Escondido, California - Throughout September, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is honoring the hard-working firefighters who help to protect people, animals and structures across the region. Through the support of California Coast Credit Union, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is offering free admission to all active firefighters and up to three accompanying guests during the entire month of September.

To take advantage of this unique offer, firefighters will need to present an active firefighter identification card with photo, such as a department or union ID, plus a personal ID, at a Safari Park ticket window. They will then be provided with a 1-Day adult pass and up to three additional guest passes for family members or friends.

Safari Park officials said providing free admission to firefighters is just one small way to express the gratitude of the entire San Diego Zoo Safari Park staff to the brave men and women who battle dangerous fires every day—especially during a year when fires have already burned more than 500,000 acres in California. 

“Within a span of three weeks, we had three wildfires that threatened our property—a scary prospect when thinking about the safety of our animals, guests and employees,” said Lisa Peterson, director of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “Providing free tickets to these brave men and women and their families is a way for us to recognize all they do for our communities. Firefighters run towards the danger that everyone else runs from, and for that courage we are grateful.”

Fire is an important element in maintaining diverse ecosystems, however climate change, habitat loss and invasive plant species have created situations where fires are occurring much more frequently. In addition, fires are occurring repeatedly in the same areas—resulting in long-term challenges for native wildlife, uprooting animals from their homes and altering the dynamics of already fragile ecosystems. San Diego Zoo Global continues to work with local wildlife agencies to monitor native habitats, at times stepping in to help replant habitats and relocate vulnerable species. The organization supports more than 140 conservation projects in Southern California and worldwide—and encourages everyone to respect wildlife, help preserve their habitats, plant native plants and prevent wildfires.

Firefighters’ free tickets were made possible through generous support from California Coast Credit Union and are valid for same-day use only at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, located at 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road in Escondido. “Firefighters are true heroes, and we are proud to join San Diego Zoo Global in recognizing them for their tremendous efforts to keep us all safe from fires,” said Cal Coast President and CEO Todd Lane. “As part of our partnership with the city of San Diego, we will continue to look for ways to serve and support San Diego Fire Department personnel.”

Guests visiting the Safari Park over Labor Day weekend (Sept. 1–3) are invited to help celebrate Vulture Awareness Day. The weekend-long event will include special keeper talks, an adopt-an-animal booth and other activities to help promote better understanding of vulture species—which are vulnerable, yet play a vital role in their ecosystems.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.