A Day at Safari Park

When I first moved to San Diego, and my children were little, I had heard about San Diego’s “world-famous zoo” and how magnificent it was. And, true to its word and reputation, I found it to be a really spectacular zoo. If you visit, it’s not to be missed.

But, if you venture a ways out of town, heading north on Interstate 15 to Escondido, you’ll discover the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The two zoos are related, as both are operated by a not-for-profit organization. But while the zoo comprises 100 acres and is home to over 3,700 rare and endangered animals, the Safari Park is a wildlife sanctuary that sits on 1,800 acres. For those who have trouble with math, that’s a mere 1,700 acres more than the zoo has!

Yet, as expansive as the Safari Park is, fewer animals reside there. About 1,000 less, which means, the animals sure have LOTS of room for roaming!

Alas, once my kids entered their teen years, they no longer were interested in going to either park. Hanging with friends trumped hanging with mom, hands down. So, imagine my delight when my son and his girlfriend recently invited me to spend a day with them at the safari park.Β  Which for me meant only one thing:


Now, I’m definitely no professional, but I’m sure you know how much I adore taking photos.Β  Here are just a few from the day we spent at the vast, enormous park:


Trust me, these flamingos looked a lot more pink in person. I guess you had to be there.


I don’t know what I did, but I love how this photo of the red-headed ducks turned out.


Don’t you just love giraffes? They’re so calm, majestic, and, well, tall. A few years ago, I got to feed one when I went on the Safari Park’s special caravan tour. Talk about fun!DSCN6653


One lion rests; another licks her chops. DSCN6733

The gorillas were out and about, including one baby gorilla whose photo I tried to snap at least a dozen times, to no avail. Boy, was he quick. So, my consolation prize was getting a photo of this fellow. DSCN6771

I like how the water glistens in this shot.


Here’s same bird, a study in black and white.


And, finally, one more:

After all, what's a trip to the safari park without stopping at the gift shop?

Because, what’s a trip to the safari park without stopping at the gift shop?

So, tell me. When was the last time you paid a trip to the wild animals in your neck of the woods?

41 thoughts on “A Day at Safari Park

  1. Monica, I have to admit that I’ve never been a fan of zoos. I think it’s because I don’t like the idea of animals in cages but from your photo I can see that this isn’t the case at the San Diego Zoo. Your photos are lovely! I love the one of the gorilla! Love it! I think it’s too cool that you were able to do this with your son. Just when we think we’ll never get another chance to relive the “childhood” days, something this magical happens. A cause for smiles if you ask me! πŸ™‚

    • San Diego is known for its zoo, and they treat the animals with great humanity. I grew up going to the Bronx Zoo where all the animals were in small cages. It’s changed since then, but I know exactly what you mean. If you ever make it to these parts, I’ll take you there myself and you will see how magnificent the zoo is!

  2. I haven’t been down that way in yonks. Even though I live in the Bay Area we made the trek to San Diego often when the kids were younger. I love that place. To answer your question, it’s been too long. Might be worth a trip down. Great pics, btw.

    • You should visit the zoo again, Brenda. Bring the kids and I’m sure you’ll find that you all will appreciate it in a different way. Besides, you’ll be able to enjoy it without having to chase after your kids. How nice is that? πŸ˜‰

  3. I have a strong affection for the San Diego Zoo, and I believe I did get to Safari Park years ago. I’m sure it’s changed a bit. These photos are delightful. And, digital ‘storage’ being what it is, you’ll be spared the aches and pains of ‘divesting.’ Great minds do think along similar tracks, don’t they? πŸ˜‰

    • Trust me, Deborah, it has changed. They remodeled so much I was completely lost without a map. But it looks great, seeing the animals in this way is priceless. Plus, it’s fun! As for divesting, my work is just beginning. πŸ˜‰

  4. Sounds like a fantastic day Monica. How lovely to spend time with your children like that. This was on our agenda last year when we brought our friends from Australia down south, but we went to Sea World instead. It is now on my must- do list as my girls really want to go. I love the photos, the glistening water is my absolute favorite. You have a great eye my dear. I love being around animals, my favorite memory of all time is seeing my girls cuddle a koala and feed the kangaroos on our trip to Australia.

