San Diego Wild Animal Park or SD Zoo?

Updated on June 28, 2010
A.P. asks from Norwalk, CA
6 answers

If you've been to the wild animal park can you please let me know what to expect. We are taking our 7 year old son who loves animals, but has autism so we need to be fully prepared for the experience. I know he can handle the zoo no problem, but hear there is minimal walking exhibits and you ride a trolly throughout the park. Can you please, in detail, kinda give me a step by step from once you enter the park what there is or what the process is to get to the train. Thank you!

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So What Happened?

My bf is insistent of going to the zoo, I'm not going to argue it so that if something goes wrong I'll be to blame!

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answers from Albuquerque on

I have been to both. I truly enjoyed te Wild Animal Park, because it was a train ride through their habitate. It's been many years since I went, so I don't really remember the step by step details. The animals seemed more relaxed. When we went to the Zoo, they were lazy, and not doing much.

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answers from San Diego on

We go to the wild animal park at least once a month or more. I like the wild animal park better then the zoo because it is more open and my son is able to get out and walk more and not be lost in the crowd. My son is almost 3 and he could be the tour guide it you let him.

After entering the park it you go to the left you will first see the discovery play area (which has plastic animals, puppets, coloring pages, ect..) if you keep going along that path you will walk over a large bridge that will take you to the elephants..then you continue on down the trail to the tigers..then over another and open area where you will see graiffes and other animals. Continue on and you will come to a spot that you can either go play in a little water area..or go to the lions. After you walk past the lions you will see the tram that takes you around the african safari. Once you are done there keep following the path and it will take you to the birds and ducks area. There is another small water play area on that trail and you can feed the duck. Keep following that trail and you will see some more smaller animals. Once you have finished that trail you will come to the elevators that will take you up to the top. At the top you will see the gibons, and gorillas. There is also a nice shaded play area right after you pass the gibons. There is also a small area that you can go into and feed the deer and some other animals. Once you are done with that you are almost at the enterance again. Hope that helps with your visit.

I will say that it get VERY hot in the summer there. So depending on when you are visiting keep that in mind. The park stays open until 8 during the summer. We usually go around 4 during the summer so its not so hot.

Email me if you have any other questions. Have Fun!!!

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answers from San Diego on

Before you get to the tram you need to walk through (almost) the entire park. It is a lot of walking, stimulation, but once you get to the tram, smooth sailing. You will go by the merry-go-round, birds, monkeys, etc to eventually get to the large animals. Also, if you're going in the summer, it will be HOT! Zoo will be cooler, shadier, bit easier to manage. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Wow, it's been a long time since I was at the zoo in San Diego, I was six and they had ceded the clouds, which is why I remember the trip. I wish you luck.



answers from Los Angeles on

It will be hot
if you park far there is a tram that can take you to the entrance
the 1st part you will walk on pathways close to water
the train/tram has moved. and now there is quite a bit of walking before you get there
there is a fantastic birds of prey show you can watch
the whole place is much more spead out than the zoo
check out the website
my kids like the playground
there is also a very large above ground pathway my kids like
you do not ride a trolley through the park-just the large open savanah type area



answers from Los Angeles on

My son is also autistic and we went to the wild animal park a couple of years ago. The trolley only goes around the Savannah area. The rest of the park is all walking paths. The entrance and jungle areas are shady, but the Savannah is very bright and sunny. Fortunately they do have cooling stations. My son overheats easily so he was not real happy with the heat and all the walking. If your son is really interested in seeing wild animals in their 'native' habitat then this is a great place to go. But if he tires or gets overstimulated easily he may not enjoy it much.

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