Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Weekend Wanderings 4: San Diego Zoo

Saturday, February 8, 2014

San Diego is almost synonymous to San Diego Zoo,  oftentimes the highlight of most visitors to this outdoorsy city. San Diego Zoo is part of San Diego Zoo Global that is dedicated to the science of saving endangered species worldwide. The other facilities are the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. We are not as often at the Zoo than we are at the Safari Park, because we love more the wider exhibit at the Safari Park where animals run wild and free almost like seeing them in Africa. 
Mom and Baby Orangutan

However, once a while, we visit San Diego Zoo whenever we heard of a baby. :) We do love babies, may it be baby animals, or baby humans. Babies are always cute, adorable, and oh, so joyful to watch.

The baby orangutan was the reason we went to San Diego Zoo that Saturday. :)

We learned that the baby orangutan could best be observed in the morning, so we went there when the zoo opened, at 9:00 am. :) We sure are early birds. We went straight ahead to the orangutan exhibit. True enough, we were joyed observing mom and baby orangutan, and their other members of family. 
Orangutan Family @ the San Diego Zoo

After we had enough of the orangutan exhibit, instead of leaving the Zoo, we decided to just stay and visit other exhibits. The San Diego Zoo houses more than 3,700 animals and more than 650 species and subspecies, however, seeing them all in one day may not be possible if you take time like us in observing them and enjoying them. Unless, you are like "stop and go". So, the pictures here were only from the exhibits we visited that Saturday.

Though nearby are the Monkey Trails and Gorilla Tales exhibit, but we kind of skipped them, since maybe, we were so filled with orangutan joy already. :) Or maybe, we prefer more the Gorilla exhibit at Safari Park, with little boy Monroe ( 3 years old now). 

So, from the orangutan exhibit, we wanted to go to the Birds Aviary. However, on our way to Aviary, I got sidetracked with the many fishes and the kids enjoying so much the Crocodile and the Pygmy Hippos exhibit.

Kids enjoying the crocodile exhibit, they were there already when I spotted the fishes, and they were still there when I left, they kept on following the crocodile, while I was simply enjoying watching them and the fishes :)

Did you see the crocodile's nails above? Don't you think it is so naturally well manicured? Haha! I love the color. While I was enjoying watching the kids and the fishes, hubby was patiently waiting to get a more up close picture of crocodile. 
crocodile- shot by hubby

As you could observe, hubby is more patient than me when taking pictures of animals. I simply did not have the patience to wait for the crocodile to rise on the surface. 

Adjacent to the crocodile exhibit, is the pygmy hippo, with some specie of monkey ( sorry, I forgot exactly what kind). It's fun watching the monkey making the hippo his bridge. :)
Monkey and Hippo
After this, we went to the aviary. I love the birds aviary because you are inside a 3-storey enclosure with trees, waterfalls, and many plants inside, and where birds are either next to you ( well, if they choose to land near you) and are freer to fly around within the enclosure.
Some of the Birds from the Aviary

The aviary is almost like "birding in the wild" because you have no idea what birds would greet you being free to fly anywhere in the huge 3-storey enclosure, and where there is no glass nor cage between you and them, you can even touch the birds if you dare. You all are inside the aviary. But I guess they choose what kind of birds to be in the aviary, such as the birds safe enough to humans.

After the Aviary, we went to Panda Trails, which has the red panda and panda. I love them both, though the panda is more popular, but the red panda is to me as charming and as cute as well. 
Red Panda and Panda
When we were there, we learned there was also a baby panda, but mom and baby were weaned that time, hopefully, next visit, we get to see the mom-baby panda pair.

After the Panda Trails, we walked towards Australian Outback.
Koalafornia Dreaming :)

The San Diego Zoo has more than 20 koalas in the exhibit, and they say has the most number of koalas outside of Australia. Usually, they are sleeping. To catch them all awake and playful, one has to go to the zoo first thing in the morning, or stay late in the afternoon. However, because we have seen them in their most playful already, and on that day, our priority was to see the baby orangutan with mom, when we passed by the Australian Outback exhibit, most of the koalas were sleeping. Did not get a chance to take a picture of kangaroos.

After that, we walked around various exhibits.

