Sunday, July 28, 2013

Adventuring // San Diego Safari Park

San Diego Safari Park // Entrance 

This. We bought the tickets to the San Diego Safari Park in early May. We've been looking forward to this since before school ended.

San Diego Safari Park // Guest Services 

Steph was kind enough to drive up to Westwood Thursday night and pick me up for the weekend. I got to spend Friday with her and her family: biking around Long Beach in the morning, going grocery-shopping with her and her mom in the afternoon, and dinner at Bruxie's with her and Charity in the evening. The entire clan is so sweet and welcoming; thanks, Steph's family, you're amazing!

San Diego Safari Park // Steph 

After a nonsensical speaker phone call Friday night, in which Steph copy-pasted from her phone to her computer {think about it... think about it...}, we decided that she and I had to leave the house by 7:30 AM to get to the zoo around opening time. So. Early.

On the upside, we ended up making great time and got to the entrance about half an hour earlier than expected. The above is Steph's face when we texted the guys and found out they were still eating breakfast, twenty minutes away. Fine. Then we'll just go in without you.

She's eating a Guava Roll from Porto's if you were curious. Excellent breakfast of champions.

San Diego Safari Park // Decorated Walkway 

Reason #8942 Why This Girl is The Bestest: In the car ride to the Safari Park, I happened to mention that I hung out with a few other friends four days in a row earlier in the summer. Whoa. That's a lot. Yeah, but Steph, during the school year, I saw you basically every day for giant chunks of the day... Oh. That's true... I guess you can have other friends. But I'm the bestest, right? But, of course, dear.

She knows she's loved.

San Diego Safari Park // Steph and the Armadillo 

At the Animal Ambassador stage towards the entrance of the park, this guy was discussing armadillos and letting people see them up close. He posed for pictures with the armadillo, but I think this candid one is better than the one we posed for... Rawwwwr, Imma eatchu, human! It looks like it's launching itself at Steph's head. Heh.

San Diego Safari Park // Sleepy Armadillo

Too much excitement. Sleepy armadillo. It's actually pretty adorable.

San Diego Safari Park // Elephant Mimicry

This girl. Master at mimicry. You should see her at the Huntington Gardens with bonsai trees.

San Diego Safari Park // Alert Meerkat 

Meerkats! I don't think they were super awake either. All the animals seem to still be sleepy at nine in the morning. This was the only meerkat people-watching when we walked by... and he lay down a second after this picture and took a nap in the sunshine.

San Diego Safari Park // Pelican Yoga Collage 

You might need to click on this series of pictures to really get a good look at this pelican's elaborate morning routine. Steph said he was doing yoga. After spending the night sitting on a rock, I would guess your legs would be pretty asleep.
San Diego Safari Park // Rhino Statue 

Hey look. The guys showed up around 10 AM, an hour after Steph and I got there, with Stephen's little brother in tow. He's the one not looking at the camera-- his picture-dodging skills are well-honed. Kid after my own heart.

Five seconds after we all met up, Steph realized that her ticket had gotten lost somewhere between the entrance turnstiles and where we were standing. So off she and I went to see if we could get a replacement ticket since it's needed to ride the tram. Didn't even stop to meet Timothy or explain where we were disappearing to... the guys apparently just shrugged, went to watch the meerkats, and eventually made their way to this rhino where they people-watched. Unfazed.

 San Diego Safari Park // Treehouse and Waterfall

Guest services were able to reprint Steph's ticket, but we teased her about it the rest of the day. What are best friends for, if not to give you a hard time?

Also. Can I have a treehouse like that? 'Kay, thanks.

San Diego Safari Park // Red River Hog 

This is a Red River Hog. I'm not sure what the original purpose for that hanging thing is, but he was using it as a scratching post. He'd nose it so it rolled across one side of his back, then it'd circle around and roll across the other side. Smart piggie.

 San Diego Safari Park // Fat Goat in Petting Area 

So. Fat. For some reason, Steph, Tommy, and Stephen just HAD to find the fattest animal in each exhibit and exclaim over it. This is the largest goat in the petting area. They're so fascinated with it. It was rather huge.

 San Diego Safari Park // Village Playground

Every village playground needs a friendly longhorn/ox/buffalo art piece.

San Diego Safari Park // Elephant Love 

Elephant love! There was a baby elephant, too, that was super cute.

You should know that there is a lot of walking involved with wandering the Safari Park. We saw an awful lot of small children and pregnant women who didn't look too happy. Part of it could've been the heat, but the amount of walking probably didn't help either. So... just be forewarned.

Tommy had killed his ankle earlier in the week on the first day of Regen, and we had joked that we could get him a wheelchair and Steph could push it {which is dangerous. Cause it's Steph}. By the end of the day, not fully joking anymore. Recurring themes of this zoo trip? Steph's lost ticket, ALL the pudgy animals, and long-term borrowing someone's stroller/wheelchair.

San Diego Safari Park // Warthog 

Unlike those around me, I wouldn't say this warthog is ugly. Cause it's not really. What I will say is that it needed a major haircut. Not sure how one would go about accomplishing that, though, since I don't think it would take kindly to "Hello, Mr Warthog, if you could just stand still for a moment while I shave the hair on your back..."

