San Diego Wild Animal Park, San Diego, CA

The San Diego Wild Animal Park is an amazing place.  We can say that even though we’ve been to game preserves in South Africa.  The park has all the African animals you could possibly want to see, a wider variety than we were able to see in Africa.   The way to see the animals is by riding a tram.  There are no guarantees that you will see all the animals, but  even in the middle of the day, most of them are visible.

Of course they have an aviary, which was fun to visit, and places where you can meet some of the antelope up close, for petting; or see feeding demonstrations, like the one we saw with hornbills.

The best of the feeding demonstrations was the cheetahs, which are incredibly beautiful animals.  The ones we saw are used to being around people and both of the cheetahs spent a lot of time after feeding licking their handler’s legs, while she was answering our questions (see photo below).

We later went for a walk through the botanical garden and zoo areas, where we got to see roadrunners, porcupines, and California condors, which are beautiful as well as huge.

The native garden area, with all its Boojum trees (the weird, spiny things which are native to Baja California), is also beautiful and unusual.  This may be a park, but we saw some amazing things in our time there, not the least of which was this territorial battle between a hammerkop (an African bird with a nest nearby) and a black-crowned night heron.

Even for world travelers, this is a great park, definitely worth a visit.  It is a much better experience than just going to a zoo, even the San Diego Zoo.  The only thing that was less than great was their bird show, which is probably good if you haven’t seen the shows at Jurong Bird Park in Singapore.    

The animal park has a website at  And we have more photos in our album.                              


Original post September 29, 2010

© Susan L. Stone 2015