The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Animal fun @ San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo is one of the most famous and largest zoos in the world, and home to over 3700 rare and endangered animals of more than 650 species. The zoo is very accessible from downtown San Diego, so we had little excuse not to spend a day at the zoo with our young son. At 40 hectares, San Diego Zoo is almost twice the size of Taronga Zoo, where one day was not enough to see everything. Thankfully, San Diego Zoo features a guided tour bus that covers 75% of the park, which was the first thing we did. The tour gave us a good but quick overview of the zoo, however it gave us a good idea of what piqued our interest, and we later revisited these sites of interest to get a closer look. I was very pleased to learn that the zoo is very active in conservation and preservation efforts, and many species are bred here for release into native habitats where appropriate. San Diego Zoo is also one of the few zoos in the world that houses the extremely cute but endangered giant pandas.

The boy saying hello to a zoo mascot:

Graceful and gentle giraffes, always lovely to see:

A California Condor that once faced extinction not long ago:

An Asian Elephant, distinguishable from its African cousin by its smaller ears:

I believe this is the Little Owl, unusually sharp-eyed at this hour of the day (this species is partly diurnal):

The Balboa Miniature Railroad is located just outside the zoo's entrance, and our boy had such fun going on it when we left the zoo for a quick lunch (re-entry is possible as long as you get a stamp at the exit gate):

An illuminated snake's skeleton:

The giant panda exhibit, which was undoubtedly the most popular point in all of the zoo. It was very crowded, and incredibly difficult to get a good shot of the cutie, but I finally managed to get a clear shot when a zoo attendant shooed away one lady who was hogging the front spot for ages (there were two lanes: the front lane allowed for a good but only a quick view of the pandas, and the second lane was for those who wanted to linger and take photos; we were in the second lane):

A striking looking deer/antelope, but don't ask me what kind:

A Grévy's zebra, taller with larger ears and narrower stripes than its cousins. It is the largest and most endangered of the three zebra species:

Last but not least, a sleeping lion with his tongue sticking out. The Lion Sleeps Tonight song plays in my head every time I see this picture:


  1. Did you know Ueno has a panda now?!

  2. Really? The pandas must have arrived at Ueno after we left Tokyo. Cute creatures, aren't they?