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Safari Park - Escondido [pictures]

Friday, January 04, 2013

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!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Seeing them in that type of habitat instead of small pens would be so wonderful. I love zoos, even though they are very confining for the animals but the only way that a lot of people would get to see them. But roaming around a range setting like this is awesome!
    1871 days ago
    Oh, how great. Now I must add this to my to do list when we go to California.
    1872 days ago
  • STRINGI719
    When I was a kid we'd go to the original incarnation of this, which was a drive-thru-with-your-windows-up kinda deal & you just hoped nobody hurt your car! Then hubby and I went back a little over 10 years ago, before we had kids, and I think it was more like what you got to see. REALLY nice place, would love to take the kids there someday!
    1873 days ago
    beautiful, thanks for sharing!
    1873 days ago
    Fantastic pictures
    1873 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Fantastic photos! That is a wonderful way to have animals in a zoo -more like their real habitat -so its no wonder you could catch them doing what comes natural to them. Catching the two tigers playing -how precious is that? Not likely to be so lucky again!
    That is so sad to hear of another species going extinct because of man's cruelty :(
    Looking forward to more!
    1874 days ago
    Thanks for the tour :)
    Haven't been there in a while.
    Why ever did they change the name?
    1874 days ago
    I haven't been there in about 7 years and didn't get to take the safari ride. I could look at the exotic animals all day they are fascinating to watch. Thanks for taking such clear and close up photos, almost feel like I'm sitting next to you on the tour.
    1874 days ago
  • MOM4407BECKY
    1874 days ago
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