 San Diego Safari Park // Waterfall

You know how Ron Weasley freaks out in the second Harry Potter movie and says, "Why spiders? Why couldn't it be 'follow the butterflies'?" Yeah, Steph wouldn't be too delighted about that option either. There was a section of the Safari Park that was full of flowers and very attractive to butterflies. I'm pretty sure Steph ran through that entire section.

San Diego Safari Park // African Stampede

Our first time on the tram, the giraffes started running across the field and once the giraffes start running, everybody starts running. Since giraffes are so tall, they can see a lot farther than everybody else and are therefore used as nature's warning system to the other animals.

San Diego Safari Park // Alert Animals

Notice everyone on alert here.

San Diego Safari Park // Running Giraffes

Giraffes are awkward when they run.

San Diego Safari Park // Rhino Mom and Baby

THEY HAD A BABY RHINO. He's about six months, six hundred pounds. And so cute.

San Diego Safari Park // Lemur Walk 

We specifically planned our trip so that it occurred after the lemur exhibit opened. Zoboomafoo? Yeah, we're fans.

However, we were a bit disappointed. We had to sanitize our hands before entering and were required to wash our hands again after leaving the exhibit even though we touched nothing... Which might have been totally fine and worth it if the three lemurs in the exhibit had even been awake. Nope. They were sprawled out, fast asleep, when we walked through. Sigh.

San Diego Safari Park // Condor Ridge 

This is everyone walking up to Condor Ridge. The view is pretty amazing up there. And one of the birds had its wings spread out for ages, just sunning itself. My goodness, their wingspan is massive.

San Diego Safari Park // Deer Friend 

Coming back down from there, we came across this lovely deer, just hanging out, eating greenery, no fences. It was very people-friendly, in that it didn't really care when a crowd started to gather and people started getting closer and closer to take pictures. One woman was within touching distance of its head, and it just kept munching. Impressive, I guess?

By this point, we were all pretty tired of walking around, but not entirely ready to leave yet. So we decided to see if we could ride the tram again, even though the attendants had already marked our tickets the first time around. Turns out, you can!

The other four knocked out pretty fast, basically as soon as the tram started moving, and stayed that way until we had to get off. I took more pictures, but this time with Stephen's DSLR, so I can't show you those. Once we got off the tram, we were pretty done, so we headed out to the car to go to dinner and then back to Westwood.

San Diego Safari Park // Lemur Picture 

This is the best and only group picture we got all day. I have a lemur on my head. It's pretty great.


Notes/Tips on San Diego Safari Park:
+ Parking is ten dollars per car. Getting a close parking spot isn't hard, but there's a tram for those who did park farther out if you don't want to walk from your car to the entrance. Which seems strange to me, since you're going to have to walk around inside anyways. What difference is that extra five minutes?

+ DON'T LOSE YOUR TICKET. You need it to ride the tram inside. Unless you didn't want to ride the tram anyways. In which case, go ahead, lose your ticket.

+ Don't wear impractical shoes/clothing/things that will give you a funny tanline. Because it does get hot during the day and you're doing a lot of walking in areas with very little shade. You will live for the spots where mist is spraying over you. {I was going to say misters, but that sounded really strange... What IS the proper term for those things?}

+ Bring water or something else to drink. If not into the park with you, then at least have it in your car. Steph and I brought food and stuff to drink, so we all got our hands stamped for park reentry, went out to the car, and ate lunch outside the entrance in the shade. Tommy took a nap while we tried to see how many leaves and twigs we could place on him or in his pockets before he woke up.

+ Bring quarters and shiny pennies! Because there are smooshed {smushed?} penny machines all over the park. I was excited.

+ Go with people who don't mind wandering. The park is pretty spread out with lots of different trails that could potentially take you to the same area, so explore! That's why you went to the zoo, right?

+ I have no pictures of the okapi, but they're amazing. Tommy and I wanted to take one home. And for forty dollars, you kind of can. There is a giant plushie of an okapi in the gift shop. Very soft.

+ It's apparently flamingo egg season because there was a zookeeper who was waiting for the flamingos to stand up so she could use her binoculars to see if (1) there was an egg under them and (2) if there was an egg, what's the ID number on the bird. That's something they probably didn't tell her about in the job description.

+ The right side of the tram is the one that's perpetually in the sun, so if you were looking to sit in the shade during your ride, that's not the place. Also, if you have a larger group, see if you can sit in the section that's connected to the driver. There are a couple of rows that face backwards in that section so you can all sit together.

+ The cheetah show is okay. If you're not a fan of crowds, this isn't for you, because it feels like everyone in the park gathers into that small area to watch the cheetah run at 3:30 PM. We saw a few people standing at the top of the elevator platform near the lemurs... They not only had an aerial view of the entire run, but they had shade and misters {seriously. What's the technical term?}. I'm not sure if they could hear the commentary, but they did have a decent view.

+ There are thorny bushes along a bunch of the pathways in the park. Don't push/hip-check your friends off the trail. That's not nice. No matter how tempted you are.

Love these kids. Say it every time, but that's because it's true. I have a bunch of pictures of them I didn't include here, but just know that we're a goofy bunch when we get together. I'm thankful for them and hopefully our next adventure happens soon! A month and a half of not seeing them is not okay when we're used to seeing each other every day...

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