Tuesday we visited the San Diego Zoo. We knew it was going to be big so we set aside the whole day for it. We got there just before it opened which was nice because there wasn't much of a line. It was already starting to get warm so we knew it was going to be a hot day! Luckily the night before we saw a pamphlet that got us $5 off per ticket, we'd take any discount we could get because those tickets were expensive! We were hoping to ride the bus around the park first thing, but when we saw the line we decided to come back and do the 30 minute bus tour later.
First animal visit was the flamigos
We started off along the monkey trail, these were fun.
Made our way in and through a couple of aviaries
At some point we switched trails and started toward the hippo. We passed the Tiger... which I'm glad I took this photo, we were thinking we'd get a better view from the other side but didn't end up over there after all.
Once we got to the Hippo habitat there was no hippo in sight :-( We did hear them working on the large tank and later learned that the hippo was not on display for a few days while they fixed their pool. So sad because we were really looking forward to seeing him since we don't have one of these at either of our zoos. Isaac did get to sit on the bronze hippo statue.
We watched some otters at play
Then we saw the Panda. It appeared that normally there was a long line because there was a "from this point: 30 minute wait" sign but we lucked out and had no line at all.
The first panda was sleeping
And the second panda was eating some bamboo and not turning to look at his spectators
But we did get a good view of panda 1 on the way out.
The girls did pretty good in and out of the stroller all day. They of course prefered to walk but when we wanted to actually get somewhere we'd load them up. They were both really fond of the 'owl' handle attached to the stroller. Here they were fighting over it, they actually look happier than they were.
We loaded Emma up for the moving sidewalk escalator
We thought we were getting somewhere by taking the escalator sidewalk up... but turns out we were just going up to go back down through another Aviary! ha! The kids liked the birds though so it was fun.
Then we walked up the second largest hill in the park. Seeing a few different kinds of bears and more otters.
At the top of the hill was the Australian Outback and Urban Jungle. It was so fun to see the Koalas! I think they were my favorite.
We learned that the males would not share a 'tree' so they each had their own eucalyptus tree. Where as the women were willing to share so there was a few female Koalas per tree. Mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters. It was also interesting to learn that they eat the eucalyptus which would be poison to any other animal. Koalas have a long intestine system that helps to detoxify the plant making them immune to it's toxicity. However they can't eat more than three pounds of leaves in a day or they get indigestion.
I was also excited to see the Rhino... this happens to be a no horned rhino
This was the Urban Jungle with giraffes, a zebra, kangaroo, hogs, cheetahs, more flamingos.
Mary went for a ride on my back where she ALMOST took a snooze but not quite
Then we took a lengthy walk along a fence where they were doing some renovating and additions to be opened in 2017.
Here is the California Condor, which is the largest flying bird in North America. Kyle got to see it spread it's wings out.
We also got to see some camels up close and personal
The Secretary bird was pretty cool. Looks like an eagle with long thin legs.
Next was the elephants. Another fun animal we were looking forward to since we don't have them in Minnesota.
It was fun to learn about the oldest elephant there, who's name was Mary. She is in the middle here in this picture facing to the right.
Isaac's favorite animal is the Lion, so he says this was his favorite part. However we didn't really get a great view of them and I was surprised how small their habitat was. :-(
Then we walked down the largest hill in the park to see the Polar bear exhibit. Here's Isaac playing around in the helicopter they had there.
Then we walked back UP the largest hill in the park to get back to the SkyFari to take it back to the entrance of the park. We had to fold up the stroller and take two separate skycars. My mom did great seeing how she is afraid of heights. She had her eyes closed at first but then was able to open them and look around after we reached the top and coasted along.
We got some nice views of Balboa park from overhead. This is the California Tower which is now home to the San Diego Museum of Man.
Here's Kyle (and Mary) in the skycart behind us
Once we landed we stopped at the nearest place for lunch. After lunch we walked through the reptiles and 'outpost' area
Saw this amazing hummingbird
Mom was fascinated with these trees, how they had random blooms but mostly looked bare. Looked it up and they are called Coral Trees.
We finally made it to the bus tour.
Isaac was so cute cuddling up to Emma,
And Mary sat in my lap
Emma took a minor nap (maybe 8 minutes) on the bus tour
We did get another view of the tiger on the bus tour, not much better though.
The cool thing about the bus tour and why it would have been best to take it at the beginning of our visit (which everyone else had the same idea since there was a line in the morning) was that it gave you an overview of the zoo. And a nice narration along with it.
We got a better look at the lion who was sun bathing at this point
Mary finally settled down once I restrained her in my lap. She was a bucking bull rolling all over
We got a great view of the male elephant and his crazy long tusks! He is the only male they had and he is also the biggest animal in the zoo. He would blow his food all over so they took old fire hydrant hoses and wrapped them in and out of the food trough to make it harder for him to get the food and actually eat it at a better speed.
We took a drive through the Urban Jungle getting some more quick views.
The baby giraffe was so cute
The Rhino was up and walking around at this point
After the bus tour we had seen pretty much the entire park so we headed out to the car. We took a quick drive around Balboa park waiting for Josh to get off work. Then we drove down Kettner Blvd and India St getting a view of Little Italy.
Then we stopped at a park new Josh's place to meet him after work. Emma was sleeping in the car but Isaac and Mary got to enjoy the swings.
From there Josh drove us east a little ways to a really good Italian restaurant in an area called South Park. We discovered a 'Target Express' across the street where we picked up some diapers then headed back downtown to drop off Josh and Mom. She stayed with him that night since she needed to be at the airport in the morning.