The San Diego Wild Animal Park

Escondido Travel Blog

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the balloon safari

The San Diego Wild Animal Park is a great cross between a zoo and an amusement park.   Ed and Debby had recommended visiting it and, even though we had lived in San Diego in the mid ‘70s, we’d never been there.  First thing in the morning we drove by our old house (there’s something compelling about seeing places you used to live) and then to the Animal Park.  We were early (always a good idea with zoos because the animals are more active in the morning and tend to nap after lunch. . . I’ve been known to nap after lunch too). 


The Park is north of San Diego and east of Escondido on San Pasqual Valley Road and well marked so it’s pretty easy to find.

Lions nap both before and after lunch . Photographing one awake is the challange.
  We got the Best Value ticket for $ 33.00 which includes the Journey into Africa tour (a tram caravan thru the park) and the Balloon Safari (a ride in a tethered hot-air balloon that felt like it went 400 ft up and lasted for about 10 minutes).   The balloon ride often shuts down in the afternoon due to wind so try for it early in the day.  I don’t like heights but managed the balloon ride so I could get some photos -  also so I could say I’d done it.  (I’d rather try something and be scared than miss something I’d like.  This approach gets me into places I’d rather not be every now and then.)


We had a great time and spent most of the day wandering around looking at the animals and birds.  Dinner was at Ruth Chris’s Steak House on San Diego Bay.  My husband loves steak and I prefer seafood so this wasn’t my first choice for dinner.  However I’d promised to go after his initial reaction to my choice of hotels.  It turns out that we actually like the hotel and will stay there again and I found something I liked at Ruth Chris.  The positives about the hotel are:  large rooms for a reasonable price; very clean; historical building; good location and pleasant staff.  The positives about Ruth Chris are: great steak (his comment); great desserts (my comment. . I had soup and two desserts - no entrée).  Everybody’s happy.

WaltJake says:
I visited the Wild Animal Park years ago, and I liked it much better than the San Diego Zoo! They didn't have balloon rides though!
Posted on: May 12, 2007
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the balloon safari
the balloon safari
Lions nap both before and after lu…
Lions nap both before and after l…
view from the balloon
view from the balloon
a West African Crowned Crane.  It…
a West African Crowned Crane. It…
crested crane
crested crane
Could they be any cuter?
Could they be any cuter?
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this was the strangest bird I've …
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And that's probably enough bird a…
photo by: AmeNoMiKumari