A Day at the San Diego Zoo

Travel

The world famous San Diego Zoo is a big place. Be prepared to spend a full day here (and take a nap after leaving) or a couple of shorter days to spread it out. The zoo has made many changes over the years. So, if it’s been a while, now might be a good time to visit the zoo.

The newest change is the additon of the exhibit Africa Rocks. This is now one of my favorite parts of the zoo. Among the highlights in Africa rocks are the African Penguins, Lemurs, Hamadryas Baboons, Meerkats, Black-Headed Weavers, and Bee-Eaters. I really enjoyed being able to go into the aviary and take photos of the beautiful, colorful birds on exhibit.

African Penguins
Aviary – Africa Rocks

There seems always to be informative persons stationed at the orangutan and gorilla exhibits that give interesting facts about the animals and answer any questions guests may have. This makes the viewing of the animals a bit more meaningful and educational. I highly recommend staying a while at these two exhibits in particular to observe the animals for a while.

We were fortunate to visit the Koalas right after they ate and before they were to drift off to sleep. Quite a bonus for us as the Koalas are usually sleeping when we arrive. It was wonderful to see them active for a little while.

Koala

The food at the zoo is EXPENSIVE, however, outside food and drinks can be brought in. I highly recommend packing a lunch and bringing water to drink. There are plenty of places to sit down and enjoy lunch.

If walking gets to be too much, bus tours of the zoo are also available. Shows and animal ambassador talks are also available to see each day. The schedules can be picked up at the entry as they change daily.

For more information on the San Diego Zoo go to there website: https://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/visit

FREE FLIGHT EXOTIC BIRD SANCTUARY

Travel

Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary located in Del Mar, California is a fun place to go to interact with exotic birds. The purpose of this non-profit is to provide a sanctuary for birds and allow them to interact with the public. Some of these birds have out-lived their owners while others have been removed from a less than desirable home environment. Some birds are not adoptable, while others can be adopted to a good home.

The birds are in an outdoor area with a koi pond. Some are on perches, some are in cages. Most can be held and fed. Some of the birds are not as friendly and are not allowed to be held. I was told that most all of the birds can talk to some extent. One says full sentences, one mimics two different rings of a telephone, and my favorite said “hello, pretty bird” and gave a hearty laugh. A couple of the birds were quite old. One was 71 years old.

The volunteers at the sanctuary were very knowledgeable about the birds and I learned some interesting facts about the birds. Not only were the volunteers knowledgeable, some of the other visitors were as well. One woman we talked with goes to Free Flight twice a week and was very familiar with the birds and what they could say.

Looking to get some hands-on experience with birds? Check-out Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary. https://www.freeflightbirds.org

Snow Year Round in Yellowstone

Travel

It’s summer and a great time to plan a vacation. Perhaps the perfect time to visit a national park. Wouldn’t Yellowstone be lovely this time of year?

My family and I set off for Yellowstone National Park in late June (we just got back). I checked the weather before leaving so I would know what to pack. I was expecting it to be on the cooler side but was blind-sided on our last day at the park when it started to snow. Snow in June! Really!

I spoke with a park ranger who greeted us with, “Welcome to the first day of summer”. I asked him if the weather was typical for this time of year. He said that it could snow every month of the year in Yellowstone due to the elevation. Oh!

Luckily, the day before, we traveled on a road that was now closed for the day due to the snow. On that particular road we had been lucky enough to see four bears. Timing is everything at Yellowstone.

Now for a few tips for having a good time at Yellowstone. First of all, be patient. Unexpected traffic delays can occur due to animal sightings by motorists. Also, it takes time to spot the animals you are hoping to see. Second, be flexible. Weather may close roads and rerouting your agenda may be necessary. If you are staying outside the park, you may want to consider stopping somewhere to get a picnic lunch to bring into the park. It is not likely to be around a restaurant at the time of lunch, although there are places to eat in the park if you plan for it. However, just in case you get stuck in traffic, be sure to have plenty of water and some snacks to tie you over. Lastly, be sure to prepare for all types of weather in the park. Remember, it can snow every month of the year in Yellowstone.

Where the Buffalo Roam

Travel

Hoping to see buffalo on your trip to Yellowstone National Park? You need not worry. I would say it would be difficult not to see buffalo at Yellowstone National Park.

Buffalo tend to roam the park in herds, however, can be found in smaller groups or even solo. Of the three days in the park, we saw buffalo every day. We visited Yellowstone at the end of June and there were a lot of baby buffalo. These little guys were a lighter caramel color and resembled baby cows. Terribly cute!

When visiting Yellowstone, allow extra time to get around the park. Why? Traffic jams occur, of which we were part of on more than one occasion. These traffic jams can cause cars to back-up for over an hour for sure. What causes these traffic jams? Animal sightings by people wanting to snap a photo and buffalo crossing the roads or standing in the road.

The really long traffic jams are most likely due to buffalo crossing the roads. Be especially carefully of the baby buffalo when they are walking along the road. They obviously do not have as much experience at crossing roads and while they tend to stick pretty close to their mother, will run a bit more sporadically into traffic.

We spotted one buffalo on his journey swimming across a body of water. He then approached two other buffalo and kicked up some dirt and made some vocals to the other buffalo. They eventually all settled down and seemed cordial to each other. Very interesting to see.

Buffalo are a huge animal. They are also a wild animal. Having said that, when you are in the park, be sure to give them their distance for a safe viewing experience. Enjoy nature at it’s best in Yellowstone National Park!