A Unique Place to Sleep in San Diego.
San Diego is of course home to some of the best four and five star hotels in the world, but one of my best memories of the San Diego area took place under the stars, in a simple pup tent.
Roar and Snore at Wild Animal Park.
The fact that this pup tent was pitched in the middle of the San Diego Wild Animal Park is of course what made it so unique and memorable. This event is known to locals, visitors and park officials as Roar and Snore, and it is a blast for kids and their parents alike. In addition to the family camping nights, there are a number of nights for adults only, where interested adults can relive their childhood dream of camping in deepest Africa. It’s certainly the cheapest safari trip you will ever do.
These Roar and Snore campouts are quite popular, and it is important to book them as far in advance as possible. The schedule varies as well, so
it is best to check with the park itself and make your travel plans accordingly. If you can fit it into your vacation schedule I highly recommend the experience.
The San Diego Wild Animal Park is located some thirty miles north of San Diego, in the town of Escondido. It is an easy drive up the expressway, although it often gets quite congested, so leave plenty of time to get there.
When guests arrive, they are permitted to park in a special area of the parking lot reserved for overnight guests. All belongings can be left in the car, and the Roar and Snore campers are free to explore the park all day at no additional cost. The only mandatory gear is a sleeping bag, and things like lanterns, food and drinks are supplied by the park.
At the appointed time campers meet with their sleeping bags in hand to set up in the tents of their choice. You will be happy to know all this is done ahead of time, so it is not necessary to pitch your own tent. After a buffet dinner, campers gather for an exclusive nighttime tour of the park, visiting different areas normally off limits to park visitors. During my trip, we got to see the elephants and the tigers close up and personal.
The real fun of the Roar and Snore experience comes when you wake in the middle of the night and suddenly realize where you are. The sounds coming from the adjacent large animal enclosure really do bring a little bit of Africa to southern California, and it is always fun to see the animals right up near the fence, trying to see what all the excitement is about. We saw quite a few rhinos checking out our tent.
Upon waking in the morning guests embark on another special tour of the park, this one in the early morning hours before the park opens to the public. It is fascinating to see the animals both late and night and early in the morning, and to watch all the park employees getting ready for another day on the job.
After the tour, the guests gather their sleeping bags and return them to their cars. They are then free to explore another day at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, also at no additional charge. I have been to San Diego many times now, and this Roar and Snore campout was one of my favorite San Diego area experiences.