3 10 2008

Every once in a while, Laura babysits a couple kids from her class, and last weekend we had a very excited 3-year old girl with us.  We decided to take her with us to the zoo, but not just any zoo; the world-famous San Diego Zoo!

You see it all over their publications, and you’ll hear people refer to it as world-famous, but the question is why is it famous?  Is it because of what Melman said in Madagascar?  “White, sandy beaches; cleverly simulated natural environment; wide-open enclosures. I’m telling you, this could be the San Diego Zoo. Complete with fake rocks.  Wow!  That looks real!”  Well the answer is simply, yes, but there’s so much more to it.

The San Diego Zoo is truly world-famous for its endangered species breeding program, and its huge success with that program.  Actually, it’s the Zoo and the Wild Animal Park together that accomplish that noble task, but when it comes right down to it, what does that mean for us?  That means we get to see some species of animals that are literally extinct in the wild, and we get to see them in a “cleverly simulated natural environment!”

There is so much to tell you about the San Diego Zoo, but it’s better if you just go yourself; I’ll stick to giving you pointers on how to prepare for your visit.

First, get a Zoo membership.  If you think there’s even a remote possibility that you’ll want to go more than once in 12 months, or that you’ll want to check out the Wild Animal Park, too, then it will save you lots of money to get a membership.  Also, having the option to return for free any time you want takes the pressure off of seeing the whole Zoo in a day, which is just exhausting.  So, Zoo membership.  Check!

Next, bring your own food.  You don’t have to hide it or anything; bring the whole picnic basket, they don’t care!  Anything you bring will be less expensive than what they sell at the Zoo, and will probably taste better, too.  Remember, you’re going to the Zoo for the animals, not the cuisine.  One thing to keep in mind, though:  If you’re going to bring a beverage that requires a straw, hide the straw.  They HATE straws at the San Diego Zoo, probably because the wandering peacocks will try to eat them and die, or something like that.  Basically, if you’re going to bring a straw, hide it, and take it out of the park with you when you leave.

Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, and whatever other sun gear you think necessary.  No matter when you go, the Zoo is going to get some sun, and you’re going to be in it for the vast majority of your time there.  Make sure that right next to your sun gear, you have plenty of water, too.

And the final thing you should bring is a bag of stuff you can mess with that’s not food.  Bring that bag of stuff with you to the orangutans (just go straight through the entrance and hang a right at the jungly “cave”), try to get their attention, then set down your bag and make a show of taking something out and using it right next to the glass.  They’ll probably come over and sit right next to you to see what you’re doing.  It’s fun, and they’re so curious!  Just remember not to do that with food because they’ll get jealous or something.  It’s like taunting them instead of playing with them.

So here’s the quick rundown:

Address:  2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA 92112 (not 100% on that zip)

Phone:  619-231-1515


Hours:  Click here.

Cost:  Daily:  $34 adult, $24 child (3-11); Membership:  $71 adult $24 child.

We’ve been Zoo members for the past 2 years, and will probably continue that tradition, so next time you go to the Zoo, look for us and say hi!  See you there!