Here is part two of my solo adventures in San Diego. Instead of going to see more museums at Balboa Park, I decided to head over to San Diego Zoo.
I hadn’t been to a zoo since I was a teenager in Japan, so I was kind of excited to see the famous San Diego Zoo. My main goal was to see the Giant Pandas. This zoo is huge and I walked the entirety of it probably several times but it was worth it. The day started out with peacocks, flamingos and ducks. I also got to take a ride on the guided bus tour, allowing me to see where everything was before I started walking around. I also rode the Skyfari (cable cars that cut across the park) a few times to save my feet. The view from there is amazing and totally worth the sometimes long wait. You can see the entire zoo and beyond into Balboa Park.
After the bus tour, I saw the elephants, rhinos, giraffes, kolas, koi, zebras, kangaroos, camels, large wild cats, red pandas and then the famous and super cute pandas. To see the pandas you have to wait in line and if you’re short like me, you have to constantly be jumping up and down to see over other people’s heads. I loved watching the pandas and felt the time there was too short. While I didn’t get the best photos (see sentence about being short), I did have a great time and afterwards had fun looking at (and buying) the cute panda items from the gift shop. (They weren’t all for me, I swear).
Afterwards I went off to see some fish and then the birds in the special enclosed glass aviaries. The zoo has two, Owen’s Aviary and Scripp’s Aviary. You will see some amazing and downright odd looking birds there. I then visited the monkey/gorilla areas and later stopped by the reptile display. I’m not a big fan of snakes, but I love turtles, lizards, geckos and other types of reptiles. My next stop had me get up and close with some hippos, which are beyond huge. I’m sure the size of their head alone would equal my whole body.
After that I wandered around seeing various different animals until I found myself in the arctic section of the zoo. There I saw polar bears and moose. I then saw some various types of antelope before hopping aboard the Skyfari and viewing more reptiles, plus some frogs. I came upon some tortoises that were as big as me and what I also think was a Komodo Dragon or at least related to it.
I then went down to the children’s area because they had cute goats and miniature horses. Then I visited their bug display, saw some parrots and found the majestic lions. The lions were way bigger than I had imagined and I’m sure they could have easily seen me a snack size. After that I wandered around for little while longer and then headed down to the main gift shop at the zoo exit. While I would have loved to stay a little longer, I had to head down to the convention center to see the ESRI map exhibit that was open to guests of attendees for one night only.
After walking around the zoo all day, I was pretty tired but also very excited to finally see at least part of the conference. The map display did not disappoint. It was huge! I had never been in a place so large and with so many maps. It was truly a map maker/geographer’s paradise.
Once I had seen all I could of the map exhibit, I and my fellow LB student went to the CSULB Meetup. Usually on the Wednesday of the ESRI conference week, professors and students from CSULB meet at the Kansas City BBQ restaurant to talk, eat and have a good time. This restaurant is located directly across from the Seaport Village station on the Green Line. I had a lot of fun hanging out with other students and listening to the professors roast each other. Plus the food was delicious. It was a great way to end the day.
I’ll have my adventures from Day Four in part three of this post.