San Diego questions

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by fly girl, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. fly girl

    fly girl DIS Veteran

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    I've been to San Diego many times through work, but now I'm planning a 3 day trip with my family.

    The one place I have yet to discover is Coronado, and I think it'll be a great place for us. The iconic Hotel del Coronado is out of price range, so I chose the Glorietta. Heard wonderful things, anyone stay there before? Good choice?

    Second, of course we are doing the zoo. Haven't been since I was a teen *cough, cough* 3 decades ago. :rolleyes1
    I don't recall going to Safari Park though. Is it worth it? Should we take a tour, and if so which one?

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. Purrkins

    Purrkins Mouseketeer

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    I would say, if you are only here for a few days, pick one. If you are here for a longer amount of time, both can work. (3 decades ago Safari Park was called the Wild Animal Park). Both are very different experiences and both are excellent. I do Safari Park 3 or 4 times a year despite living next to the zoo (which I hit up a few times a week - it's a great place for my evening jog). The zoo is a very nice traditional zoo, while the Safari Park consists of multi-acre enclosures with diverse animals wandering about (and some more traditional enclosures). It is very cool. The zoo is about 12 minutes from Coronado but Safari Park is about 30-50 (traffic depending) from Coronado. So it really depends on how long you are here, and what else you have planned.
     
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  4. fly girl

    fly girl DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the info @Purrkins! And may I add how cool is that your evening jogs are at the zoo!! :love:
     
  5. Ndusmama

    Ndusmama DIS Veteran

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    I personally prefer the safari park/wild animal park. It's more free range. It started and continues to be the breeding na dresearch center for the actual zoo. That being said it is a 45 minute drive minimum on a good day from downtown San Diego. The zoo is a half day at best park especially if you take the bus tour. It is in balboa park which has a TON of museums and some great hikes around it.

    How old are family members going with you? Might I suggest you look into the touring buses. The buses are like a lot of the major cities, you get off and on at whatever tourist spot you want to see. Stay as long or as little as you want. They go to Coronado, balboa, seaport village, and old town.
     
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  6. fly girl

    fly girl DIS Veteran

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    My husband and I are middle age, but in good physical shape. My daughter is 9.

    I was debating 2 days on Coronado at Glorietta with Day 1, beach day. Day 2, zoo.

    The third day (before we head up to DL) is open. If we do go to the safari park, I'd definitely have us stay night 3 in that area so we are not wasting time driving back and forth.

    We've been to Sea World and Legoland in Orlando, so I thought the safari park would be something we haven't experienced. However, if they are wildly different than Orlando, it may be worth checking out.

    I wish we had more time!! Well...I guess that means we will need another vacation. That would be awful. ;)
     
  7. Ndusmama

    Ndusmama DIS Veteran

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    Sounds like a good plan. You might have zoo overload but switching hotels is definitely a way to go. The safari park is outside Escondido or you could drive to coast and stay in Carlsbad (where I would stay). When you leave safari park follow the signs to the 78 freeway. From Carlsbad DL is only an hour to an hour and a half depending on what to end day of the week you leave. If you do the zoo try to take your daughter to the natural history museum or the kids science museum in balboa park. They are a five minute walk from zoo entrance.
     
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  8. Traver Freeman

    Traver Freeman Mouseketeer

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    Depends on how much you guys love zoos I guess. Doing two days back-to-back Zoo and Safari Park seems like a lot of animals to me. We have an annual pass and go to both frequently, but I don't know if I'd do them both back to back?

    Be aware that parking at the Safari Park is $15, and free at the zoo. Also at the zoo you've got Balboa park and all those museums if you wanted to visit all within walking distance.

    To add to your Coronado trip, you may want to consider heading over to Seaport Village. If you take the ferry at Ferry Landing, it's a nice boat ride and costs $4.50 per person per way, or $9 round trip. You can drive, but you'll pay for parking. Seaport Village is just over in San Diego right on the water.
     
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  9. cruisehopeful

    cruisehopeful Wishing I was taking a nap on a ship.

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    The nice thing about Hotel Coronado is that you can spend a lot of time there walking around, looking at the different things they have and eat there without ever staying overnight there. Be sure to check it out if you have time.
    I am a member of the Zoo/Safari Park and like the others, prefer the Safari Park. I think you will enjoy the zoo and the zoo at least has one good restaurant (Albert's). The food at the Safari Park is terrible. There is a pizza/beer stand that did have decent pizza, but anything else we've ever eaten there has been thrown out before we could finish it, no matter how hungry we were at the time.

    Tours are good. Do any Behind the Scenes at the Zoo, or a Caravan Safari at the Safari Park. Caravan tour takes you in a truck into the big enclosure and you get to feed a giraffe and sometimes a rhino. It is very educational. If you think your 9 year old will be bored with discussion on conservation, etc, you may want to save your money and do something else.
     
