New Walkabout Australia habitat at San Diego Safari Park gets you up close and personal with animals

Posted at 5:51 PM, May 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-25 21:04:53-04

ESCONDIDO (KGTV)- San Diego Zoo's Safari Park opened their Walkabout Australia habitat Friday to visitors, giving them a unique up close experience.

One of the four areas, called the Grasslands, contains Kangaroos and Wallabies that roam freely alongside visitors. There's a path, but no fences or plexiglass keeping you separated from the animals.

"We have someone upfront to go down the rules of how to act and behave among the animals, and those rules transcend how to act and behave around wildlife whether you're out camping hiking or traveling around anywhere else," Rick Schwartz, San Diego Zoo Global Ambassador said.

Many parents pointed out the marsupials to their children, using this as a learning opportunity,  "it couldn't get any better, this is the best way to read books and come and see animals in person," Victoria Calisch said.

Her three-year-old son Luke said he thought the kangaroos were cool, "I saw a kangaroo but they were not running they were bouncing."

The rules in the habitat: stay on the trail, don't sit down on the path and don't have open food or drink containers. If an animal comes up to you, you can interact with him or her.

"This exhibit space is so huge and it's on a slope so there are plenty of areas for the animals, if they're done being around people you won't even see them," Schwartz said.

This is just one of four new habitats in the Walkabout Australia exhibit. Other animals include the tree kangaroo and sugar gliders.

The zoo is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 9 a.m. -5 p.m. Memorial Day.

Tickets are $54 for anyone 12 years or older and $44 for kids ages 3-11.