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Animal Park or Zoo, only time for one...

Taunton...
Level Contributor
928 posts
352 reviews
Animal Park or Zoo, only time for one...

As adults we've been to both, but my wife and I wanted to take our kids back to one of the two... trying to get a sense of which may be the better option for girls ages 15, 13, 11? Any pros, cons thoughts on one over the other?

Anaheim, California
Level Contributor
25,711 posts
13 reviews
1. Re: Animal Park or Zoo, only time for one...

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Escondido area) is bigger and has more "extra" attractions like Zip lining, so might be more interesting. (Former name was the Wild Animal Park).

On the other hand, the San Diego Zoo near Downtown San Diego (about an hour drive from the SDZSP is the classic, and has done a lot of upgrades to celebrate its 100th Anniversary.

I would ask your daughters to look at the two parks websites and let them decide.

http://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/

http://www.sdzsafaripark.org/

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
Level Contributor
33,612 posts
6 reviews
2. Re: Animal Park or Zoo, only time for one...

I agree. give the girls all of the information and let them decide.

Other factors may be the time of year (hot at the safari park) and where you are staying...if your base is San Diego, do you want to drive all the way to Escondido and back? My personal preference is the San Diego zoo, which is considered one of the best in the world. The Safari Park has other attractions, but I understand that there is a two tier rate structure, depending upon whether you just want to ride around the perimeter or get more into the park. I don't completely understand this, but a local will help me out with the description of this, I am sure.

Taunton...
Level Contributor
928 posts
352 reviews
3. Re: Animal Park or Zoo, only time for one...

Thanks we are planning on going towards the beginning of January. And with 3 kids, the likelihood is two will want one and one will want the other....

Manhattan Beach...
Level Contributor
4,995 posts
120 reviews
4. Re: Animal Park or Zoo, only time for one...

I prefer the Safari Park because it is unique.The downside is that it is not in San Diego but out a little ways, they do a lot of breeding work so some of the animals can get into secluded areas in their enclosures and hide, and it is more spread out so there is more walking. My reaction though at seeing the "savanah" for the first time was awe. I was also impressed to see the condors.

If you are tight on time or someone is not enthused about a lot of walking between animals, the Zoo is better. If you want unique I vote Safari Park.

Escondido...
Level Contributor
144 posts
220 reviews
5. Re: Animal Park or Zoo, only time for one...

Hi there! I love both locations, bu"Safari Park" (still not used to using that name!) has much more of a variety of activities. Remember at the zoo, you're going to see a lot of animals and it's an awesome zoo, but the Safari Park not only has lots of animals to see, many in a more "natural" setting, but they also have other activities. The question you probably need to ask yourself is related to cost. To do these "other activities" that would likely appeal to your teens, you're going to incur additional costs.

The safari trips into the enclosures can run about $100 per person, while other things like zip lining are going to be around $70. SO, yeah, you have lots of extras at the Safari park, but you're going to pay for them. If you want just the basics, it's kind of a toss up. The zoo does a really nice job of placing the animals in great settings, but the "trails".

Both parks have an array of eating choices, but the Zoo also has a fine dining restaurant as well, if that is something important to you. Both places have other entertainment and it just depends on when you are there as to what type of entertainment or special events may be taking place. YOu can keep an eye on the event calendar to see if something comes up that sways you.

I don't know if that helps, but it's what I got!

Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
3,934 posts
57 reviews
6. Re: Animal Park or Zoo, only time for one...

unless budget is not an issue and you afford all the extras at the safari park, i'd choose the zoo. i always recommend that people take the bus tour first thing so you can get your bearings and maybe see sections of the zoo that don't really interest you so you can cut those out of your plan. also look at the "show" schedule to see if there is anything you want to see so you can make sure you are in that area at the appropriate time (it's a large zoo). it's also an opportunity to sit for a bit. i love the hippo, polar bear, chimp exhibits. the reptile exhibit is pretty interesting even if snakes and stuff make you jittery. parking at the zoo is free. check out becoming a society member. (you might need a ca zip code...not sure). if you buy a dual membership, you get 2 guest coupons...might work out cheaper then paying the daily rate.

San Diego...
Level Contributor
3 posts
16 reviews
7. Re: Animal Park or Zoo, only time for one...

i'd say the zoo... plus it's not as hot...

Pauma Valley...
Level Contributor
480 posts
43 reviews
8. Re: Animal Park or Zoo, only time for one...

It's not going to be hot at the Safari Park in January, will be perfect. Would not recommend August though, been there, done that. The two parks are very different. I agree with the idea of letting the girls look the websites over and let them choose, I get your inference that you can't please them all, LOL! You will see more animals and closer up at the zoo. Cost will be less at the zoo and if you are staying downtown, easier to get to. I love them both so can't recommend one over the other.

Escondido...
Level Contributor
144 posts
220 reviews
9. Re: Animal Park or Zoo, only time for one...

Let us know where you decided to go and how you liked it!!! =)

British Columbia...
Level Contributor
75 posts
1 review
10. Re: Animal Park or Zoo, only time for one...

The kids had been to a zoo before so we chose the safari park and were thrilled with our decision. That may be because we paid extra for the caravan ride into the enclosures and hand fed the giraffe :) :) If you aren't paying extra for a specialty tour though and haven't done a lot of zoos the you will see a larger variety of animals at the zoo.