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San Diego Zoo Safari Park The Future of The Safari Park

Discussion in 'United States' started by pachyderm pro, 27 Jan 2018.

  1. pachyderm pro

    pachyderm pro Well-Known Member

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    Inspired by @The_UltimateBea's thread "The Future of the Zoo" - Which discussed what realistically could be built or should be built at the San Diego zoo - I encourage the same thing to be done here. The zoo gets talked about so much I feel the SP gets a little overshadowed. Though, that may be because there's nothing that's in need of immediate attention. However here are some known quantities and my own ideas.

    Walkabout Australia:
    This Summer the park will open a new interactive Australian area. It feature a walkthrough exhibit for red kangaroos and wallabies, cassowaries, tree kangaroos, cockatoos, wombats, echidnas and possibly a breeding pair of platypus. I think it will be great addition to the park and I'm glad to see the place adding more to do at the North end of the facility. Its especially exciting that platypus would be involved, considering they of course can't be found outside of Australia.

    Asian Savannah:
    Rumors have been circulating for some years now that the Asian plains exhibits would be getting public access. However, as of recently it looks like it could soon become an actual reality as early as 2020! This would allow visitors to see two additional field exhibit with Indian rhinos, gaur and other rare ungulates. It would also be a good time to utilize the old tiger exhibit for Dholes and build some new interactive areas. Maybe finally complete the loop that disconnects the North end from the rest of the park.

    Old Lion Exhibit:
    The last known quantity is the former lion yard. Its been closed for over a decade, and the dholes were originally planned to move here. However, because of their skittish nature at the time, this plan was scrapped. Perhaps make it a new exhibit for painted dogs are hyenas. Call it "Hyena Canyon" or "Wild Dog Canyon". It seems to most logical and would fit perfectly in with the rest of the park.

    Well that's why I know/think. What are your ideas?
     
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  2. Wyman

    Wyman Well-Known Member

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    Maybe a modernization of the Elephant Habitat? I mean in terms of landscaping and rockwork. This could be achieved by demolishing the rock shade structures, and replacing them with a mock Baobab tree, and some planters with shade trees. Also, the eucalyptus trees in the back of the Elephant elephant (if they aren't the background for anything important like the Tiger Trail) should be cleared for multiple reasons (less risk of fires due to the oil, a view of the hills in the background).
     
  3. Shellheart

    Shellheart Well-Known Member

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    Interesting idea. I believe it was Pachyderm Pro themselves who mentioned disliking the elephant habitat as of their recent visit, as they found it ugly. I must say both of these opinions surprised me. The Safari Park elephant habitat (in my opinion) is rather nice, even when compared to the LA Zoo and Disney's Animal Kingdom, and I just sort of assumed others liked it as well. That said, whether one finds parts of it ugly or not, I think there are more pressing issues at the park. Here are my personal priorities:

    Reconnecting the Safari Park: I said it elsewhere, but I really dislike the amount of back-tracking one has to do to see Condor Ridge and Tiger Trail (and soon, the Australian Walkabout). More Asian themed experiences along the new path would be greatly appreciated, as well. I remember when Tiger Trail was first announced, other species were planned to be included. I think this might be the place for those species (does anybody remember the planned species?)

    Reopening the Asian Plains to the General Public: Self-explanatory. No more add-on safaris. Something like $15 like the Africa Tram used to be would be okay, but $54 per person means the Asian Safari is something a normal family would do only a couple of times. I'd like if they were able to simply extend the Africa Tram to the Asian Plains, but I don't know the feasibility of that idea, and I know the problem with the old Wgasa Bushline was that it was too long and did not permit for restroom breaks or emergency stops, so... I don't know on that one.

    The gorilla exhibit:
    A smallish rock grotto flies in the face of everything else the Safari Park has, and with the size of the troop, I think a renovation is fully warranted. As to where a renovation would go and what it would look like, I'm terribly unimaginative and can't say for sure, but other ZooChatters have also complained about this exhibit, and it feels like it's been here for too long.

    ... And finally, I can tell this is going to be an unpopular one, and it's not something I "need" per se, but....

