Have you ever felt claustrophobia for animals at the zoo? Do you wish you could see the antelope and lions run free? (But not necessarily together.) Do you want more ‘wild’ in your encounters with wild animals?

The 1,800 acre San Diego Safari Park allows you to experience animals roaming free in their quasi-native habitat. (But not so free that your life is endangered.) A handful of different tours take you on various routes throughout the sprawling park. Safely behind protective fences, all of the open-air tour buses give you fantastic views of the roaming animals.

During Maureen’s visit in May, in addition to the Point Loma tide pools and the La Jolla seal beach, Kirk and I took her to the San Diego Safari Park.

The African elephant baby was the cutest little big animal in the park.

Birds can fly around you in the walk-through aviary. These guys repeatedly tried to follow us out through the plastic-sheathed doors.

The rhinos appeared quite content in their muddy glory.

We waited patiently for fifteen minutes while this pair of cheetahs lounged in the shade doing absolutely nothing. All of a sudden, one got up, ambled over to the other, and…

commenced sponge-bath hour.

Best animal photo-op to date? The San Diego Safari Park. Have a look at all of the photos in the gallery below. ☼