Monday, August 4, 2014

San Diego Zoo

This was one of my favorite days of our trip for sure! It was a tough choice between going to the zoo or the safari park (for me), but we had such a perfect day at the zoo that I'm so glad this is what we went with...safari park next time around! After our Legoland trip the day before didn't go so smoothly, I was determined to be better prepared for the zoo. We looked over the map of the zoo and the different show times, I read lots of reviews and then we came up with a game plan for our day. And what do you know? It totally worked!
We got there early and were entertained by peacocks and the group of macaws that flew by to let us know it was time to enter the zoo. From there we decided to head right to the pandas because they were a must-see (I was OBSESSED as a kid) and I read there could be lines to see them later in the day. We got there with just one other panda-crazed family and took our time looking at them. We then walked up to the polar bears and had that exhibit pretty much to ourselves. We took the skyfari to the opposite end of the park with no line and the kids LOVED it! We thought about going on it again later, but the line was really long even an hour later so we didn't up doing it 2nd time.
Other highlights were being front and center for the animal show and being SO close to the cheetah. Such a beautiful animal! The sea lion was super funny in the show as well. We went to the 4D Rio movie and it was really cute (definitely more like Disney than the Legoland one) and we walked and walked and walked to see pretty much every animal in the park. It was also fun to see the zoo keepers with the huge tortoises and we all learned some interesting facts about them. Plus it was so cute to see them begging to get their long necks scratched.  It is a GORGEOUS zoo!!! The last thing we did was take the double- decker bus tour. A lot of people hurried and did that first thing when the park opened, but most the reviews I read suggested doing it later in the day because the wait time is never crazy and it's a nice break from walking. I definitely agreed. I thought it was nice to get to enjoy a relaxing ride at the end of the day and it worked out well because some of the animals that weren't in great view when we were walking around, were out when we were on the bus. Another tip I had seen was to sit on the right side of the bus and although there were a couple places where the left had the advantage, overall our side did. Preston passed out pretty quickly on the bus ride :-). His little legs did a great job keeping up with our fast pace.
After the zoo I had thought we may hang out in Balboa Park a bit (I have a lot of childhood memories there) but we were all exhausted and ready for a good meal. We went to a Mexican restaurant my friend Kirsten recommended called Ponce's and I LOVED it. It tied with La Casita in SF for me for favorite food of the trip!
Another fun day down! We were looking forward to a more relaxed schedule the next day.
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The kids LOVED talking with the parrots/macaws! I only caught the end with the blue macaw on video but he for real was mimicking them!


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Addie was thrilled they had a hummingbird house, although they were a little hard to find :-)
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The cheetah's best buddy is this dog and they bring them out together because the dog helps keep the cheetah calm in front of crowds...how cute is that!
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every child wanted their own picture on the gorilla statue
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the moving walkways were another nice break for getting up the hills
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all the koalas were snoozing
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