San Diego Report — The San Diego Zoo

10 Apr

In reading comments left by viewers, I realized that no matter how famous a zoo is, there are those who have not heard of it.  The San Diego Zoo is a famous zoo — world-famous if you believe their literature.  I grew up hearing about it — it’s a huge zoo and very well run.  In California, at least, it’s the zoo to end all zoos.  The mother-of-all-zoos, if you will.  You need to plan a long day to visit or be willing to not see everything.  With two already tired kids, we were definitely in the latter camp.

Before our trip, we pre-purchased our tickets — I highly recommend this practice.  In particular, we bought a 3-in-1 pass for San Diego — it allowed us to visit SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, and the San Diego Wild Animal Park (which is run by the same organization that runs the zoo — the San Diego Zoological Society).  For the Zoo and the WAP, it included a free tour.  I can’t recommend the bus tour enough — in fact, if we hadn’t had dinner plans, we might very well have done another bus tour at the end of the day.  It’s a huge zoo and it’s on a big hill and seeing everything or even most things is simply unlikely.

So, the first thing we did was hop a bus for the tour — I saw hop as if it didn’t involve 45 minutes in line!  This peacock kept us entertained while we waited.  He would carefully wait until the buses were unloading and then walk in front of them so that the driver would have to wait for him to move again.  Glamorous vain thing.


From the bus, we had an amazing view.  We were on top and they are smart enough to realize that staying in your seats is unlikely.  We had the last seats in the back of the bus which is PERFECT — you are allowed to move around even while the bus was going.  I loved it!  My camera was clicking away — in fact, I bought a new 1 gb card at the Zoo because my 2 gb was getting full.


The zoo keepers were taking this Arctic Wolf for a walk.  Please note it’s companion is a Golden Retriever — the driver said it keeps the wolf more comfortable than if it were alone.  Well, that’s just a truism about Goldens, isn’t it?  Everyone is more calm when around a sweet old Golden.


We had a great view of this grizzly bear — he’d clearly been for a little morning dip.


The elephants were enchanting.  Later when we came back, they’d given them some tree branches to chew on — they were amazingly efficient at destroying them utterly.


Wallabys are adorable — especially when they haven’t had their morning coffee yet!  🙂


I can’t resist zebras — they are so graphically pleasing somehow.

Harpy Eagle

Remember this guy?  Ferocious and brave — now, look up.  A new definition of brave.


Foolish and brave.


Look!  An Ape Family.


We fell in love with the Okapi.  A more irregular looking critter, I can’t imagine.  They are just odd and out of proportion and awkward.  But, very appealing, none the less.  Despite their appearance, they aren’t close relatives of Zebras — rather, they are related to Giraffes.  Take a look at her gawky face . . .


Kind of a face only a mother could love, huh


The best part of the day was just before we left.  We wandered to the Children’s Zoo area — hoping to see some babies in the Nursery area — it was mostly empty — too late in the day.  But, we walked by these playful otters.  There were only two other families there and we could really see everything — it was so wonderful.  The kids loved it — it was as if the otters put on a show just for us.

The zoo was exhausting.  But, we had dinner plans with friends in San Clemente so we scooted up the coast.  The kids had some decompression time — as did we.  We had a lovely evening.  They let the kids get in their huge hot tub and they burned off their energy like little otters themselves.  After dinner, as we grownups talked, the kids fell asleep in our laps.  We had a long drive back to San Diego but it was totally worth it.  What a great day that was!


9 Responses to “San Diego Report — The San Diego Zoo”

  1. jayne 10 April, 2008 at 2:38 am #

    We thoroughly enjoyed the San Diego Zoo when we were out there on the coast, and would have loved to have a bus tour to take then! Wonderful, fun images you captured Liza!

  2. Liza Lee Miller 10 April, 2008 at 5:22 am #

    I forgot to mention that the driver of the bus tour was a teacher also on Spring Break — making a little extra cash and having some extra fun as well. A lot of work though! He had great info on the animals!

  3. robin andrea 10 April, 2008 at 6:58 am #

    I have a thing for zebras. There’s something about them that really is so graphically pleasing.

    Oooh that must be a Harpy Eagle. What an incredible looking raptor.

    Love that Okapi.

  4. Mary 10 April, 2008 at 8:37 am #

    Of course I’ve heard of the San Diego Zoo. Liza, I haven’t been to a zoo since the early 90s and if I went now, I’d still be thrilled :o)

    Great photos, wonderful animals. Glad you had a great time!

  5. Mel 10 April, 2008 at 10:39 am #

    Lovely pics!
    Harpy Eagle??? Is it???

  6. KGMom 10 April, 2008 at 11:13 am #

    Liza Lee–great pics. I love elephants and the photo you took makes the elephant look wonderfully furry, loveable.

    I think the okapi is beautiful–look at those liquid brown eyes.

    My son works for QualComm, but live in Pittsburgh, PA. He has visited San Diego many times, and I think has been to the zoo. I will have to ask him.

  7. Liza Lee Miller 10 April, 2008 at 12:45 pm #

    Yes, folks, that gorgeous bird is a Harpy Eagle — I didn’t ID it in this post because I had it in an earlier one. 🙂 I’m glad you think the Okapi is beautiful == to me they seem gawky but we just loved them. I know gawky can be beautiful but it seemed a bit designed by committee if you know what I mean!

  8. Susan Gets Native 10 April, 2008 at 7:17 pm #

    I love looking at the okapi at the Cincy Zoo…the love child of a zebra and a giraffe.
    Speaking of zebras….nice buns!

  9. Wende 10 April, 2008 at 8:46 pm #

    Don’t you love the Okapi? They seem so peaceful. We saw them for the first time a couple years back at WDW and fell in love.

    Your photos are amazing, Liza. That Zebra shot could be an art print.

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