san diego, day two

Welcome to part deux of our San Diego adventure! Sorry it’s taken me so long to get these up but we took a LOT of photos, as per usual.
We decided to explore the world-famous San Diego Zoo on our second day, and it did not disappoint. We’re lucky we actually made it there, however, because on our way to the zoo we got lost I got us lost and we nearly crossed the border into Mexico! We exited the highway just in time, but Conrad was none too pleased with my map skills. Oops! 
After a stern scolding (just kidding, we went to H&M!), we finally made it to the Zoo and guess who was the first to welcome us?

Conrad the Tasmanian Devil (not a wombat as I’d stated in the last post)!

Much like his namesake, he was a little camera shy, and preferred his cool, dark cave to the relentless sun.

Next up, we spotted some cuddly koalas napping in their trees. How cute are they?

Slowly, we made our way around the Zoo, stopping at every animal and taking 1,000,000 photos of each one.

One of my favorite stops was the panda exhibit, featuring Gao Gao and Bai Yun. 

They were so fluffy and adorable!

A couple giraffe friends, followed by flamingos.

Kangaroos, just chillin’.

The cheetah exhibit was really cool. The Zoo has what they call AA’s (Animal Ambassadors),a special group of animals that are paired with exotic animals to train and accompany them.

From the Zoo’s website:

The science behind dog and cheetah pairing is something that the San Diego Zoo first been experimenting with 30 years ago when zoologists began to notice the calming effects that dogs had on cheetahs. About four years ago, the zoo kicked off their first official pairing by introducing a shelter rescue dog, Hopper, to a three-month old cheetah named Amara. The two have been inseparable ever since.

The pairing process occurs with the matching of a three-month-old cheetah and a six-month-old dog. Zoologists look for shelter dogs that have a good disposition and a naturally calm demeanor when selecting cheetah companions. The first step is to very slowly make an introduction, allowing the dog and cheetah to look at and smell each other through a partition in adjacent habitats. Next, they are given the opportunity for brief supervised visits where handlers allow them to sniff and investigate each other. “Pretty soon, when someone throws a ball, they both go after it and when the people go home for the night, the cheetah gets to cuddle up to his big ball of fur friend and use him like a pillow,” says senior animal trainer, Carlee Westbrook. The dog keeps the cheetah calm and relaxed and the cheetah provides companionship for the dog. It’s a win-win situation.

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get a good picture, but in the enclosure was a cheetah and a yellow lab, just hanging out! It was really amazing to see and such an innovative way to train the animals.

We moved along to meerkats, tapirs, and elephants…

Above is an African elephant in the same enclosure as an Asian elephant (first photo), which was also very interesting, as zoos usually have one or the other, and never living together. Apparently, they get along great!

Next up, cats.

Unfortunately, it was midday when we saw these guys and they were mostly all asleep. See lion, below.

^^ I find this photo hilarious.

Luckily, the jaguars were up and about!

Finally, we made it to the reptile house, but not before admiring some sassy ninety-year-olds.

“Whatchu lookin at, punk?”

The reptile house, as predicted, was both fascinating (snakes, lizards, Komodo dragons!) and terrifying (frogs, toads!). Kids and adults alike did not hesitate to laugh at me when I screamed after seeing a toad or frog jump (I HATE FROGS AND TOADS).

Exhausted and parched, we eventually left the Zoo in search of some libations.

After displaying more of my map-reading skills, we eventually found ourselves Pacific Beach! This was totally unlike any of the beaches we’d been to so far. It’s touristy, full of people, and the quintessential ‘party’ beach. Basically, AMAZING for people-watching!

What time is it?
Margarita time!!

What? They had a two-for-one special….
Sufficiently buzzed, we strolled on the beach for a while before heading back to our beach town where we ate at an amazing Italian restaurant before, again, crashing in bed.

Kisses! Stay tuned for more!

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