The zoo has lots of fun and active kids activities planned for the month. I hope to make it there sometime in the next few weeks to give you a first hand account, but in the mean time you can visit the San Diego Zoo info site for event details.
Today I’m off to LEGOLAND for their annual Brick or Treat celebration. This fun Halloween themed activity including a Brick or Treating Trail, costume contests, etc. starts today and continues weekends through Halloween.
Yesterday I had the chance to catch the preview of Reptilemania Days at the San Diego Zoo. The zoo is celebrating the opening of a beautiful new enclosure for the Galapagos Tortoises with four days (September 16-19) of reptile oriented fun. I spoke with a zookeeper and learned that this new environment is really benefiting the tortoises. Their shells are much cleaner, and they are exhibiting mating behavior that hasn’t been seen among these animals in quite some time! I’m hoping to cover the hatching of some baby tortoises in the future. If that happy event does occur, the zoo has a special baby enclosure to keep those young ones from being stepped on and increase their chances for survival.
Feeding the Tortoise, San Diego Zoo
The Galapagos tortoises are pretty much the oldest residents of the zoo. One tortoise was 100 years old when he arrived at the Zoo in the 1930′s! New tortoises have been added to the collection by breeding and donations from other zoos. With this new exhibit, Zoo visitors have an opportunity to get up close and personal with these amazing animals. When a docent is present, visitors can feed the turtles carrots and give them a good scratch under the chin. They love that!
San Diego Zookeeper and Tortoise
The Zoo’s amazing staff and volunteers are hard at work making Reptilemania memorable for the Zoo’s visitors. The Zookeeper for the Reptile Area was happy to share her wealth of knowledge regarding tortoises. The Zoo landscaping staff had a booth set up to teach visitors about what tortoises eat. Zoo Ambassador Rick Schwartz had just returned from the Galapagos. Check out the San Diego Zoo Blog for more information about his adventures.
San Diego Zoo Staff Share What's on the Menu
I can hardly wait to bring my kids to Reptilemania this weekend!
Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Round Up. This week Debbie muses about the power of a Waikiki beach to sooth her kids into slumber. Might have to try out the Carlsbad version of that remedy!
The kids and I were invited to the media preview of the Elephant Pool Party at the San Diego Zoo. This fun and mellow event is free with the price of zoo admission. It takes place July 1-4, then every Saturday through September 4th. If you find yourself at the San Diego Zoo on any of those dates, head to the Elephant Odyssey exhibit between 11 am and noon.
During the pool party the zoo provides special enrichment activities for the elephants including giant elephant sized beach balls and fresh fruit floating in the water. The day we were there the elephant rejected the beach balls in favor of the floating treats. She enjoyed apples, oranges, and pineapples. Surprisingly her favorite treat appeared to be the lettuce. She set a great example for my little animals by eating plenty of fruits and veggies!
Watching the Elephant Beach Party, San Diego Zoo
Hopefully their curiosity will get the best of them and they’ll eventually they will start exploring the balls. During a recent interview with Zoo Ambassador Rick Schwartz, he explained to me that although the zoo keepers supply plenty of enrichment, they give the animals the opportunity to choose whether or not to participate.
Hula Hoop Diva, San Diego Zoo
The zoo was kind enough to provide enrichment activities for their young visitors. Destiny loved hula hooping and visiting with Dr. Zoolittle. Jared had fun cuddling up to the life sized statue of an elephant baby.
Jared's New Buddy, San Diego Zoo
Dr. Zoolittle was a very friendly guy and once again proved that San Diego Zoo volunteers are some of the nicest around!
Destiny and Dr. Zoolittle, San Diego Zoo Elephant Beach Party
Hope you have a little beach party in your 4th of July weekend plans!
P.S. Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup. Stop by to read exciting travel adventures throughout the world.
Last Month, my son’s preschool class enjoyed a field trip to Sea World San Diego. This is an annual event for all six preschool classes so I have been lucky enough to take my kids for the past three years. I thought I had seen everything at Sea World until a flock of flamingos paraded by soon after our arrival. School groups are allowed in early, so I’m not sure if this is something that the average tourist would be able to experience, but it was surreal fun for our group to make way for our flamingo friends. I captured this picture of my son’s very first preschool teacher enjoying this spectacle. I’m sure Jared will treasure it in the future.
A few days later, Ken and I took the kids to the San Diego Zoo and captured another happy flamingo moment.
Off to the Zoo on Sunday. Hopefully I’ll have some great pictures to share next week!
P.S. Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup. Love this post about her visit to Turkey!
OK, I admit it, this travel blogger will not be traveling during spring break this year. We had considered a vacation, but have a lot going on right now and decided that it would be wiser to stay close to home. My kids are actually quite happy about the prospect. We will attend an annual Easter Egg hunt tommorrow morning and enjoy a quiet Easter luncheon with the Grandparents and some neighbors on Sunday.
We will be spending our spring break being tourists in our own home town. Since I am starting a new guidebook there will be trips to the San Diego Zoo to check out the polar bears and to the Wild Animal Park to visit with the butterflies. I’m hoping for hike at Elfin Forest to or Mission Hills to see if the wildflowers are still out. We might head North to ride in the big orange balloon in Irvine.
I’m a little disappointed that there won’t be a hotel stay and new places to explore in our near future, but on the other hand:
Everyone sleeps in their own bed
DH and I can spend private evenings alone instead of sharing a room with three kids.
No waiting for food in restaurants.
We still have a great (albeit cold) pool to swim in.
Hope your spring break Adventures are just as fun.
The San Diego Zoo graciously invited me to attend the preview for the revamped Polar Bear Plunge exhibit at the San Diego Zoo. Little did I know I would be attending a star studded event. Tori Spelling also attended with her family. I caught glimpses of Denise Richards and the cast of The Modern Family.
