Sunday, June 15, 2014

Southern California Trip - Third Day in San Diego

What would a trip to San Diego be without a visit to the world famous San Diego Zoo?  Especially if one of the tourists had never been and the other one had been for 30 years?  Not much.  So Friday saw us head for the zoo and we stayed from 9:30 until 6:00.  What a day!

We began by listening to a concert by three New Guinea Singing Dogs.  We had just entered and I got this nice picture but didn't get the video cranked up in time.  However, you can click here to listen to a short YouTube video of a chorus.

We spent the day walking, riding a narrated tour bus, flying high above the zoo on the gondola, and taking the handy moving sidewalks up steep hills.  We were constantly lost even though we had a map but were entertained no matter where we turned or what we saw.  We even experienced a 4D showing of clips from Ice Age and it was a hoot.  Our first experience of what that 4th D was happened when a character on screen sneezed and we were all sprayed with water and that was only the beginning.

My favorite exhibit 30 years ago was there and it did not fail to entertain:  the aviary that climbs one of the steep canyon sides.  As you go higher you find yourself at eye with birds living, working, and singing at tree top level.

We saw all the classic favorites:  elephants, zebras, lions, tigers, and a hippo.  We happened by the hippo exhibit just as he/she was taking a dip in the pool and then coming over to the underwater window to get up close and personal with some kids.  Well, here, just play the video below.

We also saw the pandas although not the preemie that was delivered Caesarian last month.  We did see the male who sat with his back to all of us which the guide said was not unusual.  I did get a bit of view of the face when we were high above the exhibit on a tour bus.

And of course I couldn't resist taking photos of Marilyn.  I especially like this one with the tower of the Prado in Balboa Park in the distance.  We kept hearing that this zoo is more than a zoo.  It is also a certified botanical garden, an animal conservancy, a breeding facility for endangered species--The California Condor breeding program has brought the population in the wild from less than 20 to over 300--and a world-wide research facility.  You can read more about the zoo by clicking here.  If you really want to see something cool, check out the animal live cams.  Here is the link to the Koala Cam.  Note the grass moving in the live feed but no motion from the star.  Apparently they sleep about 22 hours a day.  All that eucalyptus makes them sleepy.

That evening we had a special time with Paula Fitzgibbons and her husband, Peter, and their three children.  We met at Fletcher Cove Park in Solana Beach about half way between where we were staying and their home in Vista.  Paula was Amy's closest  high school girl friend and they have re-connected through FaceBook and so did I.  In addition to a lovely evening of catching up, we also saw a spectacular sunset as only California can provide.

There are many more photos in the Picasa album which you can view by clicking here.

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