Getting up close and personal with the animals is just one of the reasons why the San Diego Safari Park is unique. The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy, works to prevent the extinction of endangered and threatened species, their efforts include the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research and a number of international field programs. Many of the animals that are in the Safari Park are species that are endangered or threatened and the Conservancy is working to protect the habitat and biodiversity of those animals. Three of their animal experience exhibits allow for visitors to step into the habitat of lemurs, lorikeets and flying foxes.
The Lemur Walk is a free-range exhibit where the ringtail lemurs can wander close to visitors. Lemurs are a type of primate that are native to Madagascar, and all species of lemurs are either threatened or endangered due to habitat destruction. The exhibit opened in June of 2013. Visitors are able to stroll through and watch as the lemurs climb on the planks above the path and weave through visitor’s legs. Before visitors head into the exhibit they first take a picture in front of the green screen, which later they can view and see lemurs sitting on the shoulders or arms. While visitors are told not to bend down or touch the animals, depending on the time of day that they come the lemurs may be sitting on the barrels on the path or moving through visitors. The lemurs seem to be most active during the morning or in the afternoon if it is cool out, in warm afternoons the lemurs lounge around napping and sunbathing.
Lorikeet Landing aviary is a visitor favorite, the exhibit features 73 colorful lorikeets that fly around and even land on guests. Before heading inside visitors are able to purchase nectar to feed the birds with. Sometimes visitors can be seen with multiple birds on their arms, trying to get some of the nectar. Lorikeets are very social birds and their bright colorful feathers help them hide from predators in trees in their natural habitat. Earlier this year the Safari Park added 30 birds to increase their flock, while the birds live in flocks they form long lasting relationships in pairs. Visitors can wander through Lorikeet Landing from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., and if visitors are planning to purchase nectar at the end of the day they should arrive a little before the aviary closes.
Rodriguez flying foxes, which are a species of bat that are only found on the Rodriguez Island off of Madagascar, are critically endangered. The 500-square-foot bat house is located in Nairobi Village and as visitors come into the 75 degree Fahrenheit with 65% humidity environment they can see the thirteen bats hanging upside-down or scaling branches. Seeing the bats climb around upside-down on the many branches that stretch across the exhibit is a unique experience, and occasionally the bats even fly across. Towards the end of the day the keepers feed the Rodriguez flying foxes and visitors are able to watch as they forage for their favorite fruits.
Visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park to step into the exhibits and get up-close and personal experiences with some of the parks animals.