The triple digit heat in Las Vegas was becoming a little too extreme for my friends and me so we decided it was time to escape to sunny San Diego. Particularly, the World Famous San Diego Zoo. 95 degrees was a nice cool change from the 110 degrees we were having in Vegas. Also, I discovered that my good friend Byron and boyfriend Matt, have never been to San Diego! That shocking revelation was the deciding factor.
The drive to San Diego is about 5 hours. We left at about 4:30am and aimed to be in Southern California by 9:30am. With the early start we were making great time until right outside of San Bernardino. There was a four car accident that Google Maps informed me that it would be an hour delay. To save time, we noticed that the Map had an alternative route suggestion that would keep us on track. We followed the alternative route provided for about 10 minutes with no problem. We were running parallel to the freeway and watched the cars in standstill as we zoomed by. All was well in the world until the road pavement stopped.
Before we knew what happened, it became an off-roading experience with a rental Volkswagen Jetta. We decided to finish what we started even though other cars were turning back. Dirt roads and two rail tracks later, we were back on track and only 20 minutes behind schedule.
Highlights & Recap
A long 5.5 hour ride later and we were finally at the World Famous San Diego Zoo! It’s good to have friends in high places because we were able to get free tickets! Otherwise, the cost is $40.00 per person. We arrived by about 10:20am and the Zoo was already in full swing.
*Pro tip: take the Skylift to the BACK of the park and work your way forward. There are usually less people that far in the park early in the day so it’s a nice option to help avoid crowds. It also gives you a beautiful view of the surrounding greenery, Balboa Park and a hint of the San Diego skyline.
Since there are no penguins at the zoo, my favorite exhibit are the panda bears. The lines to view the pandas can be pretty long, so try to prepare for that. But once you see the adorable bears, all is ok!
They look so happy in their habitat. When visiting the zoo, always make time for pandas!
Another fun animal to see are the elephants! I love them! They are smart creatures and I think they’re such gentle giants.
There are so many animals to choose from, no matter what your favorite animal may be, I’m sure you can find it! Ashley loves pandas! Matt loves rhinos! Byron loves otters. Chances are, you too, can find an animal buddy for the day.
In Case No One Told You
You expel a lot of energy at the zoo which usually leads to me starving. Fortunately, the zoo allows guests to bring in beverages and snacks. I highly encourage utilizing this option because the food and drink prices at the zoo are outrageous. The nice thing is if you have your own water bottle, the cafes will refill it with cold water for you! (Free of charge!) The San Diego Zoo is very large and it can become exhausting trying to walk to all the exhibits. Luckily they have a bus tour that lasts roughly 30 minutes that will take you around the park and give your feet a break. You learn some fun facts too! For example, did you know that the zoo is also a botanical garden! Many visitors come specifically to look at the beautiful plants at the zoo. 🙂
The only downside to the World Famous San Diego Zoo is that the animals don’t always want to see you as much as you want to see them. They don’t always want to come out of hiding to be front and center. Bummer, I know. But I guess that’s just a reason to keep coming back! In 2017, they will have a new penguin habitat, so I will definitely be back by then. But for now, it was time to depart and continue exploring the city.