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An Unforgettable Evening at the San Diego Zoo Elephant Odyssey

May 29th, 2009 by bsmith | Filed under San Diego Adventures, San Diego Day Trips, San Diego Zoo, Special Events.
My New Elephant Friend, San Diego Zoo

My New Elephant Friend, San Diego Zoo

Last Friday evening my family and I had the chance to attend the Elephant Odyssey VIP party at the San Diego Zoo on behalf of Family Adventure Guidebooks.  Justin, my oldest, loved being a VIP. He  showed everyone my badge announcing “We’re VIPs!” at every opportunity.  Very embarrassing!  We all had a great time.  The food was  delicious.  The kids got airbrush tattoos and rode home cuddling the soft woolly mammoths that we discovered in the elegant swag bags.  The kids also enjoyed some close animal encounters.
Destiny and Justin's Avian Adventure

Destiny and Justin's Avian Adventure

Destiny Meets a Marsupial

Destiny Meets a Marsupial

 

One of the most interesting parts of our visit was the opportunity to explore the Conrad Prebys Elephant Management Facility that is located in the center of the exhibit.  I have read that there has been some controversy about whether zoological institutions  can care for elephants in captivity, but I must say that this structure was pretty comprehensive.  The bottom was like a huge open air barn.  The elephants respond to their keeper’s call, and come in for check ups, husbandry, and training.  When the elephants are not in the care center, it is sealed off so visitors can get a closer look.  My four year old Jared and I enjoyed peeking into the laundry room and seeing the zoo keeper’s boots.

Another hi-light came as I went in search of the zoo’s PR person.  I walked back towards the entrance to the exhibit and came upon a tired preschooler running back and forth in front of the glass jaguar enclosure.  The playful jaguar on the other side of the glass joined his new found little friend in doing laps.  It was an amazing sight.  If you have the opportunity to make it to Night Zoo this summer, it is worth a visit.  Many of the animals were more active  and fun to watch as we prepared to leave the park.

San Diego Zoo Elephant Management Facility from a Distance

San Diego Zoo Elephant Management Facility from a Distance

 Even Zookeepers Need to do Laundry

Even Zookeepers Need to do Laundry

Even if a swag bag full of woolly mammoths and a picture frame made out of elephant poop is not in your future, I would highly recommend checking out the new exhibit.  When the Monterey Bay Aquarium first opened its emphasis on featuring the history and wildlife of the surrounding ecosystems was revolutionary.  The San Diego Zoo is taking a similar tact with this new exhibit.   The entrance to the exhibit teaches visitors about pre-historic San Diego.  Recently, fossilized skulls and bones of Columbian Mammoths were unearthed during a construction project in downtown San Diego.  The Elephant Odyssey  uses giant life-size statues of Columbian Mammoths and other prehistoric creatures to give visitors a sense of what San Diego life was like before humans.  These statues make for a great photo op. They can also cause a stir.  In the latest edition of Zoo Nooz, Rick Schwartz the Elephant Odyssey Ambassador noted that he got some strange looks as he escorted the models from Wisconson to San Diego.

Jenny Mehlow who works in media relations at the zoo recommends visiting the exhibit early in the day.  She also suggested riding the Skyfari Aerial Tram to get there.  I whole heartedly agree!   Here are some pictures of our own Skyfari adventure:

Waiting for the Skyfari Tram

Waiting for the Skyfari Tram

We Got the Elephant Tram.  How Cool is That?

We Got the Elephant Tram. How Cool is That?

View of Balboa Park from Skyfari Tram

View of Balboa Park from Skyfari Tram

Thanks to my good friend Deb at San Diego Momma for securing me an invitation to this spectacular event. Check out her fun take on the VIP party entitled This Post is Made With Real Poo .  Other San Diego Mom bloggers who did great posts about the event are Tonya, Mel, and Sondra.

I am including this post, albeit belatedly,  in my friend Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup.  Funny, her post this week is also about a very big creature.  Stop by and check out wonderful photgraphs and writing from around the world.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

PS Please pray for my friend Deana.  She is having trouble getting enough white blood cells to receive a potentially life saving procedure.

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