    Getting Rid of the Giant Waterfowl Lake: I know this is super far out there, but here goes. The lake is wasted potential, and there's no logical aquatic species to add to it to justify its existence, I feel. The Safari Park already has a flamingo exhibit elsewhere, and a flamingo exhibit on the side of the lake walking past the cheetahs, and now that the flamingos are just corralled in that hideous temp-fence area for breeding purposes, it just doesn't feel necessary to keep that whole giant lake. It's basically just two flamingo exhibits with a whole lot of wasted space in between. I know removing it would be a huge undertaking and an expensive project, but seeing as how the Safari Park seemingly isn't willing to use any of the space they own beyond what space they're currently using (for conservation purposes), I feel that they'll be running out of space in the (probably semi-distant) future, and this would be a good place to reclaim that needed space. The only other solution I can see to their space "problem" is removing even more of the world gardens, and that's something that may not be such a popular idea among botany enthusiasts, though I think that is inevitable.
     
  4. pachyderm pro

    pachyderm pro Well-Known Member

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    My main issue with the elephant yard(s) is the viewing. It is incredibly awkward and unsightly and if a more natural looking barriers replaced the unsightly metal poles, I would be very happy. The exhibit itself I think is above average. Great family dynamics, 5 acres of space and allowing the elephants outdoor access nearly 24 hours a day is terrific. I think a realistic baobab tree (Something along the lines of Brookfield) replacing some of the rock formations would be good, though I really didn't mind them. A minor renovation would really make this a truly great exhibit however.
     
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  5. Wyman

    Wyman Well-Known Member

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    Maybe a space for hippos and nile crocodiles themed to be like a wetland? Kind of like Werribee's Kubu Hippo River exhibit, with a sunken boat for underwater viewing. However, logistically speaking, it won't happen given the size and the scope of a filtration system.
     
  6. Buldeo

    Buldeo Well-Known Member

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    I'm talking out my arse at the moment, but would a filtration system be necessary? I have to imagine a constructed (or otherwise) wetland area would take care of filtering out solids for a fraction of the cost. It might even be feasible to rework the area to add a small river to aid in filtration and for the other plains animals.
     
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  7. Otter Lord

    Otter Lord Well-Known Member

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    The size of a wetland for a biofiltration for a sizeable hippo exhibit would be huge. Look at how big the wetland is for Kabu Hippo camp. It's more than the size of both exhibits. The safari park would need a large area of flat-ish
    land to do it. Could be done in the space at the lower end of the African field exhibits with signifixant reworking of the existing lakes. Could be nice with a large hippo group and a significant grazing land area for nighttime safaris.

    I'd like to see Schroeder's original vision of a large trams network with multiple stations where people can get out and walk around and explore additional trails and exhibits or assist people in traveling around the huge facility. That was the point of having the tram in the main hub of the zoo and why it used to take you through through the whole park. They never expanded it because the technology became outdated. Its so doable now that their current tram only requires a road and there's a large network of it where the old tram used to be.
     
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  8. pachyderm pro

    pachyderm pro Well-Known Member

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    Another know quantity is the former bonobo island. As far as I'm aware its been used as a garden the past few years out of the public view. I'm not sure how many people would like the idea, but perhaps putting chimps there would be ideal. Perhaps this land could be used for a new hippo exhibit.
     
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  9. TZDugong

    TZDugong Well-Known Member

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    Personally I would love to see the Safari Park expand on the Asian Plains exhibit. I was thinking that they could maybe add some more Asian jungle animals like Orangutans, Hornbills and maybe a predator prey thing with the tigers and Tapir. If I remember correctly, the Tiger exhibit is on the top of a hill and so as you descend to the Asian Plains you go through these exhibits. Finally, once you finish the jungle area, you emerge and get a panoramic view of the Asian Plains.
     
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  10. pachyderm pro

    pachyderm pro Well-Known Member

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    I like this idea. Perhaps include the original plans for tiger trail that were axed. This would include hornbills, binturongs, Siberian musk deer and demoiselle cranes.
     
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  11. TZDugong

    TZDugong Well-Known Member

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    How could I have forgotten Binturongs! If you add the species you just listed, plus the Orangutans and Tapir, that would make for an intriguing exhibit complex.
     
