The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has a lot to see and do. Getting the most out of this park requires planning ahead to make sure you see as much as possible. Fun Diego Family has created two San Diego Zoo Safari Park Walking Guides. These guides are designed so to take you past every part of the Safari Park.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is huge at 1,800 acres. However, visitors can not access the vast majority of the Safari Park. The main walking areas of the park are not that much larger than the 100-acre San Diego Zoo. It is possible to walk the entire park in one visit.
The Safari Park has three main areas. The upper area sits above the rest of the park and features the new Australian exhibits, gardens, Condor Ridge and Tiger Trail. The lower area is home to the Lion Camp, elephants and the African Outpost. This is where the Africa Tram ride through the main park starts. Previously this area was reached by walking down a very steep hill. Now an elevator takes you down.
The middle area of the park is the entrance and features many attractions centered around Nairobi Village and a scenic lagoon. This area is home to many shows and exhibits. Currently, the upper and lower areas do not connect. You have to retrace your steps through Nairobi Village. However, this is likely to change as it appears that a trail is being built to connect the upper Tiger Trail with the lower Elephant Valley area.
When you enter the Safari Park, the road forks immediately past the turnstiles. You can go either way as the paths meet up a short distance past the turnstiles. We like to go right through the Wings of the World aviary. Going left will take you past some of the main gift shops. We save this route for when we are leaving.
Coming out of Wings of the World will put you in the center of the Safari Park Base Camp area. There is the Animal Ambassador Stage which hosts regular animal encounters. There is also the carousel and beloved rhino statute. This area also opens into Nairobi Village, a hub of activity and the central location of the Safari Park.
At this point, you need to make some major decisions. Our San Diego Zoo Safari Park Walking Guides feature two tours that focus on taking in the entire Safari Park. The first tour we recommend if you come early in the morning. The second tour is better if you come late in the morning or afternoon.
On the early morning tour, you head straight for the Africa Tram, stopping only at the new Lemur Walk exhibit. From there you tour the lower area of the park and head back to the main Nairobi Village area. At this point, you start the second part of the tour in the upper area of the park.
The second tour has you heading for the upper part of the Safari Park first. You do the tram ride and the Lemur Walk exhibit later in the day when the animals are more active. Our first visit to the new Lemur Walk was around 1 PM and it was disappointing because the lemurs were asleep. The guide told us to come back after 4 PM when they are active.
Throughout the Safari Park, there are 19 locator signs. We will use these locator signs to help guide our tours. Of course, it is good to pick up the free park maps available at the entrance.
Note these tours do not take into account shows or special events like the Cheetah Run at 3:30. Also, we are not discussing dining options. The good news is that the Safari Park has food options throughout the park. If you get hungry you will never be far from a place to eat.
For detailed guides to each area of the Safari Park go here
San Diego Zoo Safari Park Early Morning Tour go here