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  1. #1

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    T&T take on San Diego Zoo 8-28 (sorry I'm late)

    I should probably toss this out there...

    My wife and I both have spring birthdays. Usually once a year we travel from LA to San Diego (about 2.5hrs) and go to the zoo. We're a big family. This year before our yearly trip I crunched the numbers... 2 adults, 3 kids... for a small amount more we could get AP's and go more then once. So we jumped at the chance. We've been back about 6 or 7 times this year (the baby was born in July). We're already saving to renew next year.

    There has been a lot of talk about the Wild Animal Park's name change. WAP was included in our APs. It wasn't something we asked for, or added on, it was just part of the package so to speak. We could have upgraded our membership and received free parking at WAP, but we didn't, and don't go enough to justify it. Because of our AP's the "Journey into Africa" tram is free for us, if that wasn't included I wouldn't even bother going. I have issues with paying to get in to WAP then paying again to take the tram to see the animals we paid to get in to see. We bought the AP's for the SD Zoo and we primarily use them for it. The following is a collection of pictures. They're organized to some degree but I didn't note too much.


    "funny lizard"... the 3 year old wins the "best tagline of the day" award. This exhibit is a "look down" style exhibit. The main difference being it uses a lot of glass so kids can see "through" rather then trying to climb and see "over".


    This is the "new" Galapogos Tortise exhibit. It is a small retaining wall and then a unique railing system that allows smaller kids to easily see these gentle giants.


    He's almost 8 and she's about to turn 3. As you can clearly see, she can see them without assistance. She was speechless. Her 3 year old mind didn't know what to think of those "really big turtles". The old exhibit utilized the rockwork you see in the background. The "rocks" were roughly 4ft high, and I would have to either hold the kids up or have them stand in the stroller just to see the animals. This new design allows most small children to walk up, and see the animals without any parental assistance.


    While I "could" have managed a shot like this before, it would have been a lot more difficult to do.


    He's smiling!


    This is just a cool shot!


    My oldest along with another daughter (almost 5). They can clearly see the Komodo dragon without any help from dear old Dad.


    I thought this was an amazing shot as well. Special thanks to the SD Zoo... in LA you'd have to be on your belly to get a shot like this!


    Here are the older 3 looking into the python exhibit. The window ledges are roughly 2ft off the ground. I just missed the shot of all 4 (the 3 year old went running back to Mom on that side).

    My wife and I LOVE San Diego Zoo because of it's exhibit design and philosophy towards small children. You only need to walk through the reptile house to experience exactly what I am referring to. Each exhibit has large windows, and low ledges. Our 3 year old can walk up without any assistance and see the exhibit. As a parent, that right there is the reason I willingly drive from LA to go to the San Diego Zoo.

    LA has a Zoo, personally I think it is an embarrassment. For my children to see an animal at the LA Zoo I have to perfect my "Chinese acrobatic balancing skills of instability". I somehow have to sum up the strength and willpower to hold each one up at each exhibit. By the end of the day I feel like I've been at the gym. Considering that I have no issues driving to the SD Zoo instead of "roughing it" at the LA Zoo... I don't have to pick my kids up each time, they can see the animals on their level, and exhibits are designed and re-designed with them in mind. Part of the philosophy being that if the kids can see it then the adults will easily see and appreciate the same exhibit.

    For anyone wondering... I've sent a "thank you" email to the SD Zoo on many occasions. I've also sent "constructive criticism" to the LA Zoo along with side by side comparison photos. You can't simply assume "they know" and hope changes are made.
    Last edited by techskip; 09-08-2010 at 06:28 AM.
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  2. #2

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    Re: T&T take on San Diego Zoo 8-28 (sorry I'm late)


    The furry grey things are "baby" flamingos. I was hoping to see the eggs hatch but we never made it back in time.. so I only get to see the older hatchlings.


    If I wasn't paying attention I'd be a meal. It looks a LOT like a tree branch.


    This is the famous hippo exhibit. It's a bad shot of the hippos but it shows off the best part of the exhibit. The girl on the left is our 6.5 year old who gets to see a "whole big hippo under the water". By the way that's 2 hippos, not a hippo and a rock!


    Standard required tourist shot! We didn't include baby because he was asleep.

    The Chinese Government is VERY strict on the requirements of any Zoo wishing to display and/or breed pandas. Currently there are only 4 zoos in the whole US that have met this criteria. It is a badge of honor to say a zoo has a panda on display. The ability to breed pandas is an even higher mark. SD Zoo is KNOWN as a specialist in panda breeding. This is a mother with her one year old cub.









    The docent said it was uncommon for the little one to be so active in the day like this. He played, climbed, swam. I eventually set the camera down because it was a bad angle and easier to just enjoy the moment.


