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!

 

 

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 8-4-13

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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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He was galloping and playing…much like my baby!

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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!

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

San Diego Safari Park 3-24-13

This trip to the San Diego Safari Park turned out to be a lazy and meandering walk through the park.  We took it slow and took notice of little things like:

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Beautiful exotic plants and huge bumble bees buzzing flowers.

We managed to miss all of the animal encounters, but we got to see two large cats in a car, doing what they do best…

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Mina & Oshana

napping in the afternoon sun!

We saw just about the whole herd of elephants being let into their enclosure to eat.

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We fed and admired the ducks.

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And, we enjoyed watching the big yellow Balloon Safari go up and down!

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Sometimes it’s nice to just walk at a slower pace and not do anything in particular. That’s another reason I love the membership pass to the park. I don’t feel that we have to do everything in one visit. It takes the pressure off to “have fun!” The Hubby and I agree, it’s got to be one of the best values for a season pass in Southern California.

San Diego Safari Park

San Diego Safari Park

 

Safari Park – Butterfly Jungle 3-17-13

Imagine walking among lush plants and beautiful flowers, while butterflies of every size and color dance their way around you…a few even lilt gracefully on your hand, arms or head. This is what it’s like to walk through San Diego Safari Park’s Butterfly Jungle exhibit. It is held in the Hidden Jungle area, usually a very quiet little enclosure, exhibiting rare plants, birds and insects. It becomes a bustling hub from March 16th to April 7th, while the butterflies make it their home. Although it can be quite crowded, the experience of seeing the butterflies up close is not lost. There wasn’t one person in our family who did not have a butterfly land on them, multiple times! Also, they are perched everywhere on leaves around you, so photo opportunities abound.

What We Saw

The Orange Julia has got to be my favorite! It is such a gorgeous shade or orange and I adore the name! I had only one butterfly land on me while we were there, and it was this one! I consider that special!

Orange Julia

Orange Julia

The Paper Kite is a delicate black and yellow butterfly, that looked stunning among all of the brightly colored flowers!

Paper Kite

Paper Kite

The Common Blue Morpho is one of the most uncommonly beautiful butterflies. It is quite unassuming, with it’s brown and gold spotted wings…until it opens them!  

Common Blue Morpho

Common Blue Morpho

The inside of it’s wings are a striking iridescent blue, that is dazzling to look upon! It is also quite a large butterfly, and when it lands on you, you can’t help but be mesmerized by it’s loveliness.

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Common Blue Morpho

The Postman is a small red, black and yellow butterfly that we observed in abundance!

Postman

Postman

The Zebra Longwing is a small pale yellow and black striped butterfly, as it’s name implies. They had one of the most delicate flutters of all!

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Zebra Longwing

And then there’s this guy.

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I still can’t identify him properly. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but this butterfly is huge. It had landed on one of the employees pant leg and he said it had been there for around a couple of hours! I know he said the name of this butterfly, but I can not remember what it was, and I can’t find it in my guide. It is quite beautiful with it’s muted iridescence! I’m sure I’ll find out the proper name for this one, and I’ll be sure to update my information here.

Our trip to Butterfly Jungle was a lot of fun and enjoyable for the whole family. I would highly recommend taking advantage of this fabulous exhibit if you are in the area!

San Diego Safari Park 3-10-13

Our visit to the Safari Park this week was pretty exciting! We weren’t even sure we were going until the evening before, which is kind of unusual for us…you know spontaneity and all! I usually like to prep for a couple of days, because I pack the three of us a lunch that is pretty much all from scratch and  I had that darned daylight savings  time change to deal with. I woke up at 9 am, thinking I had already overslept…until Hubby reminded me it was really 10!  Not the greatest start, but I used my supermom powers and somehow got us all fed, dressed, packed and out the door at a reasonable time. I even managed a homemade lunch and it was one of the best chicken salads I’ve ever made. I will try to remember the recipe to share here sometime. I believe that was my lesson that spontaneity vs over planning can be a good thing!

Back to the Safari Park…

What We Saw

Our first exciting encounter was the Elephant Keeper talk at the Tembo Stadium. We just happened to walk up as it was starting, and I’m glad we we did. This was a chance to see several of the elephants up close, including the newest baby elephant, Qinisa. I couldn’t believe how cute this baby was and my little girl, J was ecstatic watching her run around the enclosure. Heck, so was I! We also got to see the mother elephant, Swazi and another younger elephant.

Baby Qinisa

Baby Qinisa

Mother Swazi

Mother Swazi

We learned that the adult elephants are all from Swaziland. The trainers use a whistle to alert them to do particular tasks. Swazi showed off her skills by ignoring a  glove tossed by her and then retrieving it on command. Keepers also believe Swazi may have weak eyesight, as she doesn’t always notice scuffles among the other elephants. We also learned that there is a definite hierarchy among the Herd, with Swazi being the dominate female. This gives little Qinisa a bit of an advantage, as her daughter, and apparently she knows it!

To see more of these beautiful and majestic elephants, you can watch them on the Elephant Cam courtesy of the Safari Park’s website.

We were also were excited to make it down to the African Outpost area for an Animal Encounter with Kusikia, the Bat Eared Fox. She is only around 9 months old and is in training for the encounters. She’s a little skittish during the presentation, but once she relaxes a bit she puts on quite a show, chasing her toys and cuddling with her keepers. Kusikia is adorable and we loved watching her up close.

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We learned that Kusikia, as mentioned already, is still just a baby. She loves stuffed pandas and always has one in her enclosure to play with. The keepers mentioned that they are hopeful that Kusikia will become comfortable enough with people to one day be touched and pet during her Animal Encounters outings.

We are excited about our next visit to the park, since it is the opening weekend of Butterfly Jungle! It is a thrilling opportunity to walk among hundreds of live butterflies as they float and possibly land for a moment on you! The photo ops are overwhelming, so I hope to get a few interesting ones to share! The Safari Park is also holding several contests to celebrate Butterfly Jungle, so head over to their website for a chance to win a great prize and read more about this exciting event!