It’s A Playful World At The Zoo
A day at the San Diego Zoo is always fun and what better place to begin your San Diego adventure. The perfect starting place is at the monkey enclosure. These pesky and playful monkeys are always fun and entertaining to watch. You never know what to expect!
The playful world of Schmidt’s Red-tailed Monkey is an experience to behold. These playful monkeys are between 12 and 24 inches long, but their tails with a touch of red can be 35 inches easy. Did you notice the large cheek pouches? Schmidt’s red-tailed monkeys have cheeks that can almost hold as much food as their stomachs. They can eat and pack the food in the cheeks and then find a quiet location where no one will bother them to eat. They can then safely and slowly consume their treasure. It is a built-in safety net to keep others from stealing from them. Now, how awesome is that?
The Schmidt’s red-tailed monkey has many different names. They are also known as the black-cheeked white-nosed monkey, the spot-nosed monkey, and the red=tailed Guenon. These special monkeys have brown, black, and grey fur. The underside of their tail is red. This is how they get their name. Now that is one sporty little monkey!
These amazing monkeys live in tropical swamps, tropical mountains, and tropical lowland forests. They thrive at the San Diego Zoo in Southern California. San Diego’s climate is just perfect for these little monkeys from the Congo. They also call Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda home. They are really quite adaptive. Here they have an enormous area to play and roam.
These colorful primates are primarily fruit eaters. In seasons when the fruit is not available, they will also eat leaves, tropical flowers, and gum from tropical trees. At the zoo, they are given plenty of fruit and leaves. This makes for happy monkeys at the San Diego Zoo.
Happy Panda Having Breakfast
Next on the morning agenda is the Giant Pandas. This is always a favorite place to spend some time. Around 10 am is a favorite time to visit. This is the feeding time for these giant teddy bears.
This Giant Panda complete with a tuxedo is relishing his breakfast of bamboo. He seems to be showing off for the camera, as he almost has a smile on his face. Who can resist loving this endearing panda with such a sweet face? When he is done with breakfast he will ample off and roam the forest that is his home at The San Diego Zoo. This lovable Panda is a National Treasure in China. He is protected by law in his native bamboo forests of China.
The three Giant Pandas at the San Diego Zoo live a life of luxury. The enormous enclosure has many trees, a wide variety of climbing structures, and air-conditioned bedrooms. All these treasures that they value, plus all the bamboo they can eat.
When Bai Yun and Shi Shi arrived from China they were the first pair of Pandas to come to the United States. They were part of a landmark panda-loan agreement with China. In just three years the unthinkable happened, Bai Yun gave birth to Hua Mei. Hua Mei is the first surviving panda born in the United States. Bai Yun has given birth to 6 living pandas in her lifetime. She is nearing the end of her reproductive life at 24 years old. What a treasure she is for all to love at the San Diego Zoo.
These three pandas are adorable as they amble around and then decide to climb for a while. This little fella was very occupied eating his breakfast when the photo was shot. What a priceless opportunity to watch these happy Giant Pandas at the San Diego Zoo.
Jurassic at the San Diego Zoo
Next on our stop today is the fearsome and Jurassic Crocodilians. It is always intriguing to watch these huge reptiles in their swampy home at the San Diego Zoo. The swamp is large and these big boys are right at home.
The long-snouted Indian Gharial is Jurassic at the San Diego Zoo. This Crocodilian with his thick skin and cold blood quite often strikes terror in the hearts of those who see him. For others, it is just very healthy respect. Crocodilians are very efficient hunters, have excellent hearing and keen eyesight.
These egg-laying reptiles are most at home in or near the water. Here you will see them floating like logs in the swamp. They appear slow, but don’t be fooled into thinking they can not move. These reptiles can swim up to 20 miles an hour and hold their breath underwater for up to an hour. They are no slowpoke on land either. They can run on land up to 11 miles an hour.
These giants of the swamp have 60-110 teeth in their huge mouths. If a tooth wears out or gets knocked out, it is not a problem. A new one just moves into place. A Crock can go through as many as 8,000 teeth in his lifetime. Now that is a lot of teeth!
Crocodilians are meat eaters and will eat whatever they can catch in or near the water. Some favorite dinner delights are fish, birds, monkeys, turtles, frogs, pigs, and even deer and buffalo. It all depends on the size of the Crock. If they can catch and kill it, it is lunch!
Majestic Great Blue Heron
The next members of the zoo family we set out to spend time with are the large birds. The San Diego Zoo has beautiful large natural aviaries with many beautiful and majestic birds. This magnificent Great Blue Heron is a must-see on any zoo exploration.
This beautiful bird stands about 4 feet tall and has a wingspan of about 6 feet. His long sharp bill is something to avoid at all costs. With it, he feeds on fish who just happen to meander into the shallow water where he stands quietly like he has all the time in the world. He doesn’t mind a meal of frogs or even a small gopher or other land animals that get in the way of his powerful bill. He catches his prey and then swallows it whole.
Humans should avoid getting too close, or they risk getting nailed in the head or eye. They can often seem friendly and may come up to eat out of your hand in rehab where they are not so wary. Their sharp bill can blind or even kill.
Great Blue Herons are natives of Bhutan. They are getting to be very rare in the wild and are protected worldwide. Take a few minutes and just watch them, they are amazing to observe.
Having Lunch With Mama
Our last stop of this morning is the Gorillas. This is always a place where we can easily spend an hour or so and get many unusual photos. These are some of the most entertaining characters at the San Diego Zoo Park in Southern California. You just never know what to expect from these fun gorillas.
The Western Lowland Gorillas can be found in the very heart of the San Diego Zoo. These gentle giants spend their time in beautiful open meadows with cascading waterfalls, trees of different kinds, and climbing structures designed for their inquisitive minds. You really never know from one time to the next what you will see. They always seem to have a new idea for the day. These gentle giants are a lot of fun to just watch and see what they will do next.
We often enjoy spending a half-day at the zoo and then going more often. This way you don’t get too tired and overheated and can really enjoy the animals that call the San Diego Zoo home. There are many good places nearby to have lunch if you want to enjoy a nice lunch at the end of your zoo visit. There are also many restaurants on the zoo property. Five options at the zoo for a great lunch are:
At the Parkway, San Diego Zoo
San Diego California 92101
2920 Zoo Drive
San Diego, California 92101
Casual California dining and drinks served indoors or on the desk at the San Diego Zoo.
Zoo Place, San Diego 92101
Front Street Cafe
2929 Zoo Drive
San Diego, California 92101
So why not grab the family, pack day packs with snacks and water, and head for the San Diego Zoo. Be sure to pack the sunscreen. Nothing ruins that perfect day more than a sunburn. The best time to get there is in the morning if you want to observe feeding times. The mornings are usually just pleasant temperatures and perfect to walk and enjoy your zoo friends.
Strollers and wheelchairs can be rented at the ticket booth. You can also sign up for different special viewing options when buying your tickets. Maps of the zoo are located nearby.