Monday, April 14, 2008

4/11/08 Up and OUT Early

We couldn't wait to get out the hellhole motel room we were in. I went to the office to turn in the key and took our name off the waiting list for a canceled reservation room. We have lots to do today, we'll worry about a room for tonight later. List that as mistake number two.

Before we did leave I did take this picture from the balcony since we had a newly charged camera battery! I knew we had a big truck but this really put it in perspective for me. That's not a Mini Cooper parked next to our truck, that's a mini van!


We're going to the world famous San Diego Zoo today! It has been years since Bob and I have been to a zoo. It was perfect day, we were well rested, it wasn't too hot, it wasn't crowded and we got a military discount off the regular admission price. I'm all about that military discount, can you tell? Park admissions certainly have gone up since we've been to the Philadelphia Zoo. Adult admission price: $34.00 each....thirty two with the discount.


This zoo has been here since 1922, when the first animals moved in. San Diego Zoo is one of the most progressive zoos in the world with over 4000 animals and over 800 species within its 100 acre boundaries.

First order of the day was to get Bob something to eat. That done, we were ready to start exploring.

The first zoo residents we saw were the flamingoes.


These two aren't dancing, they are having an argument. We could tell by all the squawking. Something wasn't right in their flamingo world.


I thought this one was especially pretty.


Next stop was the elephants. See that rather thick stick in his trunk? We watched him/her eat that! (Elephant on right)


It was amazing to watch them take large branches, hold it with their trunks on the ground and then step on them to hold it in place and pull with the trunk to break it into more manageable pieces. These are NOT dumb animals!

We thought it best to take the bus tour of the park. Make that mistake number three. What a waste of time! We spent 35 - 40 minutes listening to the tour guide tell us where we wanted go and to make sure to get there early because of the expected long lines. We were on the upper deck of the double decker bus and we couldn't get off. Granted, we did get to see some things we wouldn't have otherwise.

For instance, this peacock.


Of course we didn't get to see him spread his tail feathers and strut his stuff because we were being whisked away on a tour bus but we knew what he was doing by all the squeals of delight from the people who were free and walking around where they pleased. (Note to self: Never, ever get on 2nd floor of double decker bus again)

When we were done with the bus tour we beat feet to the giant panda area before the lines got too long. We're glad we did this because we passed the area again later in the day and lines were long.

Meet SuLin, she is a two year old giant panda born here in the San Diego Zoo. This zoo has the largest population of giant pandas outside of mainland China.


The newest addition to the zoo panda family is Zhen-Zhen, which means precious in Chinese, was born in August.



They are so cuddly looking that I just wanted to scoop them up and give them big hugs. The zoo raises 40 different types of bamboo to feed these beautiful black and white creatures treasures. Yes, treasures is the right word here.

San Diego Zoo is situated on somewhat of a hilly terrain and instead of steps to get you from one level to another they have "people movers" like pictured below.


Next stop was the open air aviary. What beautiful birds they have here. They are free to fly in this large caged area. There is plenty of room for them and it was fun to watch them chase each other and play their bird games. While I enjoyed being in the aviary I was much more comfortable being on the outside looking in. After all, these birds had plenty of food but I didn't see any designated bird bathrooms and there were flying overhead....

Some of the beautiful birds we saw. Remember to double click on the pics.

IMG_2545 IMG_2563 IMG_2564 IMG_2565 IMG_2580

All this walking around made us thirsty so it was time to stop and get something to drink. We won't even talk about the cost of beer in the zoo! Let's just say a Pepsi was $3.99! I drank it slow and savored every mouthful!


Do you ever associate the words 500 pounds with pygmy? If you do, then you must be talking about this little fella here.


I never knew there was such a thing as a pygmy hippopotamus!

If you were a chimp wouldn't you have a ball living here? We watched them for the longest time, they were so much fun as they played their games and interacted with one another. This first pic is of the baby of the group. Look in the center of the picture to see him.


Here the little guy is being stepped on by one of the bigger chimps. Don't worry they are only playing.


I loved to watch them laugh! This little guy is really young, we could tell by his playfulness and relentless teasing towards the older chimp. We could have spent the whole day watching them but had move on as there is a lot more zoo to see.


Soon we came across the full grown hippos. They spend a lot of their time underwater.


A face only a mother could love......


I noticed from down below in the viewing area of the tank of water that there was a duck in the water.


As we were walking through the zoo we couldn't help but notice this. It's hard to believe that somebody didn't see this happening and stop this! I'm talking about zoo personnel or just adult visitors to the park. There is so much of it, who knows, maybe it is allowed.


See this sad face?


Well, let me tell you, this gorilla has every reason to be sad and I'm sorry to say that we, and you, our readers, are part of the problem. These poor creatures are suffering because of our need/want of modern technology. Namely, our cell phones. You see, cell phones are in hot demand and as the demand increases so does the demand on the gorilla's habitat in the Congo. I'll explain. Cell phones contain a rare ore called Coltan used as a semiconductor. This metal is found in central Africa. Increased mining operations means habitat loss and increased hunting pressure on gorillas and other wildlife.

Two World Heritage sites, Kahuzi-Biega National Park and Okapi Wildlife Preserve have suffered the most damage from mining.

Coltan mining has also helped fund the on-going war in the area.

Cell phone popularity over the last five years has induced a flood of more than 10,000 illegal miners into the protected parks. Needing food, they have hunted gorillas and elephants to near extinction in these areas. Who knew????

SO WHAT CAN WE DO? Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!!! The US alone is home to 150 million cell phone users. More 100 million cell phones are thrown away or stuffed in a drawer each year. If those phones were recycled instead of making their way to the landfills we could make a huge impact! Please, do your part!

I'll get off my soapbox now. On to our day at the zoo.

Everywhere we go and see one of these machines, Bob adds to his ever growing collection of flattened pennies.


We stopped for awhile and watched the polar bears play.

IMG_2606 IMG_2608

We were able to take in one of the shows. Here we got quite a surprise about one of animals here in San Diego. The following is a picture of a cheetah, I forget its name, and his best friend! These two live together, play together and are truly best friends. Are you as surprised as we were?


We decided we had enough walking for awhile and got on this for a bird's eye view.


Our view of San Diego from the "air".


There were beautiful flowers and bushes all around.

IMG_2543 IMG_2572

IMG_2602 IMG_2603

Here are the peacocks that have free run in the park perched in a tree and a female taking a stroll.

IMG_2626 IMG_2622

A giant topiary at the entrance of the zoo.


A tired Bob and Snookie at the end of the day. (look how TAN we are!)


So our day at the zoo is done and we have to find place to lay our heads tonight. We decided not to even try to get a place in downtown San Diego because A) we called the Visitor Center and they told us everything was booked through them and B) everything would be outrageously expensive. So we traveled 25 miles out of town to La Mesa and stayed in the La Mesa Lodge. Nothing special, nothing fancy, but it was clean and the bed was COMFORTABLE! Oh yeah, they gave a military discount too!

1 comment:

LaVon Baker said...

So glad you got to go to the SD Zoo. And thanks for sharing with us. I love zoos. Don & I went to the San Antonio Zoo on our honeymoon. It's not the SD Zoo, but it was quite nice.