a guest post by Ray (my hubby)
It was a dark and stormy night…actually, that’s the beginning of another story. It was quite a nice day when we first drove through Balboa Park’s tree lined streets. As we approached the San Diego Zoo’s parking lot, there was electricity in the air. More than likely though, that was just the previous night’s dinner making itself known.
Anyway, we all were very excited to meet with one of Christine’s blog buddies – an Aussie, named Tonya…she met us with her two kids and we proceeded through the gates.
The best thing about the zoo is the up close and intimate feel you get with the animals. From the first time we went to the zoo back in 2000, we’ve always loved to first go down the trail toward the Ituri Forest. It gives you a feeling of being in a different place, Africa perhaps. That’s where the gorillas’ and monkeys live. The great thing about the gorillas is that usually one or more of them will sit right next to the glass and stare at you…then they turn their back on you and sit down. Or rush at you screaming and beating their chests. It’s great fun for the little ones.
Afterword, we head down toward the tigers and watch them lazily stare at us from the other side of the glass…it’s a good thing they’re well fed! And then it’s onto my favorite animal, the most dangerous one in Africa, the one that kills the most people every year…no, it’s not the lion display, but the hippos. You can see the dung in the water as you walk up and the hippos are swimming around. One of the keepers told me they have to filter it every day to keep the water clean. I guess one wouldn’t be able to see much otherwise. It’s great to see those big tusks and giant jaws that could crush you in half…
Later we make our way up to the panda exhibit where they tell us to be quiet, but I don’t think the bears really care too much. They just sit and eat bamboo while a zoo person mumbles on the microphone. Too funny.
The kids really love the sky tram. We take it from the front of the park to the back near the polar bear enclosure. The twins ask if they can spit over the side – boys. Anyway, the views are great. Peaking above the trees, some of Balboa Park’s museums that exhibit Spanish style architecture, many of which were built for the 1935 California Pacific Expo, are visible.
Throughout the day, we see the giraffes, elephants and the koala bears, among so many others. I still remember Ethan – when he was about three or so – saying “hoershes” when he saw the gazelles.
Finally, we take the tram around the park to catch everything we missed on foot. And our driver’s narration of the trip is laced with worse humor than mine…but that’s what makes it so great. He’s coping with having to put up with people like us all day long every day, so the least we can do is laugh at his corny lines. He made me laugh.
By 5:30, the kids are done…or is that Christine and me? Anyway, we head out the gate knowing that when we get back to San Diego next time, we’ll definitely visit the zoo again. A trip to San Diego wouldn’t be the same without it.