Program: San Diego Zoo Safari Park
ROBYN BADGER is a native of Australia who joined the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park in 1988 as an Architect. Her current project is titled “Walk About Australia” and is due to open in Summer 2018. .
Robyn walked us through slides showing the plans for the new addition to the Safari Park as part of the World Gardens area, and near the Condors. The goals for the project are for it to be exciting, fun and repeatable. The area will consist of 3.6 acres, which with the 6.5 acres of World Gardens constitutes a large area to explore.
The entry way will possibly be a Big Kangaroo – in keeping with an Australian tradition of very large iconic creations. Once through the entry, visitors will look up at a hillside of grass with kangaroos and wallabies, with installations of a woolshed, water tank, and windmill all reminiscent of the Australian Outback scenery. There will be Australian Bird Sounds, such as magpies and kookaburras. There will also be Aussie road signs such as warning signs of kangaroos for the next few kilometers.
There will be a boardwalk through the grassy area, so that visitors can walk through the kangaroos and wallabies, plus there will be an off-trail area for interacting with them.
Further up, there will be magpie geese and a creek, with picnic areas to look down the hill. Hopefully there will be food trucks and a cooling play area for children.
The entrance to the woolshed will take visitors up ramp at eye level through a tree kangaroo exhibit. There will also be an animal presentation area, to show off Australian animals such as wombats, sugar gliders, and echidnas. The woolshed will be used to host events as well as holding facilities for the animals.
Of note, there will be a cassowary exhibit amongst the large ficus trees. Protected by glass on two sides, a walk way will introduce visitors to these vividly colored tall birds, with thick legs and enormous claws, known as the Velociraptors of the Bird World. Other birds will include free ranging ducks, brush turkeys, which build huge nests of leaf litter on the ground, rose-breasted cockatoos, black red-tailed cockatoos, and tawny frogmouths.
The “desert” region will feature remarkable Rocks of Australia, with the sounds of birds. Devils Marbles will be recreated, with Aboriginal music sound tracks.
There will be also be a rope bridge activity, and a suspension bridge.