It has been many years since I last visited the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park. This zoo of approximately 3,700 animals of roughly 650 species and subspecies is situated on 100 acres (40ha) and is one of the most well-regarded zoos in the USA. it was a product of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition using the wild animal enclosures that were abandoned when the exposition ended. Its permanent location was agreed upon in 1921 on land and with animals owned by the City of San Diego and managed by a conservatory. The zoo is a pioneer of cage-less exhibits that protect the animals and visitors by a moat system.
The zoo is broken up into 6 main sections, these include:
THE LOST FOREST containing the monkey and forest trails, Owens Aviary, Scripps Aviary, Hippo Trail, Tiger Trail and Tree Tops Way.
THE URBAN JUNGLE / OUTBACK houses koalas, kangaroos, Tasmanian Devils., wombats and wallabies.
PANDA CANYON / ASIAN PASSAGE provides a home to the giant pandas and the Panda Discovery Center.
THE NORTHERN FRONTIER showcases the Polar Bear Plunge and Marsh Aviary of buffleheads, harlequin ducks, smews and long tailed ducks.
THE ELEPHANT OYSSEY houses the animals of Africa: elephants, tigers, lions, jaguars, zebras, and tapirs.
Finally there is THE DISCOVERY OUTPOST with the children’s zoo, insects, reptiles, a sea lion show and 4d theater.
Many additional animal species are located throughout the zoo in the appropriate viewing areas and this is at least a ¾ to full day experience.
Well enough talk here are some photos of a few of the animals you will be able to see at the zoo.
Bring your own food or eat at one of the many eating establishments located throughout the park.
So my thoughts on the San Diego Zoo good and bad.
THE GOOD, this zoo takes care of animals that have been born in captivity and could not fend themselves in the wild, they are constantly improving the enclosures of the animals, the animals are well taken care of, great place to introduce young kids to exotic animals from around the world.
THE BAD, the animals in confined habitats that do not reflect their native habitat size needs. I noticed a lot of the cats just pacing back and forth in their enclosures looking very bored. I know the animals were resting during the heat of the day but some were not. I feel for these animals, as it is what I feel like being placed in a hospital room for any length of time.
I prefer visiting a wild animal park, were the animals can freely roam as they do on the plains or Serengeti, with species intermingling as they would in their natural habitat. This would also let children see how they interact and get a feeling of the animals being more wild.
Are these types of parks necessary? I still think they are for animals that do not interact well together, are just to use to this type of captivity or have been hurt or are on the mend from some illness or injury. This is a fine balance that must be met for education of we humans and protection of the animals.