For the start to my vacation, I flew into San Diego and met up with Elisabeth and her mom. Our first main stop was the San Diego Zoo!
Because the zoo is so incredibly large, we went on a special bus tour once we got there. The bus took us around the zoo for 40 minutes. We saw many animals, including the rhino above, and learned about both the zoo’s history and the animals that live in it. It was a great way to get a quick glimpse of the zoo and to help determine what animals we wanted to see on ground. We sat on the top floor of the double decker bus, which I thought was great because it allowed us to see everything, even if it was looking down.
The day we visited happened to be the first World Giraffe Day. I mention this because five days earlier a new giraffe had been born. Usually, he would not have been out in public but because it was World Giraffe Day, the zoo made an exception and let him out for the day. And so, I got to see a five day old giraffe. You can see him in the picture above, on the right. The giraffe on the left is about 6 months old. They were both so adorable and calm. Giraffes are such beautiful creatures, it’s fun to watch them.
While at the zoo, we were able to catch one of their animal shows. It was a great way to rest our feet and take a quick bite to eat. We saw sea lions, birds, a wolf, an owl, and a few other animals. After the show we got to see this owl up close, isn’t she just gorgeous?
One of my favorite, if not my favorite, parts of that day was getting to see the tortoises. There were at least six of them and my gosh were they breathtaking. The zoo keepers said these tortoises were estimated to be around 100 years old and that scientists think healthy ones can live to be 200. Aren’t those numbers just astounding?! These creatures truly fascinate me. They have a different kind of beauty, I think. I could have stayed with them for much longer but I’m afraid the day had to go on.
As I mentioned yesterday, we saw pandas! This is the first time I have ever seen a panda in person. A zoo keeper explained that California and Arizona are the only two states in the country that have pandas. We saw two pandas that day and they were both very cute.
One of the last places we visited in the zoo was a couple of aviaries. The bird above was in one of them, and all three of us were enchanted by it. I forgot what kind of bird it is, but it has this amazing mustache. It’s whole body just looks so smooth. The grey of the body seems to be perfect, no random dark spots or differing colors.
We ended up spending five hours at the zoo and even then we didn’t see everything. But evening was approaching and we still had to drive to Anaheim so we packed up and made a quick stop to Balboa Park.
This is part of Balboa Park. Balboa Park is a huge chunk of land that houses a botanic garden, museums, and restaurants. The picture above shows the botanic garden in the background. Sadly it had closed right before we arrived so we couldn’t go in, but the outside was gorgeous in itself. We walked around for a while and even saw a couple of giant trees. Then it was time to head off toward Disneyland and all the adventures that awaited us there!