My Life as a Traveler

Wild Animal Park

Today we rented a car and made the 30 minute trip north to the San Diego Wild Animal Park. This excursion is sort of a Holy Grail one for me – I remember when it opened up in 1972. I was 12 and I wanted to visit it soooo much. We were living in Oregon at the time, and San Diego was not on our family vacation travel list. We did not have family there, and it had neither casinos nor fishing. Too bad.

But today! Today I get to go and we’re heading up the freeway to the Park. We get there early enough to get on the first tram through the huge savannah. This park is 1800 acres, much of which is free roaming territory without fences. Rhinos and giraffes, gazelles and buffalo frolic together in one huge wonderful African backyard. First, we see the cheetahs (ok, separated from, but still able to see the gazelles in the distance.) Then, we come upon one of the remaining 8 rare Northern White Rhinos on the planet — they are feared extinct in the wild.  The zebras are also kept separate from the other animals, as they are supposedly very antagonistic and competitive and bother the other animals. Two giraffes are having a neck fight, sparring for fun and practice. Their heads are hard and I hate to imagine how much it will hurt if you’ve got one swinging at you.

We see the bird show and the amusing animal show where we can see a cheetah up close. There’s a baby cheetah, several times larger than a domesticated kitten, but fluffier, in the nursery. Morgan is quite taken with it.

We enjoyed seeing the lion perched atop his own personal jeep, the Dahl sheep who was the king of the 30 gallon empty water jug, and the gorillas thinking gorilla thoughts. Lots of birds here, too, although they don’t quite hold the attention of the 14 year old.

We had pretty much done the Wild Animal Park and had a little extra time before we needed to return the car. I reset the GPS to the discount shopping mall and we finally found some swim trunks for Morgan. He decided he had water shoes at home so didn’t need any sandals.

On the way out of the mall, Morgan was drawn to some heavy metal music. It came from a store called Hot Topic, who was hosting a live local metal band. I have heard enough Metallica and Nirvana to appreciate the genre and stood there among the black-clad, tattooed, nose and I’m sure other places pierced crowd, bobbing my head like the rest of them. Fun. Like the zoo, it was interesting to see this crowd in their habitat!

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