I dined on delicious finger sandwiches and nibbled on delectable polar bear cookies. Tomorrow morning I will be enjoying the fancy “Zoo Brew” organic coffee that was included in the swag bag. The Zoo is starting a coffee club where you can help the environment and have your daily cup of joe. For more information click here.
Of course the real stars of the show, weren’t the sophisticated travel bloggers like myself or the tabloid celebrities like Denise and Tori. The real stars were the majestic polar bears who grace the exhibit. One of our polar bear friends had fun observing the kids observing her.
I was lucky enough to meet some members of the polar bear’s supporting cast who work hard to promote conservation and make a visit to the exhibit memorable. First I introduced myself to Daniel Straub, the Zoo’s Teen Arctic Ambassador who shared with me his experiences helping researchers with Polar Bear International. He described waking up in the morning during his research and peeking out his tent at the polar bears. Daniel also explained the differences between the kelp and beaches of San Diego and the kelp and beaches of the Arctic. Apparently in the arctic the kelp leaves are shaped like maple leaves! If you know a teenager who would be interested in becoming an arctic ambassador click here.
I also had fun watching the zoo staff, spread out some kelp for the polar bears to enjoy.
Finally I was privileged to meet some of the enthusiastic volunteers who will be sharing what they their extensive polar bear knowledge when your family visits the exhibit. They did an amazing job of explaining to me how we can make lifestyle changes that can slow global warming and improve the conservation outlook for our polar bear friends. Even if you won’t be visiting the San Diego Zoo in the future, be sure to check the Polar Bear Plunge website. It contains lots of great information that was shared at the exhibit today.
For those of you who think every blog post should include a picture of a celebrity, here you go. Enjoy my not so great shot of Tori, Dean, and the kids enjoying a day at the zoo (while being photographed constantly by the paparazzi). So glad I am not a celebrity!
Thanks to the San Diego Zoo for the invite! I had a wonderful time and can’t wait to bring my kids back to enjoy this amazing exhibit.
P.S. Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday. Click here to see what my fellow travel bloggers have been up to.
I am an expert at getting lost in parking lots. I have been late to get Justin’s friend home because I couldn’t find my van among the ocean of cars at a local water park. I spent 45 minutes wandering around in the dark with two kids at Magic Mountain until we finally made it to our vehicle.
Saturday, while searching for my car in the busy parking lot of the San Diego Zoo it came to me… take a picture of the nearest handy dandy parking lot sign. In a pinch you can find it on your camera, and you’ll know where to go. Still, to be on the safe side, next time I head for a theme park I’m packing my compass.
P.S. If you want to know the best place to park at Legoland pick up my guidebook. I never get lost in that parking lot .
The photo upload function on my WordPress blog isn’t working, so there will be no Photo Friday Post this week. If anyone has a solution to this problem let me know!
In the mean time I am heading to the San Diego Zoo tommorrow. We are bringing five kids ages 13 months, 4, 4, 5, and 10 so wish us luck! Seriously I can hardly wait. I chose this outing for my out of town friends because kids get in free in the month of October. Zoo membership is cheap and tax deductible, so we may go ahead and get the family membership and use the free tickets on another day. If you are visiting San Diego this October, be sure to take advantage of this amazing travel deal!
Tommorrow is the last day of my Legoland pass giveaway. We will be choosing a winner on Sunday. I was going to post a picture of the name being pulled out of a hat, but without photo upload capability you may just have to trust me.
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 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
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
We Got the Elephant Tram. How Cool is That?
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.
PS Please pray for my friend Deana. She is having trouble getting enough white blood cells to receive a potentially life saving procedure.
What adventures do the Smith Family have planned for this weekend? I’ll give you some hints.
Here’s the Smith Family Itinerary for Memorial Day Weekend:
Represent Family Adventure Guidebooks preview event for the new Elephant Odyssey exhibit at the San Diego Zoo. I’m so excited to be invited, and the best news is I get to bring the whole family! I sure hope those preschoolers behave themselves. My son is a little disappointed that we won’t be sleeping over at Mataguay on friday night, but I’m hoping that a close encounter with an exotic animal will cheer him up. I’m also glad for an extra night in my own bed!
We will leave for Cub Scout Camp Mataguay at the crack of dawn. Mataguay is located near Julian in San Diego county. We plan to get really dirty, canoe, fish, look for lady bugs, climb rocks, and just have a generally wonderful time. The kids will just generally run amok like wild animals from dawn until dusk. Hope we will get some sleep after the campfire on Saturday night.
My kids love Camp Mataguay. Our trip last year was one of the best family adventures ever! The kids love the freedom of climbing on boulders, exploring new trails, and catching fish. Here are some of my favorite pictures from our 2008 camping adventure.
On Top of the World, Mataguay 2008
Mugging on the Mountain, Mataguay 2008
The big Boy Scouts and Venturers will make us a pancake breakfast. We’ll attend a sweet ecumenical morning prayer service. I hope that Jutin can squeeze in a little more fishing and fun before heading home.
Thanks for Bringing Us Mom! Mataguay, 2008
If you have a chance stop by Delicious Baby and see more great Photo Friday posts. May your weekend be filled with family adventures.
If you are planning to visit the Legoland theme park in Carlsbad, California, this book contains all the information you need to make the most of your family adventure. The book also includes information about other area attractions, local restaurants and hotels.
Bridget Smith, mom of three, loves to blog about everyday adventures. Her mission is to change the world; one kid, one destination, one effortless trip, one overworked mom, one frazzled dad... one day at a time! Come and join her.