The trumpeting sound of the elephants and the swinging sensation from monkeys and other primates were calling our name! Our first day of Spring Break in southern California was spent exploring all the animals at the San Diego Zoo. And after a long day walking around, we enjoyed the fine craft beer from Ballast Point Brewing Company in Little Italy.
Visiting the San Diego Zoo – March 25, 2016
Nestled in Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo is 99 acres and has more than 600 species of animals. That’s a lot to cover in a day, but we were up for the challenge. Merri Beth, Zander, Coco, and I were up and ready to explore one of the top rated zoo’s in the world.
Our day started off getting breakfast in the hotel, then packing up our luggage. Luckily, we didn’t sprawl that much so packing up was easy. We checked our bags at the front desk and drove about 10 minutes to the zoo. Parking was free (bonus) and we purchased our tickets at the entrance. Once we were in the zoo, we briefly studied the map and quickly hustled over to the Asia section of the zoo to visit the Pandas.
Our advanced research said the line to see the Pandas can get crazy, so we wanted to get that out of the way first. We spent about 15 minutes with the Pandas and satisfied MB’s zoo craving for the day. After seeing the pair of Pandas, we saw some big cats, then made our way over to the Northern Frontier to see the Polar Bears and ended up seeing some large predator-like birds on the way.
The next section was Elephant Odyssey where we saw a jaguar (Coco’s favorite), a leopard, a herd of elephants, snakes, and a neat little exhibit of fossils and tar pits. We had already worked up an appetite and grabbed some lunch at the Sabertooth Grill. Beer on tap was a huge bonus!
It was time to explore the second half of the zoo. We took a stroll through the Outback, where there were numerous Koalas napping in trees, then to the Urban Jungle, where there were Rhinos, Giraffes, Kangaroos, and more.
The last major section we wanted to explore was the Lost Forest. We meandered through several trails including Treetop Way, Hippo Trail, and Tiger Trail. There were lots of different primates, a hippo, lions, tigers, and even flamingos. The monkeys were playful and we got to see a Orangutan up close to the glass.
On our way out, we stopped by the Reptile House to see snakes, frogs, and a Komodo Dragon. Close by were the alligators and tortoises, which are always cool to see.
The family had a great time seeing all the animals and learning about them at the San Diego Zoo. Overall, money well spent and we thoroughly enjoyed our time on a beautiful day in Southern California. Next stop, Ballast Point Brewing Company.
Ballast Point Brewing Company
After a full day at the zoo, we were meeting a colleague at Ballast Point Brewing Company in Little Italy. It was a short drive from the zoo, but parking was sort of a nightmare. After making a few laps around the block, we finally found parking a few blocks away. We didn’t mind the walk, we just didn’t know the best place to park.
Fellow open source advocate, Philip Ballew, was already there waiting on us. We stood in line, ordered some beers, and found a table. The kids were behaving nicely and I was able to catch up with Philip. I just saw him at the Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE for open source geeks) in January, but he was also giving us some good tips for San Diego.
And the beers. Wow, the beers were great. MB and I were tasting up a storm! The kids were enjoying their special drinks as well. We ended up getting some snacks to eat and perused the gear and apparel in their store.
Onward to Oceanside
We had a full day at the zoo and Ballast Point, but we needed to relocate to the VRBO condo in Oceanside where we would be staying for the next few days. It was about a 40 minute drive in moderate traffic on the I-5. The only downside, we had to wait an additional 30 minutes to get into the condo with one kid passed out in the car and another that had to use the bathroom. Oh the joys of family vacations!