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San Diego Zoo Sleepover To Celebrate THE WILD LIFE Movie

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Last weekend we set off on another adventure to the San Diego Zoo to celebrate THE WILD LIFE movie that is coming to theaters Sept 9th!

We all loaded into the car with overnight bags packed because after watching a screening of THE WILD LIFE; we were going to spend the night camping at the zoo thanks to Lionsgate!

The Wild Life Movie Review

With popcorn in hand, we headed into the theater and shared so many laughs while watching the movie!

No spoilers from us! We LOVED the movie (especially Emmy). It was sweet and funny all rolled into one. The story kept us on our toes, and we all left dreaming of our next tropical vacation! I love movies that transport you to another time or place, and this one totally did!

Here is the official movie description:

From the over-exuberant parrot Mak to the snack-obsessed tapir Rosie, from the persnickety echidna Epi to the acrobatic pangolin Pango, from the ditzy goat Scrubby to the commonsensical kingfisher Kiki and the always-cool chameleon Carmello, things are larger-than-life on a tropical isle that is pure wild animal paradise.  Then Robinson Crusoe, a marooned human, arrives in the midst of a furious storm, and their lives are forever changed by this bewildering new “creature.”  No matter their differences, castaway human and quirky animals embark on an hilarious new adventure, building the island’s first tree-house and surviving together.  But when two conniving members of the animal kingdom — the savage cats Mal & May – pounce into a battle for control of the island, Crusoe and his animal posse must uncover the true power of friendship against all odds (even savage cats).  

After the movie was over, we drove straight for the zoo to learn more about the animals that were featured in the movie and of course to have an awesome time!

san diego zoo sleepover review

This was pure fun, and we learned a lot from the zoo staff!

san diego zoo animal conservation

The cats in the movie were mischievous, while most of the other characters were problem solvers and really good friends to each other. We have cats at home so Emmy could totally relate to the cats in the movie, but there were quite a few characters that Emmy didn’t know about.  She was so excited to hear we would be seeing them in person!

the wild life animal facts

Pango was one of her favorites, and I couldn’t believe how much he resembled the real Pangolin at the zoo!  


Then there was Mak, the parrot. He was just like the real one at the zoo too!

Mak the parrot

After seeing just these two guys in person, the movie started coming alive for us all. Em has already asked if we can go and see it again on opening day?! It is one of those movies that you will want to see over and over again because there is so much going on.  I feel you will have a new take away each time. 


We also saw Kiki the tender-hearted and smart Kingfisher, Epi the adorable Echidna, Carmello the camouflaging Chameleon, Rosie the funny Tapir, and Scrubby the wise and almost blind goat who will eat ANYTHING! 

sleepover at the zoo

In between all the day’s events, we checked into our tent and got it all ready to sleep in while it was still light out. This was our first time camping and although we are used to luxury resorts (and will probably stick with that) we had a great time. I’m not sure I would have made it much longer without better amenities, but we all agreed it was worth it to be a part of the celebration for this cool movie!


new movie for kids the wild life

Before we knew it, it was time for dinner. Emmy had to have the cupcake with Carmello on it. I see a lot of THE WILD LIFE merchandise in out future!


As the sun started to set, we were serenaded with a song from this beauty…

singing bird

And then it was campfire and s’mores time!

campfire at the zoo

We went on a quick scavenger hunt, a night prowl, and then it was lights out!

the san diego zoo camping

wildlife sleepovers san diego zoo

First thing in the morning we all took a stroll to breakfast where I noticed a camel smiling at me. I think he knew there was coffee around the corner and was encouraging me to “keep going.”

morning at the zoo

We had a great breakfast where we were served a HUGE bowl of fruit just like our friends in THE WILD LIFE enjoyed!


We had one more special visitor before we headed home for warm showers. We are still talking about what an awesome experience this was. I really can’t imagine a better way to celebrate this great new movie!


Here is our video recap:

When was the last time you visited your local zoo?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • The Wild Life movie looks so cute! And combining it with a visit to the San Diego Zoo? Win/Win. My kids would love that. I was last at that zoo in 1996, I’d love to take them out west to see it.

  • That Wild Life movie looks like one that a TON of kids will enjoy! And how you combined that with the zoo visit is so smart because it really DOES bring the movie to life!

  • What a fun experience for the kids especially since you got to spend the night inside a zoo. What a great way to celebrate this movie. I would love to watch this movie with the family, I’m sure we’ll have a great time!

  • Seeing it on opening day does sound like a good idea. And hurrah for such a unique trip you got to take!

  • This looks like such a cute movie! I love that you took the kids to the zoo to learn about the animals too.

  • That definitely sounds like a fun sleepover and the wildlife movie sounds like a good movie. Its educational and fun especially since you went to the zoo as well.

  • What an amazing adventure! I can only imagine how much fun that was. The zoo at night would be a whole new experience. Looking forward to the movie!

  • Oh my goodness, Pango is so cute. All of the animals are. I haven’t been to our local zoo since the Indian Festival earlier this summer. I”m going to have to check out this movie.

  • That is quite an experience especially for the kids! I mean, who gets to sleep in a zoo right? It seems like a lot of fun and you’ll definitely learn a lot. Sounds like a great movie as well!

  • What an amazing adventure! I love this post! I am normally a hotel person too but this looks like more fun than the comfort of a hotel could compare with!

  • How fun! I think that looks like a great movie, and I love how there were so many activities connecting the zoo and the movie! I used to camp all the time growing up, and now, I am much better at glamping 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing your adventure with your readers. It is great to see a family like yours having such a fun time bonding. I have never experienced doing a sleepover at a zoo. Staying in a tent would be a great adventure, but just like you, I’d rather sleep in a real bed. Happy to know that your kids had loads of fun. The movie Wild Life must be a good one!

  • Wow! What a cool way to celebrate the opening of a movie! I’ve heard of The Wild Life, but haven’t had a chance to see it yet – I think my kids will love it!

  • Now that is a great way to see a movie!! I love that you got to interact with the the same type of animals that were in the movie!

  • I can’t wait to see this movie when it comes out. I think my girls are really going to enjoy it. We all love going to the zoo. We went a couple times over the summer. It’s always a lot of fun.

  • This looks like it was an absolute blast. My kids would love to go to something like this,

  • OMG, my kids would love this experience. How much fun to sleep at the zoo after seeing the movie and real animals. This sounds like a great family movie.

  • What a great way to experience the movie and learn more about animals at the zoo! My girls and I got to do an overnight adventure at the zoo several years ago and they loved it.

  • I would love to sleep over in a zoo! I’m so jealous! 🙂 It sounds like your family had a great time. We are totally planning on watching this movie so it’s good to know you enjoyed it.

  • This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for the whole family. I would love to have done the San Diego Zoo sleepover to celebrate The Wild Life movie. Seeing the animals that are in the movie would be amazing and so much fun for the kids. Thanks for sharing your experiences and I can’t wait to see this movie with my nieces kids.

  • This looks like it was an amazing experience. I would love to explore the San Diego Zoo. Camping at the Zoo would be so fun. I am looking forward to seeing this movie.

  • My kids would jump for joy if I told them that they were going to spend the night in a zoo. This looks like it was so fun!

  • This sounds like an awesome event – we got to visit San Diego last year and really loved the zoo. The movie looks awesome, too, and it looks like something my son would really enjoy.

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