Tuesday, March 25, 2008

great California odyssey: Zoo day

The San Diego zoo is not as large as I expected it to be.

It's a beautiful zoo, very well laid out with winding pathways through a jungle-like setting, but it's not as big as everybody says it is. In fact I'm pretty confident in saying that the Calgary zoo is larger in terms of being more spread out. You cannot see the entire Calgary zoo in one day, you can certainly see the San Diego zoo in one day. (Naturally I do not include the Wild Animal Park in this for, although it is part of the San Diego zoo, it's not even in San Diego).

But there is a lot to see - pandas, hippos (and hippos pooing which you can view from a premium underwater vantage!), koalas, gorillas, meerkats, polar bears, zebras. And especially the llama-like creature which we were warned would spit right in your eye. It stood right at the edge of the enclosure, you could almost reach out and touch it, except that it was salivating like mad, working up a fine gob to hit you right in the face. I kept waiting for it to nail somebody, but the damn thing was too sly.

The 35 minute sightseeing tour on the double decker bus was well worth it. The guide was clever and entertaining and informative, and we knew after the tour how we wanted to plan the rest of our day.

We had enough time and energy left at the end of our zoo outing to walk over to the Natural History Museum to see the A Day in Pompeii exhibition. It was a fairly short exhibition, but very striking. The plaster body casts on display of people and animals who were asphyxiated and preserved in the rapidly accumulating layer of hot ash were particularly moving. The dog especially, twisted like a pretzel as it tried to scramble to stay on top of the layers of debris until it strangled on its leash was heartbreaking.

We all moved very quietly and reverently through this exhibit. I wish we had more time to see all the museums in Balboa Park, but I guess we shall just have to come back again sometime.

Tomorrow we fly to San Francisco. I have been looking forward to this part of the trip for a long time. I have always wanted to visit San Francisco, I just never realized that I would love San Diego so much. I miss it already.


Anonymous said...

Lucky you! I'm glad you are having a fantastic time.

Tanya Espanya said...

I'm so glad you're enjoying SD. We have friends there, and have now visited a few times, and really like it. We're going back in April, I wish we had coordinated this better, I blame you...grrr...

Your head is going to pop off in SF, you're going to love it so much!


Allison said...

Safe travels to San Fran, as Tanya says, you're gonna love it! I can't wait to see pictures from all your adventures. :)

dguzman said...

Wow, glad you're having a good time out in Cali. I've heard great things about SF -- maybe you could meet up with Matty Boy of Lotsa 'Splainin there!

BeckEye said...

I demand panda pictures!!

John Mutford said...

We went to the San Diego zoo last March or April. The kids adored it, and I agree it feels smaller than I imagined. The animals were all great of course, but I enjoyed the SkyRides as much as any of it. The Polar Bear exhibit at SeaWorld was better done, IMHO.

668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

i also think you will love san francisco.

justacoolcat said...

I've never been to San Diego, but it's always been at the top of my list for places to move.

Too bad the Wifey has already lived there and isn't ready to go back.


I've never been a big zoo fan (or little zoo fan for that matter.) But I have heard good things about the San Diego zoo. Surprised it isn't as big as Calgary's for one! Glad that some of the animals have a means to get back at the annoying guests!

Can't wait to hear about San Fran, we're going there this year too!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It's been such a great trip so far, Leazwell - well worth it!

It's my fault, Tanya, I should have gotten them to move the dates of spring break. But I will warn the town that you are coming.

We have taken so many pics that we had to buy something to dump our photos, Al, as naturally we forgot to bring any cables.

We DO get to have a blogger meetup, Dguzman, we are meeting Will for dinner tonight! Yay!

Panda pictures are forthcoming, Beckeye. We actually got to see them and were told it is quite rare to be able to do so. We are awesome tourists.

We didn't get to Sea World, John, having bad memories of Marineland in Niagra Falls, but perhaps we should have. The skyfari was pretty cool.

I have a feeling that we will, 668. Much exploring to be done today.

You must work on Wifey to bring you to San Diego, JustA. It's a fabulous place, truly.

I shall take good San Francisco notes for you, Blondie, (and for myself as well).
That llama-like spitting creature took shit from nobody. I kept hoping it was going to huck a loogie at the guy in the beer hat, but sadly, no.

Toccata said...

Oh my that exhibit seems like it would be a very difficult but moving experience.

Hippos pooing!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It was a very moving and humbling exhibit, Toccata, sort of the exact opposite of hippos pooing.