One place we always wanted to visit in San Diego was its world renowned zoo. However with our budget and ticket prices just under $50.00 per person we just couldn’t justify visiting the zoo.We constantly looked for discount tickets in places like Living Social and Groupon but never found anything better than 10 percent off. That all changed when we met Dave through the RVillage web portal.
We first met Dave and his wife Patty for a walk around Liberty Station with a stop for beers at Stone Brewery. Dave informed us that he worked at the Zoo and if we wanted he would give us some complimentary tickets that were about to expire by the end of 2014. Needless to say we were excited about this possibility and when Dave found out Katie and her roommate were coming he offered us four of the passes. The girls were also excited about the opportunity to see the zoo.
We got up early so we could arrive at the zoo while the animals were still active. It has been pretty chilly here in the mornings lately so we ate breakfast and bundled up San Diego style to brave the elements. Parking is free so we found a spot and entered the zoo. The zoo is well laid out with exhibits better than most zoos I have visited but I still feel bad for the animals held in captivity at the zoo.
Even though I may feel empathy for the zoo denizens I do understand the value of zoos. Zoos have done a lot to keep animals off of the endangered list with reproductive plans for many threatened species. It is also important for the zoos to maintain the genetic profiles for many species from all over the world. So even though we might be empathetic we do know that zoos play a valuable role for the flora and fauna alike. The San Diego zoo is solely responsible for the huge increase in numbers of the California Condor whose numbers were precariously low. Through their breeding program the Condors have seen a dramatic increase in numbers and may even have been extinct by now had it not been for the efforts of the zoo and their benefactors. For all these reasons we will always support the zoos…
We all enjoyed the zoo which takes a whole day to see but a few days later Dave called me again saying he still had four passes set to expire on 1-1-2015 that we could have. Wow!!! These zoo tickets include either a San Diego zoo visit or a visit to the Safari Park in Escondido about 30 miles away. So on 1-1-2015 we piled into the car and drove to Escondido. Parking is $12.00 there so after paying to park we were set to enjoy this unexpected treat.
The safari park is much bigger the zoo yet very well laid out. Since its primary purpose is as a breeding ground for many of the animals they care for there were lots of cute babies and young animals throughout the park. We took a tram through their “African Savannah” where many species are allowed to roam more freely than those at the zoo giving the feel as if we might actually be in Africa.
We all really enjoyed this park and all agreed it was our favorite of the two. The Safari Park won hands down as it never felt as crowded as the zoo although the parking lot was nearly full. There are countless trails to walk and many opportunities for animal viewing. It may not have the diversity of the zoo yet we found it more satisfying see all the animals and birds in a more expansive, natural setting. They all seemed to us to be “happier” than their counterparts at the zoo.
Thanks again to Dave and Patty for offering us these splendid opportunities for not just us but for Katie and her roommate, Heather to all see such a great zoo and Safari Park. Heather and Katie headed back home last night so that brings us, as Judy would say, to the end…