    He looked up, so I snapped a shot, then he fell back asleep.
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  3. #3

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    Re: T&T take on San Diego Zoo 8-28 (sorry I'm late)

    I don't really like the new Elephant Odessy. I feel it is a lot of room devoted to only a handful of animals. The "fake tar pits" are almost useless. However the kids LOVED the touch table.


    That is the "paw size" of the Ice Age bears...which would tower over current Polar Bears.


    Bear skull


    Saber Tooth Cat skull.

    The kids enjoyed this so much that I'm now thinking of a trip to La Brea Tar Pits and LA Natural History Museum in the future.


    Playing beneath the mastodon.


    Jaguar walking back and forth near the glass. The kids LOVED seeing this beautiful cat up close.


    Face to face with a jaguar (sorry for the blur).

    I realize that Elephants require a substantial amount of space BUT I hate the new exhibit layout. It's substantially bigger then the old one (good thing) but pales in comparison to the layout of WAP's Elephant enclosure... oddly one of the only times where I'd say WAP is a "better" experience.


    This is the only "usable" shot I took and it wasn't in the main enclosure. It was farther up the path. The main enclosure is a vast pool, and then another 20 ft to anything with a trunk. I have seen the elephants use the pool but if they're not in it then it's a waste of space... really BAD layout to be honest.
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  4. #4

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    Re: T&T take on San Diego Zoo 8-28 (sorry I'm late)


    Rock Wallaby... he looked cool so I snapped a shot before he went into hiding.


    Sun Bears... two of them.. one at the top another at the bottom... This was my "best". They were walking around and playing a LOT. We couldn't believe how "lucky" we were to see something like this.


    Sorry for the blur, I had a 3 year old tugging on me. But again the bear is out!

    I've said it before but if you are at the SD Zoo look at the map. Weekends they allow the public to feed giraffes between noon and 1pm. Because of extended hours they had a second feeding that day between 5pm and 6pm (summer hours only).


    I spent a bit more then my wife realized, but each kid got to feed them a couple times! Biscuits are $5 for 3 and all proceeds go to an animal program (something about helping Zebras). It's a good cause, you get a unique experience, so as far as I am concerned it's a win/win. THIS IS MY WEAKNESS... I've done it every time we've gone down!


    They will nuzzle you... they did this to me and the 3 year old! Obviously they are looking for food but they allow you to pet them.


    pure excitement.


    As I said Rhinos are now in the old Elephant exhibit. This allows you to see these amazing tanks from 2 sides. They also have the "Backstage" tour entrance at the back for anyone who pays to take that tour (part of the tour is feeding the rhinos).


    Talk about ""connecting"... I was about 5ft away when this happened. It looked like they were jockeying for position near the gate (where they are fed by the tour).


    Part of the Summer Festival included street performances. This was an amazing show combining strength and flexibility. A 3rd member of the team did "tricks" on the hoop. Another show incorporated a trampoline. We didn't really watch it because we were busy with the giraffes.

    For anyone going I'd recommend a comfortable pair of walking shoes. If you don't have a stroller then I'd say use the express bus system (on the website). The best "deal" in the park is the souvenir sports bottle with an animal topper.Currently it's $11, but if you keep your receipt then it's free refills all day. We got our $11 worth.

    So that was the trip. Reptilemania is next weekend at SD Zoo... from Thursday to Sunday. I don't think we'll make it but for anyone who likes reptiles this may be a fun outing.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


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  5. #5

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    Re: T&T take on San Diego Zoo 8-28 (sorry I'm late)

    Great trip report as always, thanks for posting.

    Personally, I'd rather see a techskip SoCal TR sub-forum than a Knott's one.

  6. #6

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    Re: T&T take on San Diego Zoo 8-28 (sorry I'm late)

    I was trying to find the meaning of "WAP." Otherwise, a great report, as to be expected!

    Thanks.

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  7. #7

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    Re: T&T take on San Diego Zoo 8-28 (sorry I'm late)

    Awesome animal and super-cute kid pics. Can practically smell that zoo from here!

  8. #8

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    Re: T&T take on San Diego Zoo 8-28 (sorry I'm late)

    Quote Originally Posted by RooBear View Post
    I was trying to find the meaning of "WAP." Otherwise, a great report, as to be expected!

    Thanks.

    Peace,
    Roo
    San Diego's Wild Animal Park... they recently changed the name to San Diego Safari Park. Along with the name change, both logos changed.

    A lot of locals are upset because the name had a lot of history and the Zoo Society didn't poll the public or ask the local community. Personally the name change for me is simply cosmetic, the real issues I perceive have thus far not been addressed. I am one of the few you would meet who would rather have a discounted AP without WAP on it (or Safari Park if you prefer).
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  9. #9

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    Re: T&T take on San Diego Zoo 8-28 (sorry I'm late)

    As a fellow Zoological member who loves Wild Animal Park (more than the Zoo) I'm wondering what the WAP hating is about. With such wide open space for the animals to roam, when I go to the Zoo I feel sad they have such small enclosures.

