San Diego Zoo 7-28-14

We had a rare weekday visit the San Diego Zoo last week. Because of work we usually reserve trips for the weekends, but there was a scheduled power outage for maintenance. Since we are self employed, a holiday was declared, and we spent the day together at the zoo. The summer crowds were light and we had no trouble doing and seeing everything we wanted!

We spent a lot of time in the reptile house this visit. We don’t often walk through this exhibit, but we have been doing a turtle unit study and it was a perfect accompaniment.

San Diego Zoo Reptiles

The Komodo Dragons were out and quite active, much to our delight!

San Diego Zoo Komodo Dragons

We also made a point of seeking out some turtles to observe. We watched the Alligator Snapping Turtle for a bit. I didn’t get a really clear picture of him, but I love the effect of my daughters hat reflecting on his head in the glass!

San Diego Zoo Alligator Snapping Turtle

We also really enjoyed the Galapagos Turtles exhibit. They are fascinating to watch, slowly making their way around. We found out this guy is 110 years old and came to the zoo in 1928!

San Diego Zoo Galapagos Turtle

We saw some very cute and fuzzy baby flamingos that had just hatched in June.

San Diego Zoo Baby  Flamingos

And, speaking of cute babies…

San Diego Zoo Baby Giraffe

This very tall baby was also born in June at the zoo.

Of course, our trip wasn’t complete without a stop to see some magnificent big cats. We just happened upon the new mountain lion exhibit. It is open and has plenty of viewing area for many guests. Luckily, the two mountain lions we saw were out and ready to be admired.

San Diego Zoo Mountain Lion

The jaguar was also very active and stayed close in proximity, which was exciting for the kids. Of course, with him being in a darkened cave, behind glass, it didn’t net me the greatest photograph. But I still enjoy what I got and the experience of watching this magnificent animal with my daughter.

San Diego Zoo Jaguars

That brings us to our stately and beautiful M’Bari. I know I’ve posted about him many times, and most visits we see him sleeping in the shade. It is the fortunate day, indeed, when we catch him actively earning his title of King. Then, it’s a matter of squeezing through a throng of eager guests to even get a glimpse of him. This trip we got the best of both…M’bari was out and the crowds were light. We observed him gnawing away on a bony snack and he even got up and strutted a little before turning his back on everyone and laying down. 🙂

San Diego Zoo M'Bari

San Diego Zoo M'Bari

He certainly is one gorgeous kitty!

If you have an opportunity to visit the San Diego Zoo this summer, they are once again having Nightime Zoo. It looks to be very fun and a great chance to see some of the animals that aren’t always out during the day.  There are also a host of shows, activities and contests! We are definitely looking forward to our next visit!




Butterfly Jungle

San Diego Safari Park Butterfly Jungle

My hubby and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary recently. We never do cards or gifts but opt instead for a special trip or outing. Before J was born it used to be a weekend trip to Vegas, but now we like going somewhere all three of us can enjoy together. It worked out perfectly that the San Diego Safari Park’s annual Butterfly Jungle exhibit was in full swing. We have taken J to this every year since her birth and we decided it would be a wonderful anniversary day special trip. Thankfully, hubby got the day off from work and we spent a rare weekday at the park. It was fantastic, as all the schools were back in session from spring break. The butterfly exhibit was very quiet in comparison to the long lines and packed house that we usually fight through.  We even got a really close parking spot…win, win, win! In preparation for our visit, J and I started a butterfly lapbook. We studied three of her favorite butterflies, the Blue Morpho, Orange Julia, and Giant Owl. Before our trip she was able to read their names and identify them by sight. So imagine her delight when we walked into the atrium and all of these glorious butterflies were fluttering around her. I think she was astounded! We have worked on this book the whole month of April and I’m planning a separate post all about it.

San Diego Safari Park Butterfly Jungle

San Diego Safari Park Butterfly Jungle   Butterfly Jungle is a photographer’s paradise! I was so happy to have my new camera there to use this year!

