There are certain places that rank at the top of the list when it comes to travel.  The Eiffel Tower and the Tower of London in Europe, the Pyramids, The Opera House in Sydney, Australia… but when you’re in San Diego, the zoo there is famous across the globe – and for some very good reasons.

Back we went to the same area as Balboa Park of last Sunday – the zoo is immediately to the north, so our route there was already familiar in our minds.  Parking was free – and of all things, we parked in the Panda Section, which seemed appropriate – and being the slow tourist season, there were small crowds everywhere we went in the zoo.

For around fifty dollars each, we gained entrance to the zoo, and were eligible to ride the bus tour.  We took that tour right away, to help us get the lay of the land, as it were.  Our driver/tour guide drove expertly through the zoo, but her patter about the various sections of the zoo was sometimes just a bit too perky and fast to be too terribly informative.  What we did get was as good, solid picture in our mind where we would go once we were done with the bus tour.

We alit from the bus and walked …. And walked ….. and walked…. There was the Africa section, the Panda section, the aviaries – the maps provided were a bit out of whack …sometimes you had to hold the map up and down, sometimes tilted a bit … and if I say so myself, I’m a fair map reader, so I think I can make this evaluation quite safely.

I was a bit surprised at the amount of cages in use at the zoo – I had this image that the San Diego zoo was more of an ‘open’ zoo.  At the same time, there were areas that were truly wide open – the camel and the elephant exhibits are good examples of this.  The bird aviaries were quite stunning – in most cases, there were multiple levels in those  aviaries that allowed us to see birds of the ground, trees, and treetops – and the colors were amazing.

The weather was perfect for walking.  We took pictures, we tarried at the animals that truly interested us. There are some up and down trails that made walking a bit tough, but we made it with little trouble.

There were several services throughout the zoo – places to get a snack or a pop or a cup of coffee …prices a bit inflated but not too unreasonable.  Plain truth, though, I think it would be best to just let the photos speak for our visit there.

Let’s go to the pictures.  I did a rather poor job on most of the animals… I can’t necessarily tell you which bird is which, or which deer-like animal is a particular kind of deer… but I’ll see what I can label.  We ended our day at the Pacific Beach Pier, but you’ll know those by the waves, the surfers, and such.  Here we go….

The birds first….

This tall white guy is a Secretary Bird

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and here’s a stork of some sort of stork         SONY DSC SONY DSC          a couple of  colorful birds  SONY DSC SONY DSC  and more… I enjoyed the iridescent colors of so many of them….   SONY DSC

and hey, hordes and hordes of flamingos all over the zoo….      SONY DSC  SONY DSC

this guy here, if you know your children’s music at all , sits in an old gum tree…..SONY DSC   and you want colorful?  SONY DSC

Let’s do the usual zoo animals next…. shouldn’t need labels here….

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and now the more exotic…. KOALAS

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SONY DSC  This cute little meerkat … one of many….

And then, an amazing view of the pandas…..

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and even a video of the cute guys chewing on their bamboo….

…… and I leave you with shots at the Pacific Beach Pier, all lighting provided by a setting sun…

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