Unlike the world famous San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Wild Animal Park is (a) not in San Diego and (b) very big and open. Located in the town of Escondido, about 30 minutes northeast of San Diego, the Wild Animal Park (WAP) contains a lot of open space in which animals from around the world and live in environments more like their native habitat (at least when compared to a typical zoo cage.



Elephant and Baby

The pictures above were shot from the free 45 minute train ride that takes you to areas of the park that are not accessible on foot. While we only spent a few hours there yesterday, one could easily enjoy a full day visiting all the critters.

I'll post more pics on Flickr in a few days.

Posted by jzawodn at December 25, 2006 08:17 PM

Reader Comments
# Deepak said:

In my six years in San Diego, I made several visits to the Wild Animal Park. It's definitely a good place to spend a day. Zoos on the other hand, tend to make one sad with all those small cages.

on December 25, 2006 08:47 PM
# Ryan Kennedy said:

Ah, another San Diego place that my grandfather used to take me. I think I actually enjoyed the wild animal park more than the zoo. I remember one summer they had a camp of sorts that my grandparents sent me to. We got to go and see a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on. I'll never forget the time during that camp when we got to see two elephants making sweet love to one another. "That elephant is attacking the other one!!!" Heh...good times.

on December 26, 2006 12:37 AM
# joe said:

cool - that's good to know. I went to San Diego about 2 years ago for a week and we hit up the Zoo because, as you said, it is "world famous", so I guess I was expecting a really nice zoo with nice exhibits and lots of room for animals (and people). I was sorely disappointed..... I probably had unreasonable expectations, but from what I remember of other zoos when I was a kid, the SD Zoo seems to be much the same - small pins, lots of bare dirt and fake rocks, and lots of tired and unhappy looking animals sitting around doing nothing (and huge crowds of tired, unhappy and fat looking people everywhere, too).
Going back to SD in march for about a week - will try to hit up this place this time.

on December 26, 2006 03:33 AM
# Jim Gottlieb said:

Actually, the Wild Animal Park _is_ in the city of San Diego even though their postal address is in Escondido.

on December 27, 2006 10:04 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Hmm. Then why does their address (for driving purposes) say Escondido? That's odd.

on December 27, 2006 10:51 AM
# Jim Gottlieb said:

Many times, a location's postal address does not match the city it is located in.

For example, there is a good-sized section of Los Angeles that has addresses in Beverly Hills. When looking at real estate listings, houses in this area will be marked with the notation "BHPO". See http://www.westsidelifestyles.com/beverlyhillspo.htm

Likewise, often an address will reference a nearby city but be located outside city limits in unincorporated territory.

on December 28, 2006 12:32 AM
# Marko said:

I live in San Diego and I have yet to go to visit Diego Wild Animal Park. I went to the San Diego Zoo recently and was bummed out after seeing all the caged animals. I think I'll stick to the Discovery channel.

on December 31, 2006 04:53 PM
# Phil said:

Am planning on going to LA/San diego next weekend and I am thinking this is probably better than any of the other places (meaning extremely expensive amusement parks) in the area. My parents have had nothing but great things to say about the wild Animal Park, so looking forward to it.
About the zoo, I went 30 years ago and it was just like you are saying today. I was bummed because either you were too far away to see the animals, they were all hiding, and for an 11 year old, too much walking between pens of invisible animals.

on December 31, 2006 07:38 PM
# ThomasB said:

I've been there yesterday after your suggestion and I have to agree that it's really great. Being somebody who rarely goes to Zoos I was surprised how big the difference is. For some reason I seem to have missed out on the Elephants, but saw the Giraffes. :)

on January 3, 2007 09:20 AM
# Suzanne said:

As a follow up to locale, I disagree that the Wild Animal Park is in the city of San Diego. I live off of Via Rancho Parkway (the exit for the park). The city's boundaries end at Rancho Bernardo and Lake Hodges, south of the park. The park is located in the city of Escondido, in the county of San Diego.

on January 13, 2007 02:04 AM
# said:

The Wind Animal Park is located in the San Pasqual Valley, which is part of the city of San Diego. S.D. city limits extend quite a ways east of Escondido, almost reaching the unincorporated township of Ramona. BTW... La Jolla isn't a city either, it's also within S.D. city limits.

on January 5, 2008 05:45 PM
# FynDara said:

Hey, just wanted to say that the Tram is gone now :( Went last weekend and was so disoriented looking for the station. Guess it got too expensive to get parts for it as the company that built it went out of business.

Very sad indeed.

on February 4, 2008 09:05 AM
# Tim from San Diego said:

The Tram is gone but it is being replaced by a new system that runs on wheels rather than rail. Half of it is up and running on the south side of the park. Access is just past the Lion Camp exhibit - where you'll find 7 new lion cubs. The other loop on the north side is in the process of being built.

on March 25, 2008 10:33 AM
# Jeff said:

If you go to the following website you can key in an example ZIP code for San Diego, and see that it is entirely located within San Diego's city limits/boundaries. I concur that it is just a coincidence that the postal address says Escondido.


Example ZIP codes for San Diego would be 92111 and 92131.

Alternatively, you could click anywhere within the city limits of Escondido and see that the Wild Animal Park is excluded.

on November 3, 2008 03:05 PM
# said:

The last comment here was March 08. We are going to San Diego in March O9. Is the zoo still this depressing? Is the new travel system up and running at the Animal Park? Does anyone have a current opinion of which is the best to go to with teenagers between the SD Zoo and SD Animal Park?

on February 9, 2009 07:41 AM
# Waterton National Park said:

The San Diego Wild Animal Park, species mingle much like they do in their native Asia and Africa. The San Diego Wild Animal Park began as a veritable Noah's Ark and was opened as a tourist attraction afterward. Today, dozens of nearly-extinct species have been bred here and re-introduced into the wild.The San Diego Wild Animal Park raises extra money with a number of fun activities such as Photo Safaris, Cheetah Run Safari, Balloon Safari, and special Wild Animal Park tours. Their Roar and Snore sleepovers are an especially fun family activity.

on April 28, 2010 04:10 AM
# San Diego Tour said:

The Wild Animal Park, while technically in San Diego, is most easily accessible from Escondido, if not part of the city in a de facto way. There's a single road (it's actually highway 78, though in the area of the Wild Animal Park it's jsut a road) that accesses the WAP, and it goes through Esco. The exit you take off the 15 is also, you guess it, in Escondido.

In other news, I heard they renamed the park.

on August 2, 2010 02:28 PM
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