San Diego Safari Park Butterfly Jungle

Great Orange Tip

San Diego Safari Park Butterfly Jungle

Blue Morpho

San Diego Safari Park Butterfly Jungle

San Diego Safari Park Butterfly Jungle

Blue Morpho

San Diego Safari Park Butterfly Jungle

San Diego Safari Park Butterfly Jungle

Blue Morpho

San Diego Safari Park Butterfly Jungle

Orange Julia

San Diego Safari Park Butterfly Jungle

San Diego Safari Park Butterfly Jungle

Orange Julia

J’s absolute favorite butterfly is the Orange Julia and she wanted one to land on her more than anything. It took some waiting (around 40 minutes) and patience…two things that aren’t usually easy for a three year old…but we finally had success. The lovely little Julia perched on my daughter’s finger long enough for her to admire it’s delicate beauty and for mom and dad to snap plenty of photos!  And as it turns out one of those photos was selected as a winner in the park’s Butterfly Jungle Instagram contest! We won a cart safari for four! We have never done a cart tour before so we were especially excited by this. We are hoping to take my sister and brother in law and their little boy. Since we are all homeschoolers, I believe this will be a superb field trip! Many thanks again to the Safari Park for choosing our photo. We are so grateful!

San Diego Safari Park Butterfly Jungle

San Diego Safari Park 3-16-14

A beautiful Sunday visit to the San Diego Safari Park.

We took a leisurely stroll through the Wings of the World aviary and enjoyed some close and personal attention from the many Golden Breasted Starlings. They were quite eager to have their portraits taken!

Safari Park Golden Breasted Starling

We watched the elephant keeper talk. It’s always very informative and fun. Showing off their stuff today was Swazi and her baby Qinisa.

Safari Park Qinisa

Swazi received an elephant pedicure.

Safari Park Swazi

And Qinisa got a little trunk wash.

Safari Park Qinisa

Safari Park Qinisa

Kastan the Caracal was the featured animal encounter near the African Outpost. He is such a beautiful wild cat and always astounds with his jumping prowess.

Safari Park Caracal Kastan

Beautiful spring blooms were on display throughout the park.

Safari Park Fortnight Lily

Safari Park

The meerkats were out and about and being cute as usual.

Safari Park Meerkats

The cutest of all, though, are the two new  lion cubs Ken and Dixie. They are currently in the zoo nursery area and guests can see them playing, eating and sleeping. They are full of lion personality and a pleasure to watch and photograph. Every time we visit they are noticeably bigger!

Safari Park Lion Cubs Ken & Dixie



San Diego Zoo 1-4-14

We visited the San Diego Zoo a few weeks ago and I am just now getting around to posting. It was a great day to go! We had perfect weather, a bit overcast, which is great for photographing the animals. They are also much more likely to be out and active with a little cloud cover. It’s hard to believe the rest of the country is in a deep freeze when we are wearing shorts and flip flops during the day. That’s Southern California weather for you…shorts in January.

The flamingos were especially colorful this day!

San Diego Zoo Flamingos

We also happened upon a beautiful peacock eating his afternoon snack. He was close and very comfortable in front of an audience. He lingered for quite a while allowing for some great photo ops. Our other bird stop was one of my favorites, the Secretary Bird. There is just something so beautiful and strange about this bird. I love to photograph it.

San Diego Zoo Birds

A gorgeous leopard was perched on a rock people watching.

San Diego Zoo Leopard

The primates were all active and having fun in their various enclosures. They are always entertaining and interesting to observe.

San Diego Zoo Primates

A cute little Sun Bear found a tasty treat inside a large tube.

San Diego Zoo Sun Bear

This camel definitely had the best animal expression of the day!

San Diego Zoo Camel

We also spent some time at the wonderful Balboa Park Carousel, which is just outside of the zoo grounds. It’s one of the loveliest carousel rides I have ever been on. Lots of fun for kids of all ages! It’s now a must visit on our trips to the zoo.

With this unseasonably lovely winter weather we have been having I hope we can plan another trip to San Diego Zoo soon and share some more adventures and pictures.

San Diego Safari Park: 8-25-13

This trip to the Safari Park was all about flowers and birds. We decided to take a little detour off the beaten path to a few places we haven’t visited in quite a while. Our first stop was the Epiphyllum House.

San Diego Safari Park Epiphullum Bloom

This is a lovely walk through area with hundreds of Epiphyllum varieties on display. Throughout the entire walk we only saw one lovely bloom. It was a bright and gorgeous red, with the tiniest little snail sitting on one of the petals. J was so interested in this and wanted to look at and smell the flower. It made me quite happy to see her enthusiasm!