    Definitely different experiences, and many different animals.

    I guess your preference to have a pass without WAP would be like mine to have a Disneyland pass without DCA, LOL.

  10. #10

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    Re: T&T take on San Diego Zoo 8-28 (sorry I'm late)

    Quote Originally Posted by shagadelic View Post
    As a fellow Zoological member who loves Wild Animal Park (more than the Zoo) I'm wondering what the WAP hating is about. With such wide open space for the animals to roam, when I go to the Zoo I feel sad they have such small enclosures.

    Definitely different experiences, and many different animals.

    I guess your preference to have a pass without WAP would be like mine to have a Disneyland pass without DCA, LOL.
    Personally I love both WAP and SD Zoo. The main difference is the age of my kids. My oldest is 8, youngest is 3 (not counting baby which can't really see much right now). It is far easier for my kids to see the various animals in the SD Zoo then it is for them to see a lot of the animals in WAP... Zoo you are much closer... WAP I have to somehow point out a semi-distant spec while bumping along on a noisy tram. Personally I appreciate either experience because my view isn't hindered... but when you include the entire family the opinion is overwhelmingly SD Zoo.

    The refurb'd Galapagos exhibit fully opens starting Thursday for Reptilemania. I just got confirmation that they built a "contact zone" so that the public can feed the Galapagos tortises when a keeper is present. It opens this weekend for Reptilemania but will remain open year round... providing a similar experience to the giraffe feeding.

    I do not know if there is a price for the feed... Reptilemaina also had information about feeding the outdoor iguanas... so this weekend may be a good time to go.
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  11. #11

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    Re: T&T take on San Diego Zoo 8-28 (sorry I'm late)

    Quote Originally Posted by techskip View Post
    San Diego's Wild Animal Park... they recently changed the name to San Diego Safari Park. Along with the name change, both logos changed.

    A lot of locals are upset because the name had a lot of history and the Zoo Society didn't poll the public or ask the local community. Personally the name change for me is simply cosmetic, the real issues I perceive have thus far not been addressed. I am one of the few you would meet who would rather have a discounted AP without WAP on it (or Safari Park if you prefer).
    Thanks!

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  12. #12

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    Re: T&T take on San Diego Zoo 8-28 (sorry I'm late)

    Quote Originally Posted by techskip View Post

    The docent said it was uncommon for the little one to be so active in the day like this. He played, climbed, swam. I eventually set the camera down because it was a bad angle and easier to just enjoy the moment.
    We were there a few days prior to you and the little guy (Panda) was up and about playing with Mom just like in your pictures! You could tell he wanted to play roughhouse and Mom was tired! lol SO cute! Glad you had a good time
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    Re: T&T take on San Diego Zoo 8-28 (sorry I'm late)

    Quote Originally Posted by techskip View Post
    Personally I love both WAP and SD Zoo. The main difference is the age of my kids. My oldest is 8, youngest is 3 (not counting baby which can't really see much right now). It is far easier for my kids to see the various animals in the SD Zoo then it is for them to see a lot of the animals in WAP... Zoo you are much closer... WAP I have to somehow point out a semi-distant spec while bumping along on a noisy tram. Personally I appreciate either experience because my view isn't hindered... but when you include the entire family the opinion is overwhelmingly SD Zoo.

    The refurb'd Galapagos exhibit fully opens starting Thursday for Reptilemania. I just got confirmation that they built a "contact zone" so that the public can feed the Galapagos tortises when a keeper is present. It opens this weekend for Reptilemania but will remain open year round... providing a similar experience to the giraffe feeding.

    I do not know if there is a price for the feed... Reptilemaina also had information about feeding the outdoor iguanas... so this weekend may be a good time to go.

    Nice to hear they are bringing back an area where you can have contact with the tortoises, back up until the late 90's the original enclosure only had the 3 foot wall or so so it was easy to touch them, then they put up those protective shield things, so good see they have decided to put in a contact zone.

    Despite living 5 miles away, I have not been to the zoo is 8 years now.

  14. #14

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    Re: T&T take on San Diego Zoo 8-28 (sorry I'm late)

    Complete screw-up on my part... Reptilemania is next weekend (9/18/10)... not sure why I thought it was this weekend. We did go down thinking it was this weekend. I was disappointed that it wasn't, and mad at myself for messing up the dates, but we had a great time. I also had a chance to see the Galapagos contact zone. It brings you extremely close to these gentle giants. The public's opportunity to feed the tortoises will start on 9/18 and continue on weekends throughout the year.
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