The birding people have web sites that list all the great places to see ducks in San Diego but are missing this group. If you were a duck trying to winter-over it seems obvious to stay were food comes to you on a regular basis. As spring approaches the ducks seem to have other ideas about where to be, probably Seattle or Anchorage or somewhere like that, but they leave San Diego. See you new winter!
Fish share the hippo exhibit at the “heart of the zoo”. My wife said “Did you just invent that name ‘heart-of-the-zoo’ for your blog? “No, it really is called that.” Anyway, the fish are down low so the kids can see them. My hippo picture is terrible but I wanted to show you the fish and the hippo really is the point of the exhibit. I’ll try harder for a better picture. (Note to zoo staff: clean the glass for my next trip on April 4th, thank you.)
Many people like to compare gorillas with humans, our closest relative. They can stand upright but prefer to walk using their hands as well as their legs. Our arms are much shorter. Do they have a sense of humor? Watching them at the zoo I would say no. But I have no doubt there is serious intelligence and much thinking going on.
Spreckels Organ Pavilion is a favorite free offering for everyone on Sunday afternoons. The organ was donated by the Spreckels brothers, John D. and Adolph, and they did not hold back. It is one of the largest outdoor organs in the world, so large it makes Jabba the Hutt look like a lap puppy.
College Avenue splits the campus with a suspension bridge to make the crossing easier.
Catch the San Diego City Tour at Old Town for both a great description of our city and transportation between stops, hop on hop off.
We installed a new retaining wall and planter box next to the driveway several months ago. Living in a desert, we then picked some plants that were a little tolerate of drought. I had never noticed this beautiful plant before we bought it. Now I see then everywhere around the city. The hummingbirds just love it.
Can you think of any other animals that are black and white? Some answers below the next picture.
Please leave a comment if you can think of any. Some of these may have come to mind: the Bali mynah, zebras – of course, the Angolan colobus monkeys, black and white ruffed lemurs, Malayan tapirs, many penguin species, the Amazon milky tree frog, the Boelen’s python and some California king snakes. Did I miss any….? Oh, perhaps the most obvious, the panda, our pride and joy at the zoo.
The views are terrific from the sky bucket ride at the San Diego Zoo. And the best part for members, it’s “free”, just show your card and jump on.
The treehouse structure holds Alberts Restaurant, a real treat in the heart of the zoo.
We have a new Sloth bear. His name is Ken. The “sloth” comes from the claws and teeth, not being lazy. They do sometimes hang upside down in the trees just for the fun of it.
The botanical collection at the San Diego Zoo is huge and would cost more to replace than the animals. Pick up a map just inside the entrance showing the names of all the palm and cycad varieties. The first picture above shows a favorite of Chris, my new found friend at the zoo. Chris is a volunteer with the education department who helps with the “Sunrise Surprise Strolls”. Last month she showed me a giant exotic palm and told me all about it. On Saturday I ask which was her favorite. She said the one near the Children’s Zoo entrance (first picture). I still learning names so need help with names for those pictured. Leave a comment and let me know. I’ll guess the last picture is a phoenix dactylifera, ‘date palm’.
Many people around our country and throughout the world probably find it humorous that we actually have sheep in the San Diego Zoo. Yet over half the worlds population lives in a city with not even one sheep in sight. 411 cities around the world have a population of over 1 million. By 2030 over 60 percent of everyone on earth will live in the city. (If this is all TMI then know that I’m venting and still feel guilty about dropping my subscription to Mother Jones.)
I grew up in a small Texas town where kids still belonged to the FFA (Future Farmers of America) and rode the bus into town from their farms. Today for a kid to see and touch a sheep, goat or other farm animal is a real treat.
The koala at the San Diego Zoo spend their time eating and sleeping, have great accomodations and get great affectionate care from the staff. But some of their cousins in Australia were hurt by the recent wildfires. Those guys will be needing some help. (Photo taken March 7, 2009 at the San Diego Zoo.)
The komodo monitor or “dragon” is listed as “vulnerable”, endangered, by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). They were discover by western scientists in 1910. This one at the San Diego Zoo is large (2.5 meters long) and fearsome making it a great favorite for the kids.
San Diego Zoo attracts lots of families. Many families living in San Diego buy an annual membership and enjoy the zoo often, a great time and wonderful bargain. These pictures show some families near the Children’s Zoo entrance. Keepers bring out the miniture horses for a walk in the morning. Get to the zoo when it opens at 9am and take the kids over to that area.
The spotted hyena is also called the “laughing” hyena because of its vocalisations, which resembles the sound of hysterical human laughter. These guys got a bad rap as a scavenger, i.e. lazy. Actually they are powerful hunters happy to run down almost anything to have for a meal.
This pig lives and works at the San Diego Children’s Zoo with Keeper Charmaine helping. It also makes appearances throughout the zoo taking a walk with staff members.
Some pigs have become famous like Miss Piggy, Babe, Wilbur, Porky Pig, Piglet (one of my favorites), the three little pigs and Pumbaa. But let’s face it, pigs don’t sing very well. And American Idol is all about singing… right? (For those in other countries American Idol is a strangely popular TV show where amateur singers perform and, with a little luck, may become famous and rich. In addition to being able to sing, contestants must be human, rules subject to change. I always pick the cute blonde girl and my wife picks the hot rocker dude. Never have we picked the winner. Right now I’m going with contestant 20075, aka ‘Alexis Grace’, odds of 7.5 to 1. I would place a bet on her but recently used all my allowance betting on Astrid Harbord for getting asked by Prince Harry, which I feel is more of an investing really than a bet.)
Charles Darwin on his voyage in the 1830s noticed that each of the 13 Galápagos Islands had a slightly different subspecies of these beautiful turtles. I can’t tell them apart. Way to go Charles!
The gift shop near the zoo exit has a musical combo outside that is worth a look. Inside are some terrific gifts to take home.
Seems like the store staffs around town are really, really helpful with the economy being what it is. But honestly, the zoo staff always wears a big smile and totally willing to help in any way they can. Thank you all, well done!
The first time visitor to San Diego from Australia is checkin out the t-shift for sale just outside the zoo entrance. Lucky for him the spouse came along and advised they best wait. Too true. Seriously, the zoo gift shops have some really good things, totally worth a visit.
The Old Town Trolley tour stops at the San Diego Zoo. You can get off, visit the zoo, catch the trolley and continue your tour. It is one of the best deals in San Diego.
Check out the Lawn Bowling activities at Balboa Park. I talked to Tom Anderson, a very enthusiastic guy representing the the San Diego club. Tom is also a trainer and I think you can get a free lesson. Looks like fun.