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Leaving aside the driving/road layout (ugh!) my mom and I had a…

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Leaving aside the driving/road layout (ugh!) my mom and I had a fantastic time in San Diego between Wednesday and Saturday.

     On Wednesday we walked around in Balboa Park, then got over to a beach at La Jolla and enjoyed the sunset (got to see seals at Childrens Beach as well).

     Thursday was our first visit to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and it was a highlight for both of us. Wonderful to see wildlife with so much area to roam, and to hear about their successes at breeding endangered species to preserve the populations or restore them to the wild. They discovered that white rhinos breed when a female has female companions, and had a critical role in saving the California Condor--they've reintroduced over 100 to the wild. A treat to see five of them very active in a large enclosure (these condors are too comfortable with humans to be set free, but the chicks in the breeding program never see people). Their bird show was amazing--I'd never seen a secretary bird in the flesh before, and I can never get enough of Andean Condors. Sure hope I can come back some year--I nearly forgot to mention getting to hand-feed a young Indian rhino and a pair of hungry giraffes!

     On Friday we made our second visit to the San Diego zoo (first was in 2008), and it was a lot of fun as well. So much to see, the pandas were active the second time we stopped by, but the highlight for me was the pangolin demonstration of a tree pangolin that was rescued from illegal import (the others all died). It was amazing to hear of the immense efforts the keeper took to save him, and get to learn more about them. Fortunately for my wallet, pangolins are to obscure to be represented in the zoo stores. ;)

     Saturday had worse weather, so we spent part of the morning in Old Town San Diego (neat to see an original stagecoach and read about the history; lots of fun shops as well). Then we headed over to Coronado, where we got to see a neat sandcastle, watch people ice-skating by the palm trees at the famous hotel, do more shopping, and even get drenched by some rare San Diego rainfall. Lots of fun shops to check out in that area as well.
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