Sunday, July 10, 2011

San Diego Night Zoo

This afternoon I went with my daughter and family, as they took two of my East Coast grandchildren to the San Diego Night Zoo. Our East Coast visitors are 14 years old.

We arrived around 3pm and headed for the "Urban Jungle." On the way, we visited the tropical birds including the Laughing Kookaburra, which my four-year old grandson can imitate perfectly and the peaceful koalas. This time there were nine koalas sitting, sleeping or eating on branches. The spectators are usually very quiet. It's almost like they are taking on the aura of this exhibit.

Finally, we reached the giraffes and crossed the street to see two rhinos cavorting. We were just in time to watch an employee named Heidi feeding Murphy (a red river hog). As we circled around past the rhinos, we found them playing roughly with each other. It was quite a spectacle to see these large, heavy animals actually pushing each other back and forth over a length of 30 or 40 feet. After that we stopped to see one of the Night Zoo acts, Jasmine and Jade Jumpers, performing there. After enjoying their acrobatic antics, we left to find a place to eat supper.

My daughter suggested the Sabertooth Grill at Elephant Odyssey. Everyone enjoyed their choice of dishes....macaroni and cheese for the four year old, a chili bowl, a hamburger with onion rings for the teens, chicken wrap and chicken rice plates for the adults while watching the elephants. As we were eating, my daughter told us she spotted Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna on a VIP tour as we were watching Heidi feed Murphy, the red river hog in the Urban Jungle. Not that I'm a celebrity hound, but it would have been nice if she told us at the time. I remember standing outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles with my Cardiff daughter to see the Wiggles. My daughter said, "Don't look now but there is an actor standing over there, but I can't remember his name." I immediately looked in that direction. She said, "You looked. I told you not to look." It was just a natural response. I guess that at the zoo today, my San Diego daughter decided that Harry, Lisa and the children deserved their privacy. Last year, I took my San Diego granddaughter to the zoo on the day the new Polar Bear Exhibit opened. That night the TV Newscaster related that Tori Spelling was at the exact same place that afternoon. I didn't see her, but most likely wouldn't have recognized her anyway. I'm sure many famous people visit the zoo without being noticed. Well, on another subject, with full stomachs, we ventured over to the elephants.

Then, back to the entrance to take the much anticipated tour bus, the last one of the day. We all sat on the upper level and had a great forty-minute ride. In some instances, being on the upper level prevents you from seeing some animals. However, I consider it fun anyway.

At 8pm, we saw the Front Street Finale. There is a short parade which includes the spectators. We returned to an act the grandchildren had seen last week. The young performers from China were very talented. We tried to congratulate and speak with them until we realized, as they nodded and smiled, that they most likely didn't speak English. Then, on to the Skyfari aerial tram, so that our guests could see the whole park.

Just as we were ready to go home, my teenage granddaughter asked where the iguanas were. As we were near the reptile house, in our entourage went. That is, except me. I don't go into reptile houses. They came out a short while later, satisfied with what they saw. They all spoke about a large ancient turtle.

Our six hours at the zoo seemed to fly by. My teenage East Coast grandchildren have been to the Bronx Zoo in New York a number of times. I think they really enjoyed their day at the San Diego Zoo.

To my Southern California friends, you would really enjoy having a zoo membership. It enables you to visit for two or three hours anytime you want. The zoo map details which trails are easy and which are steep. You can choose to see a part of the park at your leisure so you don't miss anything. That's how our family does it.

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