Monday, December 16, 2013

Adventures in San Diego: the Zoo and Downtown

Having lived in San Diego for 50 years, the San Diego Zoo had always been a part of my life. This zoo originated out of a need to house animals abandoned after the 1915 Panama-California Exposition and was a pioneer in the concept of open air, cage-less exhibits. During my lifetime I have seen the exhibits become more natural in look and feel, and the zoo administration has become actively involved in worldwide animal conservation efforts.

We scored free guest passes to the Zoo from Hans' parents (Thanks Turid and Fritz!). One afternoon we spent 3 hours walking about half of the zoo. It's laid out on a hilly 100 acres so if you visit be prepared for some fairly strenuous walking. Here's a few highlights of our visit:

There is a huge new koala exhibit with at least 40 koalas.
They are just ridiculously cute!

This young flamingo was adorable! He was following the keeper around and talking to her and he loved being snuggled!
Notice the little pink things on one of his knees; his legs were growing too fast and starting to bend the wrong way so pins and rubber bands will help him as his body catches up to his long legs. 

This guy seemed to be kicking back watching the parade of humans passing by.

Yeah, you're cute!

These two (siblings?) ran around tussling for several minutes.
They are some kind of wart hog that reminded us of Arizona javelinas.

Basking in the last bit of sun.

When we lived in North Park (a community just East of the San Diego Zoo) we often rode our bikes downtown on quiet Sunday mornings and enjoyed watching the city change over the years. One big downtown project that was decades in the making was the new Central Library, and construction was still in the early stages when we left San Diego in August 2012. It just opened in September so we wanted to check it out. Its striking architectural details are an exciting addition to the San Diego skyline.

The San Diego Trolley system has been around since the early 1980's but Hans and I had only taken it once or twice many years ago so we decided to take the trolley downtown. We parked at the El Cajon Transit Center which allowed us to take the Orange Line to downtown and the Green Line back at the end of the day.

We had lunch at Sushi Deli, located in the old Spreckels Theater building.

Fun decor, average food.

We stopped in at Western Hat Works, an awesome shop owned by our friends Martin and Estella. If you need a hat, stop by, they have an enormous selection of every style imaginable.

Western Hat Works on E Street, downtown San Diego.

Estella along with a small sampling of their inventory.

The new San Diego Central Library.

Great views inside the dome.

Petco Park on the left, Library dome in the center, Harbor Drive pedestrian bridge at right.

Sculptures under a moody sky along the harbor.

At the end of the day I remembered to take a picture of the trolley.

This was a fun day and a great way to visit downtown without the traffic and parking headaches, especially with our big truck. The trolley costs $2.50 one way.

A gorgeous end to the day!


  1. Great tour of San Diego. We really enjoyed the zoo.

  2. What a super fun day!! The animals are too cute. What great poses!

    Not sure about the library. Definitely a conversation piece. But what an expense.

    Haha! When you said trolley, I was thinking San Francisco trolley.

  3. A great day in SD. We've enjoyed both the zoo and safari park in the past and look forward to visiting again someday soon and exploring more of the city itself.

  4. The San Diego Zoo is great! I'm so glad you enjoy it too. I loved hearing about California. Its were I live. Thank You

  5. While forests, creeks and canyons are all stunning, you take beautiful pictures in the city, too!

    Love you!