Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday San Diego Zoo.

2016 has been a great year for big birthdays.  This year was the big 100 for the National Park Service and for the beautiful San Diego Zoo.  Happy Birthday to two places that give you the opportunity to step into nature and see the world in a new way.  In 1916 Dr. Harry Wegeforth was driving past Balboa Park and heard a lion roar.  The lion was left over from an exhibit that had closed earlier in the year. With a love of animals and a heart that believed he could do anything, the once physician saved that lion and began San Diego Zoo.  I wonder if he knew how big his impulse adoption of a lion would ever become.  The Story is a fun one and you can read more about it here on the zoo's timeline from their website.   
This place is huge!  99 acres of hills and valleys is a lot to explore.  The first thing we did was jumped on one of their tour buses for a trip around the park for a quick overview.  This was the perfect way to get an idea of how big this place is and plan your day.  Quick Tip: Its a double decker bus.  If you want to see all the animals you want to sit on the lower level of the bus.  From here you can see both sides of the bus well and not miss a thing.  Plus you aren't spending 35 minutes in the sun to start off your sunburn for the day.  The bus driver and guide was amazing.  I cant imagine the stress of driving that huge bus through all those zoo visitors.  She told us a great tale of the zoo and all the fun little facts at each stop all while not killing anyone.  If you have ever tried to push a shopping cart through a crowded store in a hurry with a toddler telling you all about the deep details of her mind you might have a tiny bit of an idea what our guide might have been going through.  It was such an adventure.  They also have what they call kangaroo bus that you can use to get from place to place in the park.  Grab a map when you walk in and it will tell you all about it.  It will also tell you the location of all the eating spots, bathrooms and of course the great things to see at the park.  At the end of the day we rode the Skyfari down to the front of the park.  This tram ride gives you a view of the zoo from the sky.  You can also see some of the beautiful buildings of Balboa Park.  This tram moved at a pretty quick pace and was a bit bouncy.  In the end of it you reach the bottom where a cute little gal steps out in the path of your tram and braces herself to catch you.  Its a must do when you visit the park for sure.  

Between the eight of us there that day I think we might have taken thousands of pictures.  It was a tough job to pick our few favorites to write up this post.  This sleepy guy is part of the Koala exhibit.  Koalas sleep 18 to 22 hours a day so this is how we are going to see them most.  Australia is highly selective of who it will let export Koalas so when they received their first two Koalas in 1925 it was a huge deal.  San Diego Zoo has been so successful in their breeding programs that the zoo is now home to the largest colony of Koalas outside of Australia. 

San Diego Zoo does everything big.  If your going to do something you might as well go all in and that is what they do.  As you explore their website you can see live cams of their animals in action through out the day.  Here is a link to their polar cam so you can explore the zoo from home.  The polar bears are especially active and fun to watch.   Its funny to think that polar bears would be so at home in sunny San Diego but they seem very happy in their sunny home.  In the wild their diets consists of a lot of fats to build up a warm layer.  Here they are fed a healthy diet and so they aren't as chubby.  Maybe this is why they have so much playful energy here.  

When we were here I saw animals new to me and ones I never knew I would see.  This is a Tasmanian Devil.  Really all I knew about this animal was what I had learned on Looney Toons.  This guy didn't have the energy of the furry friend we saw as kids.  He wasn't as noisy either.  Maybe we caught him on a quiet day.  He looked so peaceful napping in the sun.  Have I mentioned a hundred times yet that the animals all seemed so happy there?  You can tell that the zoo has a love for the animals that drives them to create these beautiful places. 

From wild birds who come to steal the food from the zoo animals to elephant poop paper products you can buy in the gift store this place was one surprise after another.  We spent an entire day exploring the exhibits and still there were things we didn't see.  There is something magical about San Diego Zoo and I cant wait to go back.  

{Loving the Journey}

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