10 Things You Need to Know About the New Wildlife Explorers Basecamp at San Diego Zoo

Guests encounter an “ancient oak tree” built for climbing and exploring. The 20-foot oak encourages a parallel-play experience, adjacent to the squirrel monkey habitat. Photo courtesy of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.


1. Wildlife Explorers Basecamp opens Friday, March 11th

The new Wildlife Explorers Basecamp was constructed on the site of the former Children’s Zoo. This new world is divided into four innovative nature play areas, each designed around unique habitats. Kids (and grown-ups!) get to feel what it’s like to be wild!


2. It’s 3.2 acres of interactive and engaging exhibits including:

  • 4 habitat zones: Desert Dunes, Wild Woods, Marsh Meadows, and Rainforest
  • 8 buildings with interactive exhibits and educators
  • Multi-sensory elements, microscopes, and touch screens
  • Oversized species-themed sculptures and multiple immersive play areas


3. Hop around on boulders in the Desert Dunes habitat

  • Climb, scramble, and hop on boulders
  • Look for hidden reptile sculptures and petroglyphs
  • Explore shady caves
  • See animals like the fennec fox, prairie dog, desert tortoise, and burrowing owl


4. Play alongside squirrel monkeys in the Wild Woods habitat

  • Explore the 20-foot tall nature-play structure designed to look like an ancient oak tree
  • The tree is right next to the squirrel monkey habitat for a parallel-play experience


5. There’s water play!

  • The Wild Woods exhibit features a woodland-themed water play area
  • There’s a waterfall grotto, splash pad, water jets, and a stream


6. Don’t worry, there’s ‘Explorer-sized’ body dryers

When your adventure outside is complete, use their Explorer-sized body dryers to dry off before visiting indoor experiences.


7. The Rainforest area is centered around a two-story greenhouse

  • Key species: tortoise, caiman, ocelot, tamandua, prehensile-tailed porcupine
  • See arachnids butterflies, grasshoppers, and coconut crab habitat
  • Dark caves feature an entire colony of leafcutter ants
  • Become a bee and explore a real-life beehive and larger-than-life honeycomb


8. Watch the waterline rise in Marsh Meadows

  • This area features the Cool Critters Reptile House, a two-story herpetology and ichthyology structure
  • See snakes, amphibians, crocodilians, turtles, lizards, and endangered Fijian iguanas


9. Wildlife Explorers Basecamp is included with zoo admission

Right now, online tickets are $63-71 for adults (ages 12+) and $53-61 for children (ages 3-11).


10. Be on the lookout for the world’s biggest porcupine puppet

Percy, a massive, two-story, world-record sized porcupine puppet was unveiled at Elysian Park near Dodger Stadium to celebrate the zoo’s new basecamp. According to Associated Press, Percy will make her way down the coast to her permanent home at the San Diego Zoo.



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To learn more about San Diego Zoo’s Wildlife Explorers Basecamp, visit zoo.sandiegozoo.org.




This post was written by Kidsguide

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