This was our last day in San Diego, and we spent most of it at the famous San Diego zoo. The weather was cool and everything was wet from yesterday's rain, but thankfully, it wasn't raining!
Since the zoo didn't open until 9, we went to Balboa park early. We'd wanted to see the rose garden nearby, since the sight of roses blooming in December is endlessly exotic to this Minnesotian. But I was even more impressed by the cactus garden right near it. I'd never seen such a display in my life, understandably since cacti have to be sheltered where I live, while San Diego is a desert region.
As for the zoo itself, words fall short. It was far too huge to see it all in one day--we rushed from place to place from 9 to after 4 (including a bus tour and sky ride and show) and we certainly missed a lot. And that was just the animals--the diversity of plants in that place from all over the world deserve a couple days of scrutiny in themselves!
So I'll just stick with unforgettable highlights. The San Diego zoo is one of only a few in the U.S. to have Panda bears, so watching the little one play with his mom was definitely a highlight of the visit.
The Minnesota zoo had a pair of koalas for a time, but every time I visited, they were sleeping. The San Diego zoo has about 18 of them--so probability dictates at least one or two will be awake at any given time...and that the mom and baby were awake when we dropped by was a special blessing.
I'd never seen a Red River Hog before, I'll certainly never forget them now. And there was Okapi too, which made me think of paantha. (Alas, he would not turn around.)
The Southern Ground-hornbill at the show had an uncontrollable drive to kill plastic snakes...and I took far too many photos of the drop-dead gorgeous Clouded Leopard at that same show.
There was even a wombat (squee) and tree kangaroos (more squee). Lots of birds as well (like the Andean Condor), though by the time we found our way to the aviaries, it was after 3:30 and the lowering sun made it too dim for good photos.
The zoo certainly looks like fun! I'm not surprised about the koalas, however--they do seem to spend an inordinate amount of time sleeping. The Clouded Leopard was gorgeous!
Nice to hear that you had such a wonderful time. Any plans for a return visit?
Yes, koalas and lemurs are hard to catch awake! Photos don't do the Clouded Leopard justice--I can see why the poor things are so endangered because of their beautiful pelts.
If we did go back, it wouldn't be anytime soon. So many other places to see, after all! I know the Grand Canyon and Seattle are on my mom's mental list, and I'm sure there's much more where that comes from! ;) More likely to return to the areas north of Santa Barbara that we visited in the last two days, as they're not as far/expensive to get to.
Glad I haven't drowned you with all this verbiage, yet. =)