Thinking about doing the Roar and Snore at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park? We had the best experience camping at the Zoo!
When we moved to San Diego, we immediately became members of the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. We had visited both while living in Los Angeles, and knew that we’d want to visit both on a regular basis now that we were becoming San Diego residents. The Safari Park is under twenty minutes from our house, and we love going for a couples on weekends or even after school. During our visits, one thing came up over and over again. The Roar and Snore experience. Whenever we walked by the tents and campsite area, Lydia asked if we could spend the night at the zoo. She was fascinated with the idea of waking up with the lions, tigers and elephants (oh my) near by.
I filed it under, things we need to do in San Diego. Then, an email hit my inbox that made Lydia’s dream a reality. Universal Pictures was putting together a unique event to celebrate the release of Dolittle. The film releases on January 17th, and reimagines the story that we all know and love about the man who could talk to animals. In this colorful version, Robert Downey Jr. plays Dr. Dolittle (the veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England) and when the queen falls ill…..he sets on an epic adventure in search of a cure. As you can imagine, a cast of amazing animals is front and center. Universal Pictures invited an intimate group of families to Roar and Snore at the Safari Park so that we could……go on our own epic animal adventure. And we couldn’t have been more excited!
Roar and Snore: San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Now the great news is, you don’t have to be invited by a studio to experience Roar and Snore. These experiences are open to anyone, you just have to make a reservation!
My personal suggestion? I’d arrive a couple hours before your Roar and Snore begins (you’ll have paid for park admission) or plan to stay for a few hours after so that you have more time to explore OTHER parts of the zoo. Ideally, I would suggest the day of your sleepover. After camping overnight, you may be wanting to head home versus spending THAT day at the park.
Upon arrival, you will be directed to the special parking spots for the Roar and Snore where you’ll be checked in and your luggage will be checked (don’t worry, you’ll see it again when you get to your tent). After checking in, if you’ve got time you can explore the Safari Park or you can head straight to the tents (which are located by the giant balloon, the cheetah run area, and the lions).
Once you are in the tent area, you’ll have time to unpack and get settled and then the fun begins! You can expect some great animal encounters (and they’re especially awesome because of the small number of people participating). We had a TON of animal encounters and I was SUPER impressed by the amount of time we had with the trainers, and the amount of information the kids (and adults) received.
Animal walks are another special part of the Roar and Snore, and we got to do two of them. Since our walk was in January, it was dark and I loved seeing the animals behavior during a time we aren’t normally able to visit them. Depending on time of year and weather, you’ll either do the animal walks before or after dinner.
You’ll have dinner back at “base camp”. We had tons of food (hamburgers, mac and cheese, veggie options, drinks and dessert).
After dinner, our group got to do a camper caravan safari (this is an add on option for parties with kids who are ages 6 and up). I HIGHLY suggest this if it works for your group. We got to take a caravan through the park and into some of the animal areas and we even had night vision goggles to see the animals clearly. I loved seeing areas that we had ONLY seen during the day in such a different light pun intended). If your group doesn’t do a camper caravan safari, you’ll have fun activities to do back at the campsite.
Before you head to bed, there’s a campfire with one of the best parts of camping….s’mores and hot chocolate. It was really fun to sit around the fire with our friends, to enjoy the stars and to marvel at the fact that there were elephants and giraffes just a few feet away!
There were plenty of restrooms to get ready for bed (and there are even showers available if you want them). We got ready, and headed to our tent for lights out at 10:00 pm. Trust me, Lydia was tired and fell asleep right away (thank goodness, I was worried she’d be too excited about her friends sleeping just a tent away)!
So how did we sleep? A lot better than I expected. Yes, we did hear some animal sounds throughout the night, but it was nothing that was disruptive to sleep. The Safari Park team gave us a gentle wake up at about 6:15 am and it was REALLY cool to wake up to the sounds of birds singing and yes…..lions roaring. We had about 45 minutes after that to wake up, pack up, and head down to base camp for breakfast. Breakfast was DELISH. Pancakes, eggs, sausages, fruit along with coffee and juice.
After breakfast we had a tram tour of the same area we saw at night (which is also an option while the Safari Park is open and included in the price of your admission ticket). Then we had a little walk through the park and we got to have one more animal encounter (for us it was a team of birds…..one that we can look forward to spotting in Dolittle).
After the final encounter, a tour guide led us to the exit where our luggage was waiting in a special Roar and Snore area next to our cars.
Roar and Snore Pricing and Sleeping Options:
The Safari Park options a ton of Roar and Snore options: all ages sleepovers, adults only sleepovers, Girl Scouts sleepovers, even options for teachers to do a sleepover with their students!
Tent Options (and current pricing as of 1/12/20):
Classic Tent ($145 per person ages 3 and up, $30 2 and under): Fits up to five campers, 9 x 14 foot interior, vinyl-covered tent floor, sleeping bag pads (plan to bring your own sleeping bag and pillow)
Vista Tent ($185 per person ages 3 and up, $30 2 and under): Fits up to six campers, 9 x 14 foot interior, vinyl-covered tent floor, includes 2 chairs, has 2 sets of bunk cots and 2 single cots
Premium Tent ($225 per person ages 3 and up, $30 2 and under): Fits up to four campers, 12 x 16 foot interior, electrical outlets (yes, you can charge your phone), queen bed and two cots (with bed linens and pillows)
We had a premium tent and I have to say…..it was pretty awesome. Even in January when it gets PRETTY cold in Escondido, we had a heater and were just fine temperature wise.
Honestly, I absolutely LOVED the experience. It’s such a unique family activity and I loved that since the Safari Park is a nonprofit, we knew all the ticket pricing and costs were going towards their animal conservation efforts. Agewise, I would suggest a Roar and Snore for ages five and up….I think while younger kids will enjoy it, they may not grasp the concept of it as well (but obviously that depends on your child). Would we do it again? ABSOLUTELY.
And the best part? It made us SO excited for the Dolittle movie release on January 17th…..we can’t wait to see some of these species we learned about in the film!
Have you ever done a Roar and Snore campout? Or is it on your family bucket list?