The World-Famous San Diego Zoo

While living in Philadelphia, John and I had a year-long membership to America’s first zoo, where we would visit on weekends whenever we were looking for a fun afternoon. Having not been to a zoo since we were kids, we absolutely loved rediscovering them and how much fun it is to spend a day watching animals with childlike wonder. So when we came to San Diego, we knew we had to visit one of the largest zoos in the world, the famous San Diego Zoo.

Admission is a little pricey at $50/person, but we were lucky to have friends with 50% off coupons, and it would have been worth it regardless. Covering around 100 acres of land, and containing over 4,000 animals of more than 800 species, the zoo is massive. It is so big that they have tour buses running throughout the park and an aerial tram to get you back to the front of the park (included in standard admission).

The park is beautifully taken care of and landscaped, with the flora actually being worth more than all of the animals combined due to the rare and exotic nature of many of the plants used to make the animals feel at home.

The San Diego Zoo contains some of the big ticket animals that are rare to see in other U.S. zoos these days, including pandas, koalas, and my favorite, elephants (which I miss since they have been removed from the Philadelphia zoo)!

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The panda exhibit is historically VERY crowded. As we slowly shuffled past with the crowds, this was the best shot we could get!

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The pandas are on loan from China, as all pandas in the world are, but they are also the most crowded attraction in the park. The already heavy crowd came to a complete stop when we went past them, with so many people vying for a photo opportunity. A presenter at the exhibit tried to usher people through to relieve the crowds even. Luckily, the panda exhibit was in a temporary location while the old one was being renovated, as our friends said it could sometimes take hours to get through to see them.

Other highlights included:

The ever-flexible flamingoes. Note the one on the bottom right of the second photo down on its knees! We had never seen this before…

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The photogenic giraffes…

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Small relatives to the antelope, these southern gerenuk were adorable, graceful, and looked to me like they should be characters in the “Rudolph” claymation movie..

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The craziest looking crocodile you’ve ever seen – the cartoonish, but highly endangered gharial from India…

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The fascinating family of orangutans…

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Who could forget the gorillas…

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The closest we want to come to a grizzly bear (unless we are at the Olympic Game Farm)…

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The unusual looking and acrobatic Andean bear…img_6124img_6131

This cute little guy showering in a mist coming into his cage…

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The giant tapirs…

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And the surprising okapi, which looked like a mix between a zebra and a tapir…

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The fishing cat, another species of animal we had never heard of, but thought were beautiful and fascinating…

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We got great views of the classic tiger, on the hunt for something…

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The super chill-axed Sun Bear…

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The always exciting polar bear…img_6320img_6361

The giant Galapagos tortoises…

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The entertaining meerkats…

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And last, but not least, these incredible looking monkeys, whose names escape me…

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These examples only scratched the surface of the number of animals we saw at this enormous zoo over the course of four hours. It is very exciting for us to encounter wildlife in the wild on our trip, but when we do, we want to keep them at a distance. The zoo allows us to see animals up close safely and so many unusual or endangered species we almost certainly would never see elsewhere, and in an educational environment at that. This zoo in particular seems to take exceptionally good care of its animals and the variety is astounding. We’d recommend it to anyone. And overall, our trip to the zoo and our RV trip as a whole really remind us that you are never too old to be in awe of the wonder that is nature!

One thought on “The World-Famous San Diego Zoo

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