Traveling With Kids – San Diego Zoo – Animal Magnetism

Animal Magnetism

When in the zoo, see the animals. Here they are.

IMG_2229 (800x598)The elephants I like. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world is worried that one is just swaying side to side. She says that’s a bad sign.

I think the elephants are ok. I say they have each other. They are super social.

She says, yeah, but what if they hate the other elephants? Like one’s from Surrey or something and the rest are from Kerrisdale?

Good point.

IMG_0518 (800x600)We watch an elephant getting hosed down. She seems to be loving it. She must be from Surrey. Apparently not all elephants love it, though. They keepers do their nails sometimes. Like a spa. I think the Kerrisale elephants like that. But not today. No one’s getting their nails done.

IMG_2235 (800x598)The boys find a huge elephant statue. When they stood underneath it, the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world and I get the giggles.

This is a nicer picture. The first one we took made them look like they were getting a semen sample.

IMG_2236 (800x598)However, the boys love to touch things, to climb on things, and this zoo understands that. No, no, they don’t let children play with the lions (much to the youngest’s disappointment) or throw poo back at the monkeys (again, much to the disappointment of the youngest), but they have animal statues or mock construction equipment to climb on, so we let them burn off excess energy by hopping on everything.

And hey, while they climb, we sit down. Win-win! We encourage them to climb for as long as they want. Sadly, they get bored and we have to walk again.

The oldest says horses in real life are bigger than in minecraft. I think that’s a good observation.

IMG_3651 (800x600)We a see a camel.

No one cares.

IMG_3653 (600x800)We spot meerkats hiding in tunnels they dug. They are cute. One looks like me on a sunny day, lying down with his belly up. The oldest admires how many holes they have dug. He is, afterall, a minecraft guy. Diggy-diggy holes. It’s an important skill.

We walk right by the big lions and don’t even see them. I still have no idea how we did this. However, we later discover they were, surprise, surprise, sleeping (and I think hiding from us.)

As we go into the reptile and big-ass bug area, the youngest decides it’s a good idea to bang on the glass to get the attention of a scorpion.

Outside the reptile area, the oldest talks to a cage full of birds. He has a love/hate relationship with birds. As long as they are caged, though, he’s happy to have a chat with them. When they’re flying at his eyes, not so much.

IMG_0511 (800x600)We all think capparbarras are cute.

I ask the oldest what he thinks a dung beetle eats.

He looks at me like, well, by now you should know.

IMG_3662 (800x600)We find a cage full of monkeys. The youngest declares he wants a monkey. He thinks if he was a monkey, he’d be the one leaping from branch to branch. I think he’d be the one throwing poo. The oldest thinks he’d be the monkey sitting and thinking about things. They both think that their mom would be the monkey licking her face. I laugh. Out loud. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world scowls at all of us.

We watch a honey badger play with his toys. We have to drag the youngest away. I dunno if he likes the badger or wants to play with the toys.

We shake our heads as a three morons make whistling noises at the animals right by a sign that says, hey moron, please do not make loud noises, these animals are sensitive to noises. I don’t want to stereotype, but fat, red faced and white. The mom comes by and yells at the top of her voice. Be quiet! The animals hate loud noises!

Does she get the irony?

IMG_0532 (800x600)We see the cutest ugly things in the world. Wart hogs. We see a little one. But he’s photo-shy. Maybe if we yelled at the top of our lungs we could have made him stop running around.

We stop for food. Not surprisingly, the Asian restaurant has chicken strips. We are thankful. Surprisingly, the chicken teriyaki is pretty good. The Prettiest-girl-in-the world says the ginger chicken wrap is as well.

The oldest braves the PUBLIC bathroom by himself. This is a big deal.

I wash out the plastic souvenir cups. We now have a very fine collection of them. We will definitely need another bag when we go home.

IMG_3663 (600x800) (2)With tummies full and feet a bit sore, we go in search of a bus to take us around the rest of the park.

I won’t say it was only because we all were feet-sore. but there was no way in hell we were going to walk more, so, yeah, we took the tour bus.

More to come.









Traveling With Kids – San Diego Zoo Safari – Tour Guides

The Expected Tour Guide

IMG_0229We’d made the safari tour. I would have bet against it. I sat beside the tour guide, while the boys and the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world sat at the back. Like tailgunners.

I can’t report how the boys thought about what they saw, at least until I talked to them afterwards and, by then, it wasn’t their pure, immediate responses, which I so love.

We saw rhinos and zebras and camels and all manner of deer-like creatures, and birds and giraffes and wild horses like the Mongols tamed and cows with the hugest horns I’ve ever seen.

However, being beside the tour guide, I felt obligated to always respond to stuff she said. I dunno why I felt that need, but I did. “So, over here you’ll see two indian thing-deerie things peeing on the tree,” and I would say, “Cool.” “And by the side of the road, there’s a wagawagagnome licking its testicles.” “Wonderful.”

IMG_0232I even answered questions. “Can everyone hear me.” “Yes,” I said, sitting right next to her. “Has anyone seen a baby Rhino?” “Only on TV.”

However, after two stops where we got out in the rare rays of sun, the youngest decided he wanted to sit up front. And the fun began.

See, contrary to what his teachers may think, the youngest actually knows everything. At first he was a bit shy to share his expansive knowledge but all it took was one person in the back responding to a question and giving the wrong answer.

Tour guide, “The zipline is the longest zipline in the world.”

The other tourist, “When we were in Whistler, they said it was the longest.”

“Well, actually, there are several zip lines at Whistler,” says the youngest. “Only one was the longest.”

And off he went.

“Rhinos…” began the tour guide as we slowed to watch a pack of them lumber by…

The youngest turned to her. “Well, did you know that Rhinos are endangered?”

“Well, ah, yes, yes they are.”

“I know all about Rhinos.”


“I did a project at school,” he told her. What he forgot to mention was that he had to be hauled to do it kicking and screaming. “There are white rhinos and black rhinos and did you know that they can reach up to 35 miles per hour?”

“Yes, yes I did.”

“And did you know that they…” Well you get the idea.

I loved it. It was hilarious. But he really did know his rhino stuff. Who says school is a waste of time? He also knew a lot about horses, cows, lions and what’s the best popsicle.

We loved seeing all the animals. The youngest told the group all that we do to help save the animals and the environment. “Did you know that we recycle our plastic?”

Tour guide, “That’s great.”

“And did we don’t drink pop. Mom says we can’t.”

“Well, I’m, ah sure, yeah, that helps, too.”

“And we don’t throw things out of the car.”

“And at my dad’s, we bag up all the grass.”

“Also, good…. Ah, anyone else?”

Luckily he did not talk about his plan to use farts to power his cars.

But seeing the animals, once again, up close, in the open, either standing around, or eating or snuggling each other, gave us a much greater appreciation for all living things. Seeing them, made us all want to protect them and made us realize how valuable and amazing life can be on this planet.

IMG_2126The oldest vowed to do better. The youngest vowed to make sure he did.

For me, I loved that they told stories about the animals. These Malaysian deer were rescued from the Boxer rebellion and there were only a dozen in the world, but with careful breeding, we’ve brought them back from extinction and now there are thousands.”

The stories made a difference.

I thought it was a great way to start a day. Little did I know it was just the beginning of what would become the BESTEST DAY ever!