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  10. Traver Freeman

    Traver Freeman Mouseketeer

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    I don't mind it. But we are just talking about "fast food" style meals. They don't have anything compared to Albert's like at the zoo, though I've never eaten there.

    I think the Safari Park food is heaps better than say McDonalds or some other fast food place. However, if you compare it to Disney food, then yes it will be lacking as Disney does all food well imo.
     
  11. Gigi@Disney

    Gigi@Disney HiYa Mouseketeers

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    You can't go wrong with either, we used to live in North County and so went to the Wild Animal Park right from its opening (with a family membership) but if you're staying on Coronado with a short time frame maybe concentrate on Balboa Park. Have you checked out the City Passes?
     
  12. scottmel

    scottmel <font color=darkorchid>Does my logic in my origina

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    Ironically I had booked the Glorietta Inn as well for my July2017 trip but couldn't quit stalking the Del site. My persistance paid off as about a month ago they rates dropped and they offered a 100 resort credit to use for dining, etc.Ended up being 40 more a night than the Glorietta once I factored in the 100.00credit and price dip. Price fluctuates there so keep an eye on it.

    what I didn't like about the Glorieta was it was motel like - make sure you are in the mansion that seemed nice - Albright Room is what I had selected the only room sleeping more than 2 in the mansion.
     
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  13. fly girl

    fly girl DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the heads up! I will def keep an eye on it.
     
  14. BayouQueen

    BayouQueen Mouseketeer

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    I live in San Diego. While I agree that for repeat visitors the Safari Park might be preferred, if I were staying in Coronado and hadn't been to the zoo for decades, I'd go to the zoo. They have really modernized all the enclosures so that it's a really great zoo, and it is so much closer to Coronado that you'd have a fun, pleasant, and stress-free day. Also, not sure when you are visiting, but it is substantially hotter out at the Safari Park. The zoo is close to the coast, so much cooler temp.

    Just saying what I'd recommend to friends or family if they came here. Whatever you do, have a great time!
     
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  15. halfmonkey

    halfmonkey DIS Veteran

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    Personally, I think you would really have to LOVE animals to want to go back to back like that especially when you have limited time in SD. The Wild Animal Park is more open space viewing so you might find yourself walking a lot more with more space between the animals. Also, it's much further from the Coronado area. The zoo has expanded a lot if the last time you were there is 30 years. Also, it has Pandas that the Wild Animal Park doesn't. That's a big draw for a lot of people and that's part of why it's a world famous zoo whereas the Wild Animal Park is not "world famous." I would probably recommend going to the beach instead of the WAP. Have fun!
     
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  16. tiffjoy

    tiffjoy DIS Veteran

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    I did back to back when we first visited San Diego and LOVED both places, but I'm very into conservation and animals (went to school for biology and wanted to work with animals, but life took a different road). I think it would be loads of fun, but that's from someone who loves animals A LOT. I know my kids are the same as me, so I would do it, but I also see how others have a point that if you do not LOVE animals and zoos, it's a lot.

    I highly recommend a backstage tour, like was earlier recommended, at the Safari Park. We did the one where they take you out to fee the giraffes, and it was the highlight of the experience. Everything else is not a little vague in my memory, but that part is not.

    That all being said, if you have only 3 days total, I would pick one, and it would be the zoo. There is sooo much to see and do in SD that taking two days for the zoo stuff (unless you are me :)) seems like you will be missing too much other stuff. There is the beach, Balboa Park and all the museums there, the USS Midway (so cool!), maritime museum... a lot to it in 3 days.
     
  17. fly girl

    fly girl DIS Veteran

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    Ok, we've made the decision to cut the Safari park. It wasn't easy, but it gives us a good reason to come back! :)

    New question though, has anyone ever done the San Diego Speedboat Adventure tour? It looks pretty fun, and has good reviews on TripAdvisor. I think it would be a cool way to see an overview of the city.

    Also, if you had option would you chose zoo on Sunday or Monday? I'm more inclined to say Monday, but it is the summer, and 'Is it Packed' website had both our days as "Hey, its Alright."

    Oh decisions, decisions ...
     
  18. Ndusmama

    Ndusmama DIS Veteran

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    Sunday because then you could also go to the international houses at balboa park. But if you aren't planning o walking around balboa after then it doesn't matter either day would be about the same. Monday will have less morning people.
     
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  19. Purrkins

    Purrkins Mouseketeer

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    The zoo is designed so that it never really feels crowded even when it is. Here's a protip though - take the Skyfari first thing in the morning. This will take you to the back of the zoo (Polar Bears, Lions, Elephants). Then work your way to the front while everyone else is working their way back. You can get a few hours in with hardly anyone around.
     
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  20. fly girl

    fly girl DIS Veteran

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    I'm loving this little nugget of experienced info! Thank you!! :flower3:
     
  21. Ndusmama

    Ndusmama DIS Veteran

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    And you won't accidentally find yourself walking up the hill of doom. Really you don't even want to go near it.
     

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