I’ve been meaning to talk a little bit more about the vacation I took a couple weeks back, having only written about our experience saving a Hermit Warbler in San Pedro. Anyways, the second port of call that we visited aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas was sunny San Diego, home of the world famous San Diego Zoo. We could have hopped on over to Sea World, but Susanne and I figured that the San Diego Zoo would probably be more worth our time. She’s very much an animal person, so naturally, the zoo would be interesting (and a lot of fun).

Frankly, I wasn’t nearly as impressed with the San Diego Zoo as I thought I would. It’s a heck of a lot better than just staring down some crows, pigeons and squirrels at Stanley Park in Vancouver, but I was expecting that the animal habitats would be a lot larger and more natural-looking. Even Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle did a better job, particularly with their African Savannah exhibit. By contrast, the San Diego zoo was mostly a series of cages. This was especially true with their raptors…. I’m talking birds of prey, not the computer component or the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park.

Andean Condor

Pictured above is Vultur Gryphus, better known to English speakers as the Andean Condor. Typically seen thousands of feet above the Andes Mountains, these condors are largely carrion eaters, feasting on dead carcasses left by other predators. What’s interesting is that one of these bad boys can, over the course of a day, “travel as far as 100 miles without ever flapping its wings.” This is because Andean Condors are considered “the ultimate soaring machines.” Unfortunately for this guy, his cage isn’t nearly as vast as the Andes, but he was still a good distance (at least 100 feet, I’d say) away from me. You can thank the 12x optical zoom on my Canon S3 IS for this up-close look.


Many of the other animals at the San Diego Zoo weren’t nearly as fearsome as the condor. You might have to blame the soaring heat for this, but the orangutan pictured above had no problem flashing us with its goods. “Whatchu doin?” “Just chillin.”


Koalas aren’t ones to let themselves lie flat on rock beds, but they have no problem catching a few Zs while perched up in a tree, like this guy. He’s even got his leg dangling off the side. Okay everyone, say it with me…. “Awww… that’s so cute.”

All in all, the San Diego Zoo was still fun, but I was expecting a lot more. The double-decker bus that gives you a whirlwind tour of the park was very useful, as was the sky tram system that takes you from the bottom to the top of the zoo compound. Before I end this entry, I have to include one last photo, although it’s not related to the Zoo, per se. It is of the most fearsome creature of them all…. the cruise director!


He goes by JohnnyO and he has a heavy…. British accent.