Now that I have you attention lets focus on what the massive San Diego Zoo has to offer (it spans 100 acres!). Yes Panda Bears for one – they have four, including a very cute baby male called Xiao Liwu who was born on July 29th, 2012. The adults are Bai Yun, Gao Gao and Yun Zi. But these are just a fraction of the various animals you can see at the zoo.
There are over 4,000 animals from 800 different species within the zoo from regions including Africa, Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, North America, the Pacific Islands and South America. Zoos are not for everyone but the San Diego Zoo does their best to provide as natural as possible and interesting enclosures for their animals. Some such as the Lowland Gorillas and African Elephants in particular have very large well-kept enclosures that are as natural for the animals as possible, which is great to see.
The zoo will be opening a special Australian Outback exhibit later this year. It was a work in progress during my visit but looks like it will be great. There were a few Aussie animals on display including Kangaroos, Kookaburra’s and Koalas.
Apart from Panda’s there are a number of Bear species on display including Andean, Grizzly, Manchurian, Polar and Sun Bears. Watching a Polar Bear eat a giant pile of carrots was an entertaining way to pass some time (he looked very content!).
Big Cats are also predominate with African Lions, Malayan Tigers, Leopards (including Snow Leopards), Jaguars, Puma and others on display. I was lucky to see most of these as often they are hidden out of view sleeping during the day. On my recent visit they were mostly very active.
The Great Apes are a major feature of the San Diego Zoo. Along with the Gorillas there are also Orangutans, Bonobos (once known as the Pygmy Chimpanzee) Baboons and many other species of Ape and Monkey to see. To come so close to a huge Silverback Lowland Gorilla looking back at me through the glass wall was quite an experience!
The zoo also displays a multitude of birds from the very small to Eagles and huge Andean and Californian Condors. There are many aviaries and enclosures dotted around the zoo, and as always birds are busy creatures going about their daily business. The Californian Condors almost seemed to be showing off with their massive wingspan!
Given the size of the San Diego Zoo it is a full day excursion and well worth it. Given this is America, there are plenty of forms of transport to move those who don’t want to leg it around the 100 acres of the zoo. As I said earlier zoos are not for everyone, but this is certainly one of the best in the world and well worth visiting on a trip to San Diego.