Last November for my birthday, I visited the San Diego Safari park and did the behind-the-scenes tour of the elephants and friends. Thanks grandma for the ticket! I am finally able to spend some time on this blog post, it’s going to be a long one! Today I’m going to be sharing all the details about doing the behind-the-scenes tour and some background information to the Safari Park.
I’ve grown up going to both the San Diego Zoo and Safari park and had never done any of the behind the scenes tours before. It was such an incredible experience and I highly recommend it!
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Elephant and Friends- View the elephants from a private viewing area. Learn about how to care for the elephants. This is the one my grandma and I did!
Roos and Mates- Close up encounters with the kangaroos, which may include feeding them and view their off-exhibit homes.
Tiger and Friends- Learn how SD Safari Park cares for the tigers. Have up-close encounters and a walk through the Tiger Trail and off-exhibit tiger area.
Cheetah and Friends- Learn how the SD Safari Park cares for the cheetahs and their conservation.
Lions and Friends- View the off-exhibit lion area and view African and Asian animals in their field enclosures
Rhino Rescue Center- Available seasonally and on select days. Learn how the SD Safari Park is fighting rhino extinction and view the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center.
Veterinary Medical Center-Available seasonally and on select days. Learn about the veterinary services at the safari park.
Elephant and Friends Behind-the-Scenes Tour
The tour begins right past the tram ride spot at the Safari Park. You’ll want to keep walking past the restaurant next to the tram ride to find the spot where you’ll check in for the behind-the-scenes tour.
Depending on what animals you are seeing and when, you can have up to about 10 people on the bus. We only had 5 so it was a really intimate experience.
What it entails:
Ride on private roads to view other animals along the way to view the “friends”. I use friends in quotes because it could change depending on when you visit. We were able to see more views of some of the animals that you would see on the tram ride.
Ride to a private center that held the “friends.” We were able to have an up close encounter with a sugar glider and an aardvark. This included holding the sugar glider and touching the aardvark-that was so crazy to do! Check out the photos below!
Private Viewing area of the elephants. We were in a private spot that allowed us to get very close to the elephants. I would guess we were about 15 feet when they came up to the edge of their exhibit!
San Diego Safari Park One Day Pass: $56 that includes entrance, Africa Tram and scheduled shows.
Basic Yearly membership: $112 that includes unlimited admission into SD Zoo and Safari Park. It also has unlimited Africa Tram and Zoo Skyfari Aerial Tram and exclusive specials. Note: Their memberships do require that you live in a range of Southern California zip codes
Behind-the-Scenes Pass: $87-$99 depending on day going. This applies to all of their behind the scenes passes, not just the elephant one! There is a discount to the tours if you are a Donor level (Keeper+) and you must call ahead of time, click here for more info.
This was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. If you are ever at the San Diego Safari Park and have the ability to do a behind-the-scenes tour, I 100% highly recommend it. It was so amazing to learn more about the animals from the tour guide and spend time watching the elephants from a close up spot!
If you have any questions about the Safari Park or the behind-the-scenes tour, feel free to ask in the comments below!
If you’re in San Diego for a bit, don’t forget to check out my 10 Instagram Worthy Spots in San Diego to discover more of what SD has to offer!