Epiphyluum Bloom

We thought we would escape the heat over in the Conifer Forest, only to discover it was pretty bare due to construction on the new Tiger Trail exhibit.  It is usually very lush with a creek that runs throughout the area. Oh well, it was still shady and we did enjoy our lunch in a really quiet and secluded picnic ground. J loved running around and discovering all that nature had to offer and getting her clothes and feet nice and dirty in the process!

San Diego Safari Park Conifer Forest Water Lily

After lunch we walked up to Condor Ridge. Along the way we saw the majestic Bald Eagles. They were resting near the trail so we had an excellent view of them.

San Diego Safari Park Bald Eagle

We also saw an Ocelot being fed and a Western Harris Hawk perched in a tree branch.

San Diego Safari Park Western Harris Hawk

The walk up to Condor Ridge is along a wooden bridge quite high up. This area provides a lovely panorama view and gives a good idea of the expanse of the park. After the trek you are rewarded with a close up view of the California Condors perched in trees and atop rocks.

San Diego Safari Park Condor Ridge

There is also a Bighorn Sheep enclosure. We watched a baby sheep hopping along the rocks during our visit.

San Diego Safari Park Bighorn Sheep

It turned out to be incredibly hot and muggy for Southern California and we didn’t do much sight seeing after this. Many of the animals were smarter than we and were asleep in the shade! I’m looking forward to a break in the heat when we can go to the San Diego Zoo and see what’s new!

San Diego Safari Park 8-4-13

King Izu at the San Diego Safari Park

Our trip to the Safari Park this week was all about the lions. They were in rare form while we were watching them, which mean they were awake! These guys can sleep almost 21 hours a day, so most visits we catch them during a snoozing session. However, this time we got to see Izu and his ladies, Mina and Oshana, somewhat active.

Mina & Oshana San Diego Safari Park

King Izu San Diego Safari Park

King Izu San Diego Safari Park

We also checked out the brand new exhibit Lemur Walk. I’m sure this can be exciting, but while we were there…not so much. Apparently it was lemur nap time. At least they were still for pictures!

Lemur Walk San Diego Safari Park

Lemur Walk San Diego Safari Park

Another new addition to the Nairobi Village area is the Village Playground. It is built to simulate an African village, with drums to play, a small plant maze, a build-a-hut and lots of water! My daughter, J, had the best time turning the water wheel and filling her jug…as did every kid there! It’s a nice interactive area to keep the little ones busy and to take a break from walking.

Village Playground San Diego Safari Park

The Summer Safari at the park is in full swing. There are daily shows with acrobats and dancers, lots of delicious food and activities for the kids. It runs until August 18th, so if you are in the Escondido,CA area, spend the day at the Safari Park!

Summer Safari San Diego Safari Park

San Diego Safari Park 4-28-13

Our trip to the Safari Park this past Sunday was all about the cheetahs! We saw plenty of beautiful and exciting things, as we always do, but the cheetahs stole the show.

These two were lounging in their enclosure when we first walked up. They looked quite majestic stretched out under a shady tree.

WAP 4-28-13 (4)

Then, as we were about to take off, two keepers entered their area. This caused a bit of a stir, with one of the cheetahs showing a bit of teeth.

WAP 4-28-13 (5)

The two keepers stayed off to the side for a while, but the big cats kept an eye on them.

Keeping watch on the keepers

This was exciting for us, because it offered a great photo opportunity. It was also nice to see them walking around instead of two napping cats…which is what we mostly see. And, my daughter could get a good view from the stroller as well.

WAP 4-28-13 (6)

We enjoyed a terrific lunch of chicken and honey mustard dipping sauce with a side of coleslaw made with homemade mayo. It certainly gave us plenty of energy for more walking and running…


and more running…:)

While J was running her daddy silly, I was able to get a few pictures of some lovely giraffes quietly eating and the rhinos enjoying a cooling mud bath.

Giraffe Tripod

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The newest baby rhino, I believe his name is Kayode, was also out with his mama.

WAP 4-28-13 (10)

He was galloping and playing…much like my baby!

WAP 4-28-13 (9)

Right before we left we saw an animal encounter talk with a beautiful Tawny Frogmouth. He was very dignified and had such an “owl-y” expression!

WAP 4-28-13

There is always something fun and exciting to see at the San Diego Safari Park!