Animal attractions are a signature of San Diego attractions. One of the best is San Diego Zoo Safari Park. You can spend an entire day exploring the 1,800-acre reserve. Before you go, though, get a head start with these helpful San Diego Zoo Safari Park tips for visitors. They’ll make your day at the park even better!

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San Diego Zoo Safari Park Entrance

1) Wear Comfortable Shoes
This place is big, which means you’ll be doing a lot of walking during your visit. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes so you’re not cursing your feet by the end of the day.  Save the heels for San Diego nightlife.

2) Bring Sunscreen
Lather up your skin before your day starts, then reapply liberally. The San Diego Safari Park, located in the San Pasqual Valley, can be much warmer than coastal San Diego and the sun can really scorch your skin.

View from Balloon Safari

View from Balloon Safari

3) Go on a Balloon Safari
For an extra $20, you can experience views of the park shared only by birds. The tethered helium balloon rises 400 feet, and you can bask in the scenery for 12-15 minutes. Take your trip up before noon for ½ price admission.

4) Take the Africa Tram Safari
Free with the purchase of San Diego Safari Park tickets, the Africa Tram Safari departs daily at 10am until 45 minutes before park closure. A ride on the tram is the absolute best way to see the diverse collection of animals on the African Outpost. Plus, it’s a great time to get off your feet and simply enjoy the animals around you.

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Get an up-close look at giraffes

5) Schedule Shows to See
One of the best San Diego Zoo Safari Park tips? Make sure you see some of their amazing shows. If you only have time for one show, make it Cheetah Run. Showing daily at 3:30pm, watch as a cheetah races on a straight 330-foot-long track. Reaching speeds of 70mph in just four seconds, the fastest land animal is astounding to see. Arrive early for the best seats. A second option is the Tiger Keeper Talk, held daily at 11:45 am at Tiger Trail.

6) Add a Safari Tour
Want to make the most of your day? Add a Safari Tour to your itinerary. They give you a behind-the-scenes look at giraffes, rhinos and cheetahs, as well as options like ziplining and a monkey-themed ropes course. For my money, the best option is the Cart Safari ($50 extra).

Put these tips to use and you’re sure to have a wild day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting San Diego to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.