    • Oh, MM, next time be sure to take your girls there. You’ll feel like your in another part of the world. It’s amazing to see! I’m so glad you agree with me about the glistening water. So peaceful looking, if you ask me. πŸ˜‰

  5. I’ve always heard that San Diego has the best zoo, hands down. Now you’re telling me I have to see the Safari, too? Well, yeah, okay, I guess if I ever get over that way, I’ll make time to do both! I think the last time I visited zoo animals was either Indianapolis or St. Louis, when Domer was small. Too long, huh?!

    • Yep, Debbie. That about sums it up. But you can buy an admission ticket that’ll get you into both. After that, you can swing by Sea World and Legoland Park. Of course, Disneyland is just an hour to the north. So, what are you waiting for?

  6. Awesome photos! San Diego has some of the best weather anywhere and great places to spend time discovering. Thanks for sharing the beauty of this park.

    • Mary Lisa, you might not say that about our weather if you’d been here this past month. We are freezing!! It was in the 30’s overnight, and we got some snow in the mountains. Some days, wouldn’t get higher than mid-50’s. Oh, so cold. Practically got frostbite! πŸ˜‰
      Glad you like my photos!

  7. People always want to see the zoo when they come to visit us, so we got a membership. I love being able to stop and visit my favorite animals whenever I like. I love the pandas, the elephants and the gorillas the most. And those lions are breathtaking. Amazing photos!

    • Shary, what a great idea to have a zoo pass. It’s always a wonderful place to take out-of-town visitors, I agree. And we are so lucky to have two such amazing parks in our own backyard. πŸ™‚

    • My photography skills, Bea, are nothing really. Just point and shoot (and hope for the best). Heh-heh. That’s all really, but I do have a rather nice camera that helps me look good.

  8. The final photo cracked me up! Perfect, twist at the end, my friend. But it looks like such a wonderful place to visit! I have a blogger friend who lives in the bush in South Africa and takes pictures of giraffes just meters from her home. I think it looks so romantic. Silly me!

  9. Beautiful photos! We lived in San Diego for a few years when my boys were small and they loved both the Zoo and the Wild Animal Park. How nice you got to spend the day making some new memories with your son!

  10. Absolutely gorgeous! Each photo jumps off the page and engages me. I want to go there now. What a magnificent eye you have. And the camera is not too shabby either. My favorite are the first two, but I like them all!! Superb! And so nice to spend with your daughter! Love the pic of you and her on fb! xoxo

    • Thank you so much, Jodi. I appreciate the kind remarks. I enjoy taking photos so much, but I think it’s because it runs in my blood. My father was a cartographer. Mostly, he took aerial shots over the jungles of Venezuela. He was also obsessed with the camera and spent a lot of time making us pose for the camera.

  11. A really super place to visit Monica, if you can’t see animals in the wild then that has to be the next best thing. Animals should not be in enclosures behind bars.

    Lovely pictures Monica, have you ever thought of a web site to show your best images on?

    • A web site just for my images? Intriguing idea. However, I must say, I’m not sure I could manage two sites. At least not at this time. But I’m flattered you think it’s a possibility. Thanks!

      • I reckon a nice little site with a selection of your images and the story behind each would be very popular Monica.

        Your pictures are very pleasing on the eye and you sure as hell can write and the two combined would I think be a winner.

  12. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Monica. I haven’t been to the Safari Park in ages, since my kids were little. I have always loved that place. What a treat to go with your son and his girlfriend!

    • Susan, spending a day there reminded me how much I used to enjoy visiting the park when my kids were young. And, you will not recognize it. It’s been dramatically remodeled. New lookout points, new pathways. I kind of got discombobulated. The only disappointing thing was the tram ride. I remember it being about an hour long. Well, they’ve cut the tour in half!

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