Western Trips

Western Trips

Monday, February 16, 2015

Visit the San Diego Zoo / A Must Stop in San Diego California

If you're looking for the best zoo to visit in the U.S., you've found it in the world famous San Diego Zoo. The zoo is famous for good reason, it's simply fantastic.The San Diego Zoo lives up to it's reputation.What's there not to love.

san diego zoo
San Diego Zoo entrance
Touring the Zoo

When visiting San Diego, a visit to the San Diego Zoo is a must. Located at the world-renowned Balboa Park, just minutes from downtown San Diego, the zoo covers a very large area including several hillsides. The Zoo offers a free bus-tour, covering a good part of the zoo. This tour helps you to plan exactly what exhibits you'd like to see later in more depth.

A zoo visit is a good opportunity to stroll around with the family. A trip to the San Diego Zoo can be for several hours or for a full day. Walking around can easily consume one day. In fact, you can spend days at this amazing zoo. A good thing to note is that parking is free. Visiting the zoo is a learning experience. During our visit we saw several children of young school age on outings.

 The guided bus tours are really informative and entertaining as each driver/tour guide has his or her own unique tales to tell about the animals as well as the history and features of the park, from conservation to research. In addition to the free bus tours, included with you ticket is a free aerial tram. This is a good way to have a birdseye view of the entire zoo. In addition, the San Diego Zoo has beautiful landscaping and a large variety of plants.

zoo exhibits san diego
The Exhibits

One would likely say that the main exhibits at the San Diego Zoo are the pandas, tigers and bears. According to the San Diego Zoo they have three giant pandas, including Xiao Liwu, born on July 2012. The pandas have large exhibit areas with trees, climbing structures, and air-conditioned bedrooms.

Two other animals we highlighted here are the monkey and the hippopotamus. The monkey shown in the photo left uses the rock seen here to crush the nut shells for eating. The rock is picked up with both hands and smashed against the nut shell.

The hippopotamus shown below naturally keeps most of it's body underwater to keep their bodies cool and only has it's nose and eyes above water for seeing and breathing.

The animals are essentially roaming free and are exhibited in their natural  habitat. Try this fun website to find your favorite animals at the San Diego Zoo.....http://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/animals

zoo giraffe photos
Giraffes, All zoos have to have these!
You'll want to visit the botanical gardens located at the zoo. San Diego's mild Mediterranean climate makes it possible to grow more different kinds of plants than almost anywhere else in the United States. There are over 1,900 acres at the Zoo and Safari Park. The Zoo and Park also act as "rescue centers" for rare and endangered plants.

There are several activities at the zoo which can be a lot of fun but do cost extra from your general admission ticket. These include the Jungle Ropes Safari, the Behind-The-Scenes Safari, the Caravan Safari and the Flightline Safari just to name a few. Check out the following site for more detailed information on these.....http://sdzsafaripark.org/view-all-safaris

san diego zoo animals
Hippos enjoying the cool water
Important Tips for Your Visit

1. Take along  walking shoes. This zoo is large. It's 100 acres and there's plenty to see. Also bring your shades and good sunscreen.
2. Obtain a zoo map and plan out your must see animals. For many people this could be the pandas, elephants, tigers, lions, polar bears, gorillas and monkeys. It's difficult to reach everything in one day.
3. Take the bus tour - It's a much easier way for you to get a taste of everything without having to walk the entire zoo.
4. When climbing aboard the bus tour, the best seats are on the right side of the vehicle towards the front.
5. If you're going with a group, obtain a curator pass because it comes with a free companion plus 4 one day guest passes.

You may also enjoy the Western Trips articles on the links below..... 

California Hiking Adventure at Joshua Tree National Park 

Visit an Old California School House in Indio

San Diego's Popular Gaslamp Quarter 

Things to See and Do in La Jolla California

The San Diego Zoo is a must see when visiting this city. The Zoo is on the northern end of Balboa Park. Balboa Park also is home to the San Diego Automobile Museum, the San Diego Air and Space Museum plus several other gear venues. Balboa Park features a free shuttle that will take you to the museums mentioned above, to parking areas and the Visitors Information Center which is adjacent to a very good restaurant.

(Article and photos copyright Western Trips)

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