San Diego Wild Animal Park
We hoped today would be a bit less wet than yesterday at SeaWorld was, but alas, it was raining quite steadily when we got up, and still when we hit the road. We had debated as to whether we would go to the Wild Animal Park or not – since we only have one more day here in San Diego and we’d love to go see more of the town.
We figured it was one of the most recommended attractions in the area – and I knew we would regret not going if we didn’t – so we decided to give it a go – hoping that the weather would clear by the time we got there. The Wild Animal Park was a bit of a drive north of San Diego – but again, our trusty Neverlost system helped us get there without any dramas.
The car park of this place was impressive like the one at SeaWorld – we drove past 13 or 14 rows of car parks, and then discovered another 20 or so behind them. They even run a shuttle bus to take you to your car !!! I suspect during the warmer months they get a lot of visitors there. Fortunately today, at a guess, there would have been less than 100 visitors in the park – so it was certainly not crowded by any means.
San Diego Wild Animal Park is a sister facility to the San Diego Zoo, and is the “open range” version – like several of our zoos in Australia (Taronga / Dubbo, Melbourne / Werribee, Adelaide / Monarto). They have several large (very large – acres and acres large !!) enclosures for various types of African, Asian, and Eurasian animals – most of them mixed in together so you get to see various types of deer and antelope along side of rhinos, giraffes, bison, zebra and buffalo.
It was raining even heavier when we got there, so we weren’t very hopeful that it would be a pleasant day. Unfortunately, none of the cats were on display due to the weather – nor were the gorillas or many of the other primates.
We started off with the 1 hour monorail tour of the park – the only way to see most of the animals. The tour was very good – although you really want to be on the right hand side of the carriage to get the best views, which means being some of the first people on the train, not the last like we were. Fortunately the rain mostly stopped while we were on our tour, and we got some photos and had a good view of the animals – but by the time we got off the train at the end it was raining very heavily.
We tried looking through a few more features, but it was raining so hard and we were getting wet and very cold, that we almost walked out, giving up. We decided to grab a bite to eat and a hot chocolate to warm up a bit first, and once we had finished that, the rain had eased off a lot, so we decided to hang around a bit more and see some other stuff.
We ended up spending most of the rest of the day there – doing a few of the walks around the park and looking at the animals – and the weather stayed reasonable for us – although it was still very cold (less than 10 degrees celsius I think). We decided to try and catch the monorail tour again at 3pm, making sure we were on the right hand side of the train this time to get the best views. Fortunately by this time, most of the people had left for the day, so there was hardly anyone on the train, we took a seat each and had plenty of room to move from one side of the carriage to the other to see the animals without obstruction. It was much better the second time around !
So, we almost didn’t go, then we almost didn’t stay, and even though it was cold, wet and miserable, I don’t regret staying and enjoyed the day.
I’ll write more about the zoo and post some photos on ZooBeat when I get a chance.
We’ve been doing a bit of tidying up tonight, and some packing, ready to check out tomorrow – we’re driving to Phoenix – should take us 6-7 hours. I’ve been watching the weather forecasts closely and checking out the road information on the web – many places have had significant snow falls in recent days, and some of the roads may be icy or snow covered – which is something I want to avoid. I think we should be okay – the weather forecast is for slightly warmer weather over the next day or so.