San Diego Zoo Wildlife Explorers Basecamp

Wildlife Explorers Basecamp


Welcome to more than three acres of wildlife adventure, all with one amazing goal: to encourage Wildlife Explorers to learn about nature, actively play, encounter new species, and develop an empathy for wildlife.

At the Denny Sanford Wildlife Explorers Basecamp, you can interact, climb, scramble, and jump in innovative nature play areas. Visit habitats from around the world, from desert dunes and wild woods to marsh meadows and rainforest. Learn by doing. And through a variety of one-of-a-kind experiences with animals, you’ll connect like never before to the natural world, and understand the importance of conserving wildlife.

Feel what it’s like to be wild.


Introducing ... Basecamp

Pass under a trellis covered by giant leafcutter ant sculptures and discover the wildness of Basecamp for the first time. This new world is divided into four innovative nature play areas, each designed around unique habitats.

Fennet Fox Desert Dunes
Desert Dunes

Desert Dunes

Climb rocks, explore caves, and play in a desert wash. And discover the wildlife that use burrows to beat the heat, including the fennec fox, prairie dog, desert tortoise, and burrowing owl. 

Wild Woods Squirrel Monkeys
Wild Woods

Wild Woods

Step into a waterfall grotto and get drenched as water pours over eroded bluffs. Look out for splashing jets that unexpectedly fill a stream. Then, pick a path to climb the ancient oak tree by a rope bridge, a spiral staircase, or a fallen branch. And discover that nearby squirrel monkeys and coatis play in the same way that Wildlife Explorers do.

Marsh Meadows Croc
Marsh Meadows

Marsh Meadows

Trek into the marsh and watch the waterline rise as you head deeper down the shore. Bear witness as crocs and turtles take to the water. And as the marsh grows deeper, it teems with more wildlife.

Rainforest caiman


Explore a multilevel outdoor environment filled with caiman and tortoises. This mixed habitat is also home to our wildlife ambassadors, at Basecamp every day. Meet one up close!

When your adventure outside is complete, use our Explorer-sized body dryers, and then step inside for unique indoor experiences.

Cool Critters Reptile House
Reptile House

Cool Critters Reptile House

Discover a watery world and a moving river of light that ripples mysteriously overhead in the underwater-themed environment. Spot the rare Fijian iguana, South American lungfish, axolotl, and Chinese giant salamander. Check out the microscope stations, where you can take a snapshot and share it. Maybe you’ll meet a conservationist and some of our favorite scaly friends.

Spineless Marvels Invertebrate House
Invertebrate House

Spineless Marvels Invertebrate House

Our two-story greenhouse abounds with butterflies, grasshoppers, bees, and other invertebrates. Explore dark caves and inspect an entire colony of leafcutter ants.

Hotel with pool
Creature Comforts


Groom and bride embracing as a giraffe looks on in the distance.
Wild Weddings

Picture Your Special Day at the Park!

ShopZoo Savanna Summer Safari
Safari Summer on the Savanna

Outfit Your Herd for Adventures