Hey gang! In my last blog I wrote about some great beaches that my wife and I went to check out during our little vacay in San Diego. This particular post is going to be all about the animals.
I am an event photographer in Dallas,, and by no means a wildlife photographer, but I still really enjoy taking photos of animals whenever I can. I have the opportunity to capture moments with my wolf-like pugs pretty regularly, but it’s always good to mix things up a bit. We decided it was a non-negotiable to visit the San Diego Zoo, but wanted to go check out the San Diego Zoo Safari Park as well. I’m so glad we went to both, and actually spent the better part of a day at each of those places.
We hit up the Safari Park first, and it was incredible. The first animals we saw were the tigers, and they had cubs. Now come on, what could get a Dallas event photographer more excited that baby animals? I mean honestly, is there anyone who isn’t a sucker for fuzzy little tiger cubs? I for one am not too manly to admit it.
We managed to walk most of the park in our time there, but the supreme highlight was taking a private safari tour directly through where all of the larger animals hung out. They had a tram that went around the edge of this area, but we literally got up close and personal. It was a three-hour tour that we spent with a few other couples and a super enthusiastic and knowledgeable tour guide. I learned so much about a host of animals, and we even got to feed some of them. The giraffe was awesome, as they have the longest tongue you’ve ever seen, and will basically stop at nothing to grab leaves once they know you have them. I got my picture taken with one (yes, this photographer in Dallas got his photo taken!), and made him work a bit for the leaves so you really could appreciate how crazy their tongues are.
Even wilder had to be the rhinos. There were baby rhinos, which are some of the most adorable/durable looking little animals. The Asian ones looked particularly armor-plated, and were quite impressive. We got to feed and pet one, and I will say that it’s a bit scary to be looking down the mouth of a rhino as you dump two handfuls of apples straight down it’s gullet. She ate them like she was popping M&Ms, and her skin felt just about as tough as you would expect. Fortunately the Dallas photographer in me got shots of Ayns doing this. All in all, a killer experience and it got us super pumped to visit the zoo the next day.
So San Diego is considered one of the best zoos in the country, if not the best, and we could tell why when we visited. All of the environments for the animals were top notch, and they had people stationed at a lot of the exhibits to give us facts about the animals, which only added to the experience. We checked out the pandas first thing, and they were so dang cool. We were fortunate to see them being very active when we visited. The polar bears were so awesome, and the koala area was unbelievable. I’ve never seen so many koalas in my lifetime, there were something like 18 of them hanging out.
My son’s favorite stuffed animal is a hippo, so we put a lot of effort into finding the hippos. The hippo unfortunately decided only to show us their less photogenic side, to the chagrin of this Dallas photographer, but we did get to the pygmy hippos right before they went in for the day, and those things were awesome. We watched one of them cruise right along the bottom in the water of their environment even.
Between all of the animals and the incredible vegetation, it made for the perfect place to spend a day, and I can’t wait until we come back and see it with the kids!