Cheetah Walk, Rhino, Giraffe

We did not plan to stay long at the zoo, but somehow, we ended up staying long, that about 1:00 pm, we got hungry. Instead of leaving, we just decided to eat inside because I wanted to see the butterfly and hummingbird garden, but sadly, when we went there, they were still not around, maybe, too early of the season. :) I can't wait to take macro shots of caterpillars and butterflies, that is why. :)

Here are more pictures after our lunch. :)
California Condor and various Eagles


The prize shot and prized moment of the day? Something that probably we may not be able to take picture again in our lifetime, is the picture of tiger with the duck! The duck is not a captive bird, there are many wild birds entering the zoo such as the egrets above for free food. The duck flew inside the tiger exhibit, maybe, all he/she saw was the pond with lots of free food. Photos below, were of hubby.
Tiger with Duck- photo by hubby
Tiger with Duck- photo by hubby
Poor duck. :( She was so free, until she flew into the tiger's exhibit. Lesson from the duck: Exercise your freedom cautiously, for you don't know what you'll get into when you jump in without surveying.

I know....from San Diego's wildlife to San Diego Zoo, maybe, we are slowly getting impatient shooting for wildlife in La Jolla, Torrey Pines and Lake Hodges that we went to the zoo? Haha! Nevertheless, it was still another fun weekend.

Until the next weekend wanderings.

PS..... Some San Diego Zoo basic information for visitors:

Top: Zoo Flowers; Bottom (L-R): free solar powered electric vehicle charging at the parking lot, black bean vegetarian burger and onion rings, the flower queen (haha, just kidding) amongst the flowers. All photos in this collage were taken by cell phone.

1. entrance fee -  $46/person  for 12 and older, $36/child ( under 12)
* though San Diego residents can buy annual membership for year round admission to the Zoo and Safari Park.
2. There's always a long line at Panda Trails if you come late, however, there's no line and you could enjoy panda more if you come early. We usually start our day at Panda and ends at koala because middle of the day, koalas are simply sleeping.
3. Koalas are most active early morning or late afternoon(evening).
4. If you want to see and experience more of the Zoo, just use the bus to transport you from one exhibit to another if you get tired. But seeing the zoo from the bus tour will not give you full appreciation of the zoo.
5. Be prepared to walk, walk, walk! This is a huge zoo, though smaller than Safari Park, but nevertheless, if you want to experience animals up close, it's best explored on foot. There are some uphill/downhill walks in the park.
6. If you want really good pictures of tiger, jaguar, cheetah, etc, look at feeding schedule. The tiger picture above was just by pure luck, since feeding time is in the morning.I believe, only hubby got clear crisp pictures because it happened so fast and he was at the right time and at the right place when it happened.
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  1. awwww, poor duck indeed. Khai is so good in capturing the animals in action. felt like i went to the zoo too with all your photos and detailed narration on how you wandered around the zoo. reminds me, i haven't done a good post about Sg Zoo. haha! saka na pag sinipag ako maggawa ng collage. :)

  2. Wow..Amazing place. Well what a Karma... the duck came for free food and became free food...great captures...

  3. Another wonderful trip you share to us, i feel great to see this in your blog always as i feel that it gives me insight to the places you've been through and hopefully someday i'll be able to visit the place as well, i feel bad about the duck though, must a be devastated that the tiger did actually caught it.

  4. the tiger photo is awesome :) zoo trips are really enjoyable.

  5. You're so right on the fact that San Diego is synonymous to San Diego zoo. That's what tourists like me plan around on when we were there. The tiger with duck pic is so lifelike. You captured it so perfectly!

  6. Great photostory. Capturing trips in pictures to share and enjoy is something I hope to do in the future. It looks so much fun.

  7. I wish I could take pictures as good as you guys. Good job!

    Ps: Poor duckie :(

  8. Great pics as always Betchai. Love the photos of the tiger the the duck. Free with duck food huh! It was captured vividly. I wish to visit San Diego again. I love the weather there.

  9. Your photos are so convincing. I need to find a zoo to see these amazing God's creations.

  10. My favorite of all these beautiful shots is the eye of the gator, simply gorgeous!

  11. oh poor pretty duck :( sigh, well life is like that...nature has served its purpose in the world I guess....on the lighter side, the Orangutan mom and child shots are such a joy to watch! and the best photo in this series is jaraannnnn the crocodile shot of KTL hehehe, please tell him I am a fan :) those colorful petals made my day as well and the meerkat is so cute....I was smiling all the way down when I saw those sexy zebra butts day, I will make sure to visit San Diego Zoo...:) happy weekend Betchai...:)

  12. Wow! These took my breath away Sis especially the crocodile shot taken by your hubby :-) The pictures are all beautiful. I like the zebras butt too :-) The bears are way too cute and the Mommy and baby monkey too, just precious :-)

  13. Nice shots! Those animals are really cute! You really had a wonderful weekend at San Diego Zoo.