I have a soft spot for zoos. I don’t know why but it runs in the family; my brothers feel the same attraction. I can spend all meandering amongst the animals with a mix of fascination of their existence and sympathy for their lack of freedom. Especially the cats—it is in their nature to roam, uninhibited, vast areas of land. But since it is als in their nature to eat other mammals, they are kept in the smallest (relatively) cages for hours on end. It breaks my heart.
Years ago I saw some special on Panda bears at the San Diego Zoo. I happen to find Pandas ADORABLE—really, who doesn’t?—and I have ever since been anxious for the chance to visit them in SD. This was at the top of my list so I was psyched.
I did the bus tour that skims the perimeter of some of the areas. I saw enough that I didn’t feel compelled to return to the boring sections that I glimpsed from the top of the double decker bus. I did learn some interesting facts though: 1) When rhinos urinate, it shoots a few feet behind them—so be careful is you are standing behind one; 2) Elephants eat, and, consequentially crap, something like 3 tons of food a day (or something like that, the details are hazy now).
When I jetted off the bus I felt like a kid at a—well, at a zoo actually. I headed straight for my favorites animals—THE MONKEYS! Oh boy, there were so many cuteys. I must have sat and watched one section of monkey-like animals (there are so many kinds, who knows which is which!) for about an hour. Two of them—an old gray baboon looking one and a young light colored one—were wrestling, non-stop. It was awesome. I was kinda jealous, I wanted to wrestle with them.
Next I found myself mesmerized by the—and these are actually my favorite, monkeys rank second—gorillas. They look so cuddly; I just want to crawl in and curl up in their laps. There was a baby gorilla who was having the time of his life just running around his world of rocks and trees and then cuddling into the lap of the big guys. If I didn’t think he might… likely… probably… grow to be huge and strong enough to crush me, I might have tried to steal him.
Finally I made it to the Pandas. Now from reading all the displays and information, I know that the research on Pandas that they do at the SD Zoo—and the fact they are the only place in the US who breeds them (I think)—I am very impressed. But as for seeing the Pandas, it made me feel so sad. They were in their separate dens, one male and one female, behind a wall blocking them from the road. The girly one—being the show-offs we are got up at one point, pranced around, climbed her own little tree stump jungle gym, posed on top, and climbed down again. That was exciting.
After the excitement of the pandas, monkeys and gorillas, the rest of the day was rather calm. I actually did a lot of shopping, they had tons of fun stuff in the gift shops. ha! Woo hoo!
I spent the evening sitting in rush hour Freeway traffic heading back to Orange County to finally see the lovely Liz—my whole reason for making the journey! And even though I was driving an average of 15 MPH most of the time, it was all worth it, to have played at the SD Zoo!