During our journey through California, we considered it would be rude to not make a stop at the world famous San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.
We visited the park on a Saturday in the middle of summer so the weather was no issue and made it a pleasant stroll around the zoo. We arrived promptly at 10am and were able to experience all that San Diego zoo has to offer by the end of the day at 5pm. You’ll need some comfortable shoes because your entire day will be walking but there are plenty of rest stops along the way for those who need a break. All the routes and paths are wheelchair and pushchair accessible meaning anyone can come and enjoy the zoo! As we roamed the park, there were numerous keepers and volunteers on hand if you wanted to ask any questions or simply needed a helping hand. Each and every one of them greeted you with a smile and appeared completely approachable.
As for the animals, San Diego is home to a variety of incredible species from the capybaras, the echidnas, all the way to the king of the jungle, the lions. I was astonished by how many different mammals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures reside in the park and anyone planning a trip must arrive early if they stand any chance of seeing each and every one of them. My wife has never been particularly keen on zoos due to bad experiences in the past with mistreated animals in other parks, but all the enclosures at San Diego Zoo looked extremely clean and had 24/7 maintenance. The animals themselves looked healthy and relaxed with plenty of activities, equipment and toys well suited to each species’ needs. The park is dedicated to breeding endangered species and informing visitors on the threats these species face in the wild such as climate change and the destruction of habitats. Due to the time of year and it being a weekend, there was a crowd of people wherever we went. If you aren’t phased by a lack of personal space, then the crowds won’t ruin your day. However, it occasionally made it challenging to see some of the animals over the sea of human heads infront of you. We also noticed that a number of the vending machines around the park were out of order so be sure to take a drink (and a snack) with you. The main let down of our trip was not realising there is an extra fee for parking (noted on their website.) The food on the park was typical “theme park food” and tasted fine but like most food in public parks, it was a little overpriced for the quality.
At the end of the day we took tram rides through both the Asian and African plains where we were able to get up close and personal with the rhinos, giraffes, zebras and various antelope. You’ll never appreciate the beauty and size of these animals until they are a standing two meters infront of you. The tour guide was helpful and informative; you’ll take a lot of interesting facts and information away with you. The best thing about this zoo is the opportunity to be out there with the animals instead of looking at them through glass, that and the park’s dedication to caring for the animals and its passion for wildlife. This zoo provides the animals residing their with the freedom and space they need to thrive as they would in the wild.
All in all, this was a fantastic experience and a great day out for an animal lover like myself.