on June 14, 2008
There are discount coupons to this zoo all over the Internet and other publications. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the $8-off coupons I had printed from www.mousesavers.com. Therefore, I had to settle for the $2.50-off per "Best Value" ticket I got using my AAA card. Our "Best Value" ticket package to the world-famous San Diego Zoo enabled us to do the bus tour and ride the aerial tram. We never got around to getting on the aerial tram but we did do the bus tour. The tour is a narrated 30-minute orientation ride on a double-decker bus around the zoo. One of the workers told my wife and me that the best seats were on the top near the middle because the bus driver always tries to center the bus anytime she stops at an attraction. Truthfully, we could have done without this orientation tour because the zoo has directions posted all over the place, we were given maps when we entered, and there are plenty of staff all over the park to lead you to the animals you want to see. Our Denny's Grand Slam breakfast we'd eaten earlier had begun to kick in near the end of the ride causing both of us to start bobble-heading while we were attempting to fight the strong urge to take a nap.The San Diego Zoo is quite hilly but wonderfully shaded with exotic plants and trees from all over the world. As expected, there are many species of animals to observe – everything from tiny reptiles to large carnivores. Most of the exhibits mimic the animals’ natural environments. There are not many cages with iron bars and concrete floors. Techniques such as glass and trenches are used to separate animals from people. Most of the animals we saw that day were sleeping. However, we did spend quite a while watching the golden-bellied Mangabey monkeys take turns grooming each other.The most popular attraction is the giant pandas exhibit. In fact, you have to wait in a maze-like line as if at an amusement park to get a turn to walk by the enclosure. There is zoo staff there to keep the line moving. One of the pandas was napping while the other one was chomping on bamboo sticks.Definitely bring comfortable walking shoes. The zoo is large and hilly. I was surprised at how long and steep the path is that leads to the polar bear exhibit. We spent about 4-hours walking around the zoo. Afterwards, we took some time to walk around Balboa Park that encompasses the zoo. The zoo and the park turned out to be a pleasant outing.
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