San Diego Wild Animal Park

zoo signAlthough we'd been to the San Diego Zoo, we'd never had time to stop at the Wild Animal Park. Having visited the website and listened to their podcasts, we were excited to visit in person. We arrived early because we knew it would take all day to visit the entire park.


flamingoTo get an overview to the entire area, we started with a ride on the train. We walked throug the aviary and by the flamingos on our way to the train station.

Because the animals are given a large area to roam, it wasn't always easy to see them.

We were lucky to get photos of the lions below. The regular lion exhibit was closed.


The train ride took us around the entire park. They are currently renovating the park, so many areas were under construction and inaccessible.

zoo view

One of the highlights of the train experience is the high quality narration by the park employee. The theme of the train trip is on the balance between the recreational aspects of the park experience and the underlying mission of animal recovery and assistance. For example, many of the animals we saw are endangered and part of breeding programs intended to expand the population. Later some of these animals will be reintroduced to the wild when their country of origin has a safe area for them to live.


The train ride allowed us to see some of the larger animals roaming in areas where the foot trails don't go.


Although we'd seen many of these animals in other parks, it's particularly exciting to see them in large open areas that more closely reflect the landscape of their native lands.


No matter how many times we see animals such as the rhino and giraffe, they are always fascinating to watch.


gorillaAfter the train ride, we wandered along the paths to explore other animals. The gorillas are particularly interesting to observe. Watch the gorilla video.

The merrkats were also fun. They seemed to have endless energy to play. Watch the merrkat video.


elephantWe were surprised how quickly we left the crowds of people behind when we took the path into the back country. This path allowed us to see some of the animals observed from the train at a distance up close. Watch the elephant video.


butterfly at zooAs we walked through the park, we tried to pay attention to the plants and insects as well as the larger animals.

condorWe also attempted to see the beauty in all of the creatures. Although the condor isn't the most beautiful bird in the face, the wings and feathers are magnificant.



One of the least visited areas is the cactus garden in the Botanical Garden containing a wide variety of plants and animals. We saw lots of hummingbirds in the cactus.

zoo humingbirdzoo cactuszoo cactus

After our walk in the Botanical Garden, we decided to take another ride on the train to cool down. After the train we stopped by to see the Lorikeets.

zoo birdszoo birds


One of the highlights of the day was the Frequent Flyers show at the Benbough Amphitheater. We enjoyed the bird demonstrations and bird talks.


Although it was getting late, we decided to do a little more exploring before it was time to leave.

pigzoo ringtailzoo ringtail


The day flew by. We'll have to come back another time. It would be fun to spend more time at each exhibit and really have time to observe and photograph the animals. Next time we'll also come during a cooler season!


parasailAfter spending a day at the zoo, we decided to take our last day off. We walked along the cliffs near Torrey Pines State Reserve and went to a movie.

Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 7/06.