My husband and I took my unofficial 'daughter' and 'granddaughter' to Safari Park a couple of days after Christmas. This park used to be called Wild Animal Park and it's run by San Diego Zoo. There's a nontraditional design and many of the animals roam in huge open fields, interacting with each other. Obviously the predator animals are kept away from the 'dinner' animals and there are other separations but in general, it's a little more humane than a typical zoo setting. We've been wanting to go there for a few years and finally 'just did it.' The first thing we did after we arrived was take the African Tram tour - if you ever go there, try to arrive right when the park opens, as we did, and get over to the tram ASAP. Even though we hurried, the first tram was already full and we had to wait about 10 minutes for the next one - by the time we got back, the line was very long and looked like people were going to wait more than an hour!
One of the animal breeds we saw were cheetahs - beautiful beautiful cats!! I wish they had been more active but it was still a thrill to see them sunning as the tour guide had warned us they were usually hiding.
We also passed by a large flock of flamingos
and some pelicans
The tram took us throughout the entire African Plains section of the park so we could see a wide range of animals.
We saw this unusual vulture - the guide told us what kind it was but I couldn't remember everything she said as it was a very information-dense tour!
I couldn't get good pictures of everything and some of the animals were hiding or only partially visible but I got some great shots of this male Northern White Rhino - the guide said this is the LAST male of this breed, which will be extinct within a few years - very sad!
This is the more common Southern White Rhino, although their numbers are dwindling as well. The reason is because the rhinoceros horn is coveted by some cultures, supposedly giving amazing male powers in the bedroom, and the animals have been illegally hunted by poachers who are after the horns - this rhino, as you might be able to see, is without his horn but it was lost in a fight, which is probably what saved his life.
They do separate some of the animals, at least some of the time, for their own safety but many of the animals simply mingle as they would in their native environment.
I was particularly fascinated by the giraffes - here's a mother and her baby, who was born just a few months ago.
One of the giraffes put on quite a show while he was eating - very cute!
There was an ostrich wandering around the other animals
And water buffalo, including a baby that was just born a few days earlier.
We saw a couple of black rhinos
some zebras [these were in a feeding pen]
I don't know the name of a lot of them but this striped animal was very interesting
The lionesses were being very lazy
And so was their mate - what's that saying about letting sleeping lions lay?? Oh, wait, I guess that's 'sleeping dogs' but the concept is the same, haha!
Here's another look at part of the African area
I took sooooo many pictures so I'm trying to 'pick and choose' a few I thought you might like - here's a tiger we saw. This guy walked around and then started playing with another tiger in the brush but none of the pictures I took were CLEAR enough to post - too bad because we had a lot of fun watching them play like kittens!
We also enjoyed watching some ocelots playing - their zookeeper gave them some treats to entice them out of hiding. It was quite clever the way he put them here and there around the enclosure to get them to jump up and so forth. These are truly gorgeous animals and I could sit and watch them all day!!
Another favorite animal of mine is the elephant - so we spent quite a bit of time at their area! There were quite a few babies and elephant families in this herd so I'll share some of my favorite pictures out of the bazillion I took:
This is another elephant family - one baby from this year, one from two years ago
This is the newest baby, born just a couple of months ago - soooo tiny compared to the others but still pretty-darned-big - and, of course, as cute as can be!
I have a bunch more pictures to share tomorrow so please make sure you look for the next blog - hope you enjoyed these!