I’ve always said that if I didn’t live in New Mexico, I would like to live in Denver or Seattle, both being places that we visit often. After our recent family vacation, I’m now adding San Diego to the list of places I wouldn’t mind taking up residency. It’s beautiful and the weather is perfect! Prior to my ma’s wedding, the last time I visited San Diego was in 1999 with my high school yearbook staff for a convention. Back then, I was a teen and the only thing I was interested in doing was shopping. I honestly don’t remember spending much time outdoors taking in the sights, unless you consider the outdoor food court at the mall sightseeing… This trip could not have been more different. Aside from spending days exploring our resort and acting like a bunch of beach bums playing in the ocean, we also managed to fit in a touristy outing to the San Diego Zoo. A place that G and I have always wanted to visit!
We told the Bean that we would be visiting one of the most famous zoos around on our trip and she was very much excited. Our kid LOVES animals and to visit a place where she could see a bunch all at once was a double bonus. She was pumped!
After much convincing, we talked my brother and his family into joining us along with my mom, step-dad and sister. We all threw on sunscreen (because it was a scorcher of a day) and grabbed our maps to go exploring. We were so excited to see tons of exotic animals that we don’t normally see at our local zoo but here’s the funny thing about the San Diego Zoo. You don’t really see a lot of the larger animals there. Weird, I know. Apparently one of the things that makes the zoo so famous is that it has very large animal exhibits, which allow the animals to live in spaces more like their natural habitats in the wild. Translation, they aren’t in cages and easy to see but on large pieces of land, where they can easily hide. The bus tour was still awesome because it took us around the entire park, which is huge and we got to enjoy the view from our seats on the upper deck. Grace and Mia though the bus was just about the coolest thing ever!
Some absolute favorite exhibits we saw were the Urban Jungle Giraffe Exhibit, the Outback Koala Exhibit and the Lost Forest Gorilla Exhibit. I really wanted to see a Wallaby and some of the more exotic and rare big cats but they were hiding out so I guess we’ll just have to come back again one day.
The group was in agreement that the best part of the zoo was the Skyfari Aerial Tram! It was the coolest so we went on it several times. The tram took people in groups of four high above the zoo and gave views of every area of the park. Considering the fact that the zoo was so huge there was no way we were going to cover the entire park in one afternoon, we were happy to be able to at least see all of it. We rode the tram 2 or 3 times but if Grace and our nephews had their way, we would have just rode the tram back and forth across the zoo all day long, haha! Here’s a video of our first ride. :)
Our 3 year old did so amazing all day. It was hot, she skipped her nap, had a bit of a sunburn and was on her feet almost the entire afternoon and still she did amazing. Since coming back home she’s acted a bit more like a "three-nager" but on the trip and at the zoo she was a rock star. At one point after lunch she came up to me and G and in the most articulate way possible, requested that we get her face painted and asked that she get a flamingo and it needed to be pink. It was so funny that she knew exactly what she wanted and because she hadn’t asked for anything all day, we made sure her request was granted. It took the artist about 10 minutes to complete the painting and add the glitter and the Bean didn’t budge the entire time. We were so proud of our big girl!
It was such a fun family day and a great way to bid farewell to San Diego. As we left we told Grace that she could pick one souvenir from the gift shop and just hoped it wasn’t something ridiculously expensive. She picked a snake. A giant, taller than she is, pink snake that she named Leeky. I don’t know what I loved more – that she picked a 5-foot snake as her present, that it was pink (of course) or that she named it Leeky, lol! The kid has slept with Leeky every night since. She loves that thing. :)
If you’re ever in the San Diego area, I highly recommend you visit the zoo. It definitely lives up to the hype!