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  12. The_UltimateBea

    The_UltimateBea Well-Known Member

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    We are all forgetting to mention what is without a doubt the worst part of the whole establishment, Hidden Jungle. I propose an open air nocturnal building to which the zoo's aye ayes can be moved among other animals.
     
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  13. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    I remember reading years ago (probably on ZooChat) of future plans to add a hotel overlooking one of the massive field exhibits. This I think would be amazing. They could probably lease it out to a major hotel chain, who would use their experience to run it properly and the chain might even agree to pay for construction.

    For the Asian plains I think the easiest solution is to create a second tram tour using the same type of trams that are used in the African tour.

    Not sure about the big lake but I know that new fence that separates the flamingos is hideous. It has got to go.
     
  14. TZDugong

    TZDugong Well-Known Member

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    The hotel idea is fantastic! Were you thinking along the lines of Disney Animal Kingdoms lodge?
     
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  15. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    Yes.
     
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  16. Shellheart

    Shellheart Well-Known Member

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    I like the idea of a nocturnal building in general, but I'm not sure what you mean by open air in this case. Are there examples you can give of other open air nocturnal buildings to illustrate what you mean? As for Hidden Jungle....is it really that bad? Surely it's more suitable for its inhabitants than, say, the gorilla grotto at this point in time. I do think it's sort of ugly, but both of the Safari Park's aviaries are sort of disappointing, and Wings of the World annoys me more with its complete disregard for zoogeography. Plus, I kinda like the concept of Hidden Jungle, starting from the undergrowth with the terrariums and then moving to the canopy. If it were more attractively executed I'd like it.

    Yeah, I recall that plan being on here too. I don't seem to remember if it was an official plan, a rumor, or just a good idea someone had, as it's been some time. I still really like the idea, though, provided the hotel isn't obstructing any major views.

    For the Asian Plains, I agree fully. In all honesty I have no clue of the scope of the Asian Plains, so I had no idea if two separate trams is appropriate, as I've (embarrassingly) never seen those exhibits. However, I trust your knowledge of the size of those exhibits, so a second tram tour would seemingly be the best choice.

    And as for the lake, yeah. At the very least the irritating "temp fencing" has to go. It would seem like the flamingo enclosure is a construction area if one didn't know any better. I know the guides have mentioned the flamingos wouldn't breed without the fencing due to always being somewhat on-alert, so I'm thinking that whatever barriers used to enclose them would have to obstruct their view, so I have no clue of what the solution here would be. It seems as long as the flamingos are on the lake, a portion of the lake will have to be awkwardly cordoned off.
     
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  17. The_UltimateBea

    The_UltimateBea Well-Known Member

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    I agree that Hidden Jungle is a good concept but there are barely any animals in it currently and it the concept is not well explained through signage. By open air I am referring to an indoor but barrier-free exhibit to fit in with the Safari Park's theme.
     
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  18. Buldeo

    Buldeo Well-Known Member

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    Hire somebody from Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge for knowledge and experience, but you absolutely want to keep all of that revenue in house. The goals of a hotel chain and wildlife education and conservation, while not incompatible, are at odds. Having dueling management philosophies at the c-suite level will do nobody any good.

    That said, I'm intrigued by the idea. Piggybacking on the hippo idea, you could plunk down the hotel in that corner, incorporating the tram and other safaris into the design, and reworking the water features into either a viable watering hole or an expansive hippo exhibit. Take some of the elements from Memphis' Zambezi River Camp and outlying buildings could create a little village with educational centers, snack stands, and a gift shop.

    How about moving the elephants down the hill and building a new habitat around this proposed hotel and watering hole? You could have a nifty dining experience overlooking said waterhole.
     
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  19. Wyman

    Wyman Well-Known Member

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    The hotel could possibly be built into the hills, with little windows peeking out onto the field exhibits. My only thing is that the hotel shouldn't disrupt the atmosphere that is achieved when one walks on the Rift Valley platform and looks out at the plains beyond. That's just my two cents, and for the tram station leading to the hotel, they could use some Charles Faust-inspired designs.