can go behind the scenes of the enclosures, meet with zoo keepers, zip line down the park from one side to another, and even spend the night or week camping in the park. And yes, I did just say you can sleep inside the park in a special area just like an explorer and be right in there with the animals (it is totally supervised too, but the educational value is phenomenal).
So one of the first things your family will experience when you enter the park is a natural environment that is filled with everything living from insects, to plants, to animals, to habitat enclosures, to themed meal and play venues too. This little guy has been greeting visitors to the park for as long as I can remember. He is a very pretty animal and loves all the attention too.
Just like any good theme park adventure you need to map out what you plan to do. The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is no different. The park has a lot of trails, paths, safari’s, and other alcoves in it. Maps are a must and as you can see from the picture above, the park is also laid out with map markers, area names, and attractions. These are wonderfully themed. Beck and Elizabeth always have fun finding where we are and trying to figure out how to get us to the next attraction we want to see. Even though this is a staycation, which is a vacation, map reading is a skill I like to encourage my children to develop and reinforce whenever they can. So, after we found our desired first attraction, the children found the path to take to get us on our way to take an Africa Tram Adventure.
On the tram we got to ride around about half the perimeter of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the driver let us know everything about what we were seeing from the foliage, to the animals, to the conservation efforts, and everything in between.
The first thing we got to see was a rare nursing baby rhinoceros, one of the only few in captivity and this little guy was only 6 days old.
Then just on the other side of the enclosure (and behind a tall wall too) was a female cheetah. I guess they rest 90% of their day and run full bore the rest of it. She looked very comfortable in her shaded spot.
After that it was off to see the other animals all over the enclosure. These were some of our favorites from our journey and if you get to take your own you will see even more and can make your own friends.
Making friends is just what happened when we got to another of our favorite parts of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park – The Petting Area. In this area there are a lot of friendly animals that love to get pet, brushed, and fed. Actually, there are a multitude of areas you can feed animals, but this is the only area you can also touch and interact with them. As you can see, both Beck and Elizabeth made different friends on this trip:
This is Elizabeth with her friendly goat (he was a chatty guy).
And this is Beck with his pygmy goat. Both of the children had lots of fun with the animals. And it didn’t seem to matter to them that some were at a fingers touch away and others were off in the distance, running from hill to hill either. Even though we frequent the park every time we go there is something, or someone, new to see or explore.
And there is definitely more to do and see at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, but you will have to come see it yourself on your next California Staycation. Besides, even if I showed all the animals to you here and all the attractions to you now, when you get here yourself everything would be different because the animals are just that: living animals. Each day their lives and ours bring us new adventures to be had and seen!
Places to Visit with Kids in California:
Sunshine Kids Blog Hop 2014
Summer is a great time to explore with your kids – and you don’t have to travel far to do it! California has so much to offer to families. Take a great staycation this summer by visiting your local treasures! In our second annual Sunshine Kids Blog Hop, we are focusing on our favorite places to visit with kids in California. Enjoy! And be sure to add your own family-friendly California posts in our linky at the bottom. You can also check out even more California posts on our collaborative Kid Friendly California Pinterest board!
And now it’s time to see what everyone has been up to: