August 20, 2009

My New Zoo Review! (w/Family Foto Fun, Too!)

The San Diego Zoo isn't new, but this review of our family visit last Saturday is. And actually, the Elephant Odyssey exhibit that's there is a beautiful new addition, only a few months old. But I think, now that I've seen it in person, it's a bit overrated.

The 7-acre habitat is quite impressive. However, the way that it's designed does not allow for any kind of close-up encounters with the elephants. Not even nearby encounters! They were way off in the distance, and even if they wanted to come closer, they couldn't. Their enclosure, and the landscape within it, prevents them from doing so. There was an area where, thanks to fortunate timing, we were able to witness one of the pachyderms getting a bath in fairly close proximity. Well, a shower was more like it because the animal keeper was actually hosing it down. And, boy, did it like the attention! You could just tell he was loving it so much that it must've felt like a Burke Williams spa treatment!

We came along just in time for Ranchipur's shower.
And if you listened real closely, you could hear
him quietly singing this cute little song:
"A sprinkle a day helps keep the odor away...
Have you had your sprinkle today?"

A hydro-massage and a pedicure?
Now, that's what I call service!

Among other animals featured in the same exhibit, and one of my favorites, is the capybara. I'm not real sure what it is about those guys... it has something to do with their cute, bloppy shape. They sorta remind me of Moomins, I guess. And they are certainly cute!

Capybara and Moomin via Google Images

See, don't these two look similar?
Well, I think they do...

Speaking of cute, after we walked out of the Odyssey exhibit we came across the meerkats. I could sit and watch those little guys for hours! And they're just always so busy... I was particularly taken with the designated sentinel of the mob. He sat atop the highest rock formation attentively watching for predators, his tiny head twitching in every direction. I wish that we had spent more time at their enclosure.

I was glad to get this meerkat shot! His little
noggin was jerking all over the place, looking
for anything that might be a threat...

I felt this was an interesting shot, too, because it shows
some of their many digging holes. They were all very
busy scurrying around, or digging. Lots of digging.

Another of my favorite animals is the giraffe. They are so tall and graceful. I'm pretty sure I overheard a tour guide say that a newborn, on average, is about 6 ft. tall! Could you imagine if a human mother had to suffer such a burden? Of course, women are strong, and they would be able to endure it... The pattern on giraffe hides is beautiful, too. It's just those long, dark tongues that aren't. In fact, they're kinda gross! Oh, well. Nobody's perfect.

Tommy and me, posing in front of the giraffe enclosure.
"Where are the giraffes?", you say. Well, see, they're
not in the shot because Mom was taking the picture...

We also managed to see lots of different exotic birds, some bears (including polar), a monkey or two, snakes, a komodo dragon, a few tortoises, two rhinoceros, an anteater w/baby riding around on its back and a few other creatures I can't remember at the moment. Still, after being there for an entire day, we only managed to see about half of the zoo's inhabitants. We were there until almost 9 pm, too!

I feel bad that I don't remember the name of this
animal. It was some sort of hairy, piggish looking thing.
But how super cute are they, all cuddled-up together
like that, in a ditch?

Why, what do we have here? I don't believe it's
anything we've ever seen before! It appears to be
a tame creature, at least... Let's take a closer
look, shall we?

Yikes! Look out! Whatever it is, it's fierce and most
unpredictable! We must use extreme CAUTION...

It's real neat that they do the whole Nighttime Zoo thing in the Summertime, so you can see the nocturnal animals when they're awake and more active. The zoo itself is very pretty at night, with its lush landscaping of trees and plants dramatically illuminated. It was especially impressive from the vantage point of a Skyfari bucket. We rode one of those twice! Once during the day, and then again at night. Even the buckets were lit up all purty-like, in the dark.

It's a bit hard to tell because it's at night, but this
is Tommy & my mom in our Skyfari bucket as it
whisked us along, high above the "jungle" below.

Yours truly, "impersonating" a dorky tourist.

We all had a great time! It was a wonderful Saturday at the zoo, as well as an awesome birthday gift from my mom! If you've never been, I highly recommend a visit to the San Diego Zoo. But if you go, Mom says, "Don't forget the sun-block and comfortable walking shoes."


  1. hahaha...I have to learn how to pose like Tommy!
    You both look so adorable!!
    Moomin comparison is so perfect, Anthony!


  2. Awwwww, how adorable! Just love seeing these photos of you guys, your mom, and of course the animals.

    It looks like these guys (the animals) have a great place to hang out, all comfy and cozy. After all, I don't get a massage and pedicure at my house.:(

    My daughter has a membership to the zoo in Denver, goes 2-3 times a week.

    Thanks for sharing your SDZ pics, your wonderful family, and the pictures of some magnificent creatures.

    xoxo Sweetie!

  3. So you didn't run into Maynard?

    Elephants, giraffes and meerkats are some of my favorites, too! Of course, I just love animals in general, so it's hard to pick favorites. You have soooo got me wanting to visit the zoo with the kids before summer is over. The nighttime viewing sounds wonderful! Nothing worse than staring into a bunch of empty enclosures because the animals are all sleeping out of the sun.

    What a great "I'm a Keeper" hat on that ferocious beast you found!

  4. You all look extremely cute! The capybaras are so adorable (and yes, Moomin-like!) I could punch myself in the face. I am so jealous you got to see the zoo at night!! That always sounded magical.
    Great post and photos, as usual!

  5. Thanks, Lenore!

    We were getting kind of giddy toward the end of the day when we found that "cave"... So we HAD to take some silly pictures! There were a few of me, too, but they wound up on the cutting room floor.

    Btw, thanks for confirming my capybara/Moomin comparison! ;)

  6. Yeah, Six, if I had a membership (and lived closer to the SDZ) I would totally be there ALL the time, communing with nature!

    Your daughter is "alright in my book", if she likes animals that much.

    Thanks for your sweet comments about my photos and family! :)

  7. No, Tikimama, thankfully we did NOT run into May-nerd! He must have been off gallivanting around the Wild Animal Park.

    Yes, I think the girls would LOVE the zoo! Have they ever been to one? At least, a petting zoo?

    That hat Tommy bought IS cute! And it was waaay better than the alternative option which said, "I'm a Pooper Scooper".

  8. Oh, no!
    Don't punch yourself in the face, Jules!
    Let ME do it. ;)

    Seriously, folks... Thank you for the compliments! Some of us weren't feelin' so fresh. Not down THERE! Just that sort of, you know, general "not-so-fresh" feeling all over.

    Anyway, that was too much information for this venue. Goodbye.

  9. Hi Anthony!! Loved the post and're so handsome and happy!! Sorry I've been totally absent from commenting on your blog (I am reading though I promise :)!!!)
    Anyways...I loved this post because I LOVE THE ZOO!! Well I actually don't LOVE animals being in captivity but I do LOVE seeing them and hanging with them for HOURS (I am guilty as well for spending alllllllll day at the zoo, haha). AND, elephants, giraffes and meerkats are my favorites too! how funny :)
    By the way...thanks for the kind, encouraging words a little while back...I really needed it.
    Take care! ((hugs!!))

  10. Hey, Emily!

    It's nice to see you up and around, again. I know that you were going through a pretty rough time, and the blogosphere was probably the LAST place you had any interest in visiting... There's certainly NO need for you to apologize!

    I sooo know what you mean about loving to see the animals, but NOT liking that the animals are in captivity. In fact, I was struggling with that, in the back of my mind, the whole day through. On the flip-side, though, is the legitimate need for the zoo to keep some endangered species captive, as a way to protect them from extinction. And, also, to assist those animals with breeding and re-population of their species in the wild.

    Thank you for your kind words, and for thinking me "handsome". :)

  11. That 'deceivingly' tame creature was a magnificent beast indeed :D great shots

  12. Thanks, MoonDoggie!

    I will tell the "beast" that you thought him magnificent. ;)

  13. you are so funny!!!

    and i went to this zoo a few years ago. i thought it was so amazing!!!

    and you were so lucky that you got to see the elephant taking a shower! bah! i wish i had that job, and i bet the elephant LOVED IT!!! must have felt so REFRESHING in the summer heat!

    you are making me want to go back. sigh. :)

  14. Anthony, just want to thank you for your sweet & kind does Teenee, "wolf-wolf!"


  15. Yes, drollgirl, the bathing elephant was obviously in 7th heaven...

    Wouldn't it be fun to hose down one of these BIG guys? That would certainly be the ONLY kind of "hoser" I'd ever want to be known as! ;)

  16. Lenore, please... You don't need to thank me.

    Being a pet owner myself, I totally know what an emotional roller coaster it can be to have a sick "baby". Aaaand, of course, I'm also familiar with the financial stress of it. But we'll do just about anything it takes, no matter the cost, huh? They ARE part of our family, after all!

  17. Oh wow, many Americans don't even know the Moomins, they wede created here in Finland!
    I'm positively surprised.
    All the best to you!
    P.S. Wonderful blog!

  18. Thanks for the nice compliment, FINonymous!

    Yes, I'm quite sure that even I wouldn't be familiar with the Moomins if it weren't for my husband. Somehow, or another, he was introduced to Tove Jansson's Moomin books when he was a child, and has loved them ever since! In fact, one of his dreams is to go to Moomin Valley there in Finland, someday. Isn't that the name of your Moomin-themed amusement park?

    Thanks, again! :)
    Glad you enjoyed the circus!

  19. You most definitely should pay the Moomin Valley (Muumilaakso in Finnish) a visit! It's such a lovely place. I recall several happy memories from that place when I was a child. Even now I long there, maybe I myself should pay it a visit, too.
    And if you're a fan of amusement parks, you should visit the Särkänniemi park in Tampere too, while you're in Finland. The so-called "Tornado"-ride is amazing! :)

  20. Yes, Finonymous, you could definitely say I'm a fan of amusement parks! That "Tornado" ride sure intrigues me... but I couldn't even pretend to correctly pronounce the name of the park it's in! ;)


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