Saturday, January 23, 2016

San Diego, CA - Lions, Tigers and Horned Bills

I have heard of the San Diego Zoo for years though I’m not sure why or in what context. Gary got 4 hours on the last day of basic training for the Navy back in 1968 and took his time to visit the zoo. Huh, what sailor in his right mind goes to the zoo on a day off? so, when we were in San Diego a few years ago, we went to the Zoo and its twin sister, the San Diego Wild Animal Park, about 40 miles north, much bigger and where the animals are not really housed in small cages but in much larger areas where the humans can still see them but they have space to roam, fly, dig or whatever they do to live.

It’s time to go back and we decided on the Wild Animal Park. It’s huge so we started early, got there about 10:00 and started to explore. We got on the tram first since we heard that there were lots of school buses in the park and we wanted to ensure that we got a ride on it. Here’s my hint: sit on the left side of the tram since it circles that direction and you will be able to see much better. Guess what - we were on the right hand side and our view was over other heads. Shucks. But the views are still marvelous and you get to see lots of animals that you certainly don’t see roaming the streets in your home town.

Here’s a picture from Wikipedia showing the African Plains part of the exhibit. You can see from this that the park is huge. These free-range enclosures house such animals as antelopes, giraffes, buffalo, cranes, and rhinoceros and several other species that roam this plain in nature.
Later in the afternoon, we wandered back towards this area and found ourselves all alone with no one else in our view.
It was feeding time for the mother and baby rhino.
We also visited the elephants and found a young one with its mother.
This one had found a way to carry this box with its trunk,curled into a hole in the top. Pretty clever. It trotted all around with this box, showing us all how clever it was. And, look at that smile - it knows it’s clever.
And, I got a close-up of elephant skin. Obviously needs some Jergens.
Here’s my second hint: make sure you get there early for the Cheetah Run - you don’t want to miss that. Cheetahs can get up to 70 mph over a short distance, the fastest animal alive. Funny, though, they are a bit shy especially when running in front of a crowd. So, the trainers release a dog first to show the cheetah that it’s OK and that the people lining the fences aren’t going to harm it. Ah, then the cheetah can run. They back the truck with the cheetah cage in it up to the run, open the door and the cheetah is off. Here’s my picture. Can’t see the cheetah? Well, it’s fast. It is actually the tawny bit of color about 2 inches or so from the palm tree and level with the wooden fence. Got it? Well, if you can’t, you’re with the rest of us watching - it went so fast that we almost missed it.
And, here’s the cheetah at the end with his snack treat.
We walked by the large area where the Sumatran Tiger lived and didn’t see much on our first pass. We circled the area and then found him. And, I think he sees me as a tasty morsel - just need a pinch of salt.
We found the bat house with these large Rodrigues Fruit bats. They are about 1’ long and have a wingspan of 6’ and live in the Indian Ocean near Martitius.
We climbed up to Condor Ridge, one of the few places in the world where you can see them in captivity. Here’s one of these beauties now.
We wandered by some bird enclosures.
And saw an eagle with an injured wing that will never be released into the wild.
And, the gorilla area.
We learned a lot about the various species since they have such good explanatory plaques at each area. Here’s our favorite though.
Pretty cool park and we’ll be back another time. We read that it gets about 2 million visitors yearly, houses over 2600 animals as well as 3500 plant species. It has the world’s largest veterinary hospital, and has the most successful condor breeding program in the US. It is also the quarantine area for zoo animals imported into the US through San Diego.

‘Sometimes it takes a lot more thinkin’ to deal with changes than to make them.’


  1. You really provided great information to us. This is really helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for your information. I also want to go this San Diego Zoo with my son.