San Diego Zoo Part 2! The Return of the Fun.

Updated: Dec 21, 2020

Let me set the scene.

We are back at the zoo.

I have just seen the majestic elephants.

Now it is time to see the next hidden thing on my list: the carnivorous plants! 

Did you know along with the Safari Park, the Zoo is also a botanical garden? The San Diego Zoological Society is dedicated to saving not only endangered animals; they are also trying to save and study plants. I always love to see the Pincher Plants and of course the Venus Fly Trap.

They also have a bee hive display (without the bees) so you are safe to see how a bee might live.

Now the next sections were the longest leg of the trip so far. Walking past the Meerkats, mostly due to the crowd and also because I like the Safari Parks display better, I laid eyes on the beautiful Black Panther. This is the first time I’ve seen this amazing cat up close. The majestic cat is a sight to behold and seeing one this close is a rare sight

This area is also home to some adorable Clift Dwelling Klipspringers. These look almost like baby goats but don’t let these little fellas fool you! They are full grown! Part of this enclosure was partitioned off for renovations. This makes sense as it was installed well before the newest area - Africa Rocks!


The Africa Rocks exhibition is the newest edition to come to the zoo. Heading from where I was, it is a nice downhill slope. It can be a bit a trudge going uphill. The first primate is the Hamadryas Baboons. These are the very pink-bottomed baboons you may have seen before. Next up on the primate side we’re the Gelada. The hairiest monkeys you'll see who love to pick at the grass and weeds. I’m sure there’s some treats in there too for enrichment!

Next up is another majestic cat - the Leopard. Africa Rocks is home to two Leopards who love to hide in the small channel connecting two enclosures. This massive trail also has another one of my favorite aviaries - featuring the cliff dwelling finches. Walking through here is always filled with activity. There are even two different viewing points - one on the second level and one on the ground floor. There are also many primates here and the next ones are my favorite: the Lemurs. My favorite ones are the Ring Tailed Lemurs. I will say The Safari Park has the best experience with those if Covid19 restrictions are lifted yet it is always a pleasure to see my babies here.

Don’t forget to stop and take a selfie on your way out with the backside of water here as well! Don't worry, the African Dwarf Crocodile wont bother you next door. Continuing downhill we find the African Penguins! Known for withstanding the warmer temperatures, this rather large group is a fun site to see. It is especially fun to see them swim in the massive swimming area! We finish our trip heading up towards the exit on one of the best trails - Bear Canyon. From Sun Bears and Grizzly Bear brothers, I absolutely love these furry friends. You may also be lucky to spot one of the Asian Otters along this uphill climb.


The last leg of the journey takes us past Giraffes and Rhinos and Zebra, Oh My! This area is also home to some additional flamingos and the resident Cheetahs. Now these are not on the Park Map App so most people won't know to look over in this area. The cheetahs on display also have a dog companion they grow up with so you may see a Yellow Lab running around in the enclosure! Past the best friends, you find the Australian Outback with the largest group of Koalas outside of Australia. The males are separated from the females for safety and reproductive monitoring. You can also find some amazing birds and reptiles of Australia here.

To find your way to the exit, you pass the last few animals of the Zoo. The Tasmanian Devil is one of the hardest animal at the zoo to find. I have been multiple times and have seen them maybe 3 times EVER. There are several birds on display along this pathway to the exit. The featured bird though is the Kookaburra Bird. Sometimes you can hear it call from up to a mile away! After passing the Koi Pond, you find yourself back in the middle of the entryway. I had one last stop before leaving - redeeming my free soft serve. Guess what? THEY HAVE PINEAPPLE SOFT SERVE!!! I got mine with a non-dairy vanilla swill. It was scrumptious! Thus concludes our trip. If you got this far, you can enter my Giveaway -EXCLUSIVE to this blog! Enter here:


Now let’s talk real for a bit.

What can I start off with first? I guess I‘ll do the negative aspects first. First of all, I feel like this shouldn’t need to be said at this point - please cover your nose. This has to be the biggest pet peeve I have. I understand it is uncomfortable - believe me my glasses fog up all the time! It’s not too difficult to wear them. Please mask all the way up!

Next observation I had on my trip was the same I experienced in the Safari Park - people will crowd around where the animals are and not move for quite some time leaving it difficult for others to enjoy. Some exhibits will have a volunteer around to help with questions. They rarely assist with moving a crowd. 

Lastly the only other negative of this park was the lack of any mask relaxation zones and the hills you have to climb. The lack of areas to be able to catch a break from the mask, and catch your breath from the hills, is disappointing. Even finding one spot was hard unless you sat down to eat which is not readily available throughout the park.


Lets end out on a good note then. I like to look at the positives and there were a few. First off the new Busy Bee Café is a very nice quick service location. The area is part of a new expansion for the Zoo. The new Children’s Zoo is rapidly underway and this café is only the first aspect.

Next positive, at least for me, is the Reptile house. I am absolutely obsessed with all reptiles. I even had a 10th birthday party where they bring exotic animals over. It’s still one of my favorite birthdays! So with that - I love the Reptile House!

I know I will get some disapproval for saying this - I think its a positive that the Zoo and Safari Park have alcohol available at almost every cart. Now I am not condoning excessive drinking, as it’s normally pretty hot in the parks, please drink responsibly. A cool blended margarita is always refreshing for me though on a hot day. It also allows me to people watch. It’s a fun time all around.

Lastly the positive here was the amount of adorable babies the Zoo has currently. Now the quarantine delays made us miss some of those cute moments so it is nice to see so many still in their toddler stages. The flamingoes playing, cute baby ducks from the Arctic Aviary, and the new baby Hippo, it was a spectacular time to visit!

Your Park Adventurer,

Patrick O’Connor

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