Oct 10, 2013
26.09.2013 - 13.10.2013
After a half decent sleep and another meh breakfast, it was off to San Diego and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, which is actually about 45 min outside the city. It took us maybe 75 min or so to get there from Anaheim...and we got an early start, arriving around 10:30 or so. I figured we'd spend maybe 4-5 hours there so we could find our digs in San Diego...well, it turned out longer then that.
I'm always a little torn about zoos and water parks. I love to see the animals, but think of how much, maybe not better, but less boring life would be if these animals were in the wild. They certainly have things easy, and it's great for endangered animals, but seeing some of the lions in a small cage kinda makes you feel sorry for them. The Safari park was actually great because the enclosures are quite large, and the huge open area is great for the giraffes and antelope, etc. But some other places kinda make me feel bad knowing they could be out with miles to roam. Anyways, I'm always a bit torn...
So into the park. First entrance in you could go thru a cage with some neat birds. One thing I will say, I guess because we were there in Oct, some of the little shopping kiosks were closed...and some of the smaller food kiosks, only the 'stores' were open for souvenirs. So basically we looked at when there were shows on and tried to plan accordingly. they also have some areas set up where they bring out an animal and do a talk about it. You can get up close and learn some neat stuff. We watched a talk on the Civet Cat, a Military Macaw and another animal that I can't think of the name for the life of me! Then it was off past the water birds - egrets, pelicans, flamingos to check out the gorillas. They had a nice set up with the photos and telling the relationships to each other. When we got there, they were just throwing in some fruit and veggies for them, so they were pretty active...and impressive. Thru another exotic bird area and to the Lemur walk - where you go right into the cage with them. They pretty much ignore you...two of them walked a few feet past us - cool to watch them...
Then it was off to the safari ride...it was about 30 min long, and we got lucky when one of the cheetahs came out for a walk by. Elephants, giraffe, ostrich, antelope, oryx, rhinos (including a baby!). That was very neat and afforded some great photo opportunities. Back by the lion cage - we just missed the big fella walking around, but one of the females had her head up and was watching. Quick visit to the elephants, then we had to hurry back for the bird show back by the lemurs. That was quite entertaining...some of the birds flew very low over your head, they brought a few up close to look at, and the secretary bird was so awesome! Back over to watch the elephants and then over to see where the tigers were. That area is a work in progress and the tigers were right against the wall almost under the walkway, so it was hard to see them. Then it was time for the cheetah run! Even tho we got there 20 min early, it was still crowded around the viewing area. We managed to find a spot by the fence, but really couldn't see the whole run - which lasted all of 10 sec - we saw maybe the last 3 sec of it. They did the run twice (which they don't always do - depends on the cat) and it was neat to see how they interact with their 'dog' buddies (all the cheetahs have one - apparently they really are 'scaredy cats' and everyone has a dog companion that was rescued from a shelter. Very cool. And if you have lots of cash to drop, you can get really up close and personal with the cheetah in a fenced area where you sit and they bring the cat in and talk about the animal.
By this time, we had about an hour til the park closed (5pm) so back to see the elephants one more time (they were on the way out) and wandered thru the 'domestic' animal area and went in with the goats. We left just around closing, so what we had thought would be a 4-5 hour trip ended up being 6 hours - but we got our money's worth!
So then we had to find our hotel. We'd had an airbnb booked, but she double booked and we had to find a hotel for the first night. With the GPS, it wasn't hard to find, and once we dumped our bags, the front desk told us there was a shopping mall about a 15 min walk away. So since it was too late really to go into town (about 6:30), we decided to walk to the mall and have some supper and do a little window shopping. I still can't get over some of the malls in Cali with the open skylights and open air eating courts - I guess I'm just used to rain and snow. It was a more upscale mall with lots of pricey shops, so after eating, we wandered for a bit then back to the hotel to rest up for our busy day at Sea World the next day (and to do some laundry)!