The San Diego Zoological Society has 2 locations: the San Diego Zoo, located near the city of San Diego, and the Safari Park, located about an hour away in Escondido. My friend Judy had tickets that were expiring, and they were valid for either location. Since I was staying at Harrah’s Resort, the Safari Park was about 1/2 hour away by ways of the back roads. The Zoo is open 365 days a year from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. We arrived the day after Christmas around 9:30, and was able to get a really good parking space near the entrance. General parking is $15, but if you want even closer preferred parking, add $18 to that amount at $33.
While walking through the turnstile, we overheard a staff member tell a family to check out the baby tigers first, as they put them away at noon. We grabbed a map, and made our way to the tigers. The Tiger Trail led us to the tigers, but the so called babies (they were more teenagers than cubs) were in the back of their shelter. I was able to view a male tiger along with a pacing female, who is mom to a dozen cubs throughout the years.
After the Tigers we made our way up (and I do mean UP!) toward the Condors. I was very thankful it was not a hot day, as there’s not a lot of shade along the trails.
It was getting close to 11, and we decided to head over to the African Tram tour, before it got too busy. The tram tour was in the farthest part of the zoo, and you even had to take stairs or an elevator down to get to the boarding area. The wait was about 1/2 hour, and the tram tour itself was about 1/2 hour, quite a bit shorter than I remembered from the past.
Walking back to the upper part of the zoo, we took the other part of the African Loop to see other animals up close.
By now, it was after 1:00 and I was famished after all that walking. Not familiar with the park, we found the first food place and had lunch there. It was ok, and fairly pricey. Our 2 meals with a shared drink was about $32… ouch.
Energized and refreshed, we went to see the gorillas, and then the elephants, walked around some other trails before calling it a day at 4:00 pm.