One thing that keeps people coming back to zoos again and again is the memories they make while there. So I couldn’t resist doing a post on my Top 5 Most Memorable Moments at the San Diego Zoo. For me it’s not just about the animals, it’s about new experiences and rare moments to cherish for a life time!
I’ve always been amazed by hummingbirds, they’re delicate, beautiful and furiously fast. As an amateur photographer I’ve always craved the illusive shot of the hummingbird. I was in luck! At the San Diego Zoo they have a sweet little aviary that is buzzing with hummingbirds. In this quiet, compact and almost deserted part of the zoo I was welcomed by numerous stunning hummingbirds all so bright and vibrant in colour and all looking for a quick bite to eat! I couldn’t help taking rapid camera shots of them in various settings – where else would I have a chance like this? – and couldn’t believe it when I got it! – a clear image of the amazing hummingbird!
Like I always try to stress, people won’t care about something if they can’t connect to it, and that’s one of the reasons zoos are so important – to connect us with these phenomenal animals we would probably never see if it wasn’t for the zoo. This brings me to my first most memorable moment, it occurred at the bonobo enclosure where a lady was at the glass where two bonobos happen to be sitting. One turned over its shoulder to look at her and when she started making hand gestures the bonobo also made its own gestures and turned to look at her. She made kissing lips and the bonobo also pursed its lips together and even ran its lip along the glass. The woman and the rest of spectators were captivated, no one wanted to leave, we all wanted to be a part of this memorable moment where a lady and an ape – our closest relatives – had a connection.
I’ve visited many zoos but there are still animals I haven’t yet seen, so when I get to see an animal for the first time I always cherish and get excited over those first encounters. At the San Diego Zoo I was able to see a gerenuk, a type of gazelle, for the first time. Now these aren’t your run of the mill elegant and beautiful gazelles, they also have a remarkable adaptation, they can stand on their hind legs to browse (eat) from taller branches, and it is always interesting to see any species (other than us humans) stand on their hind legs – but especially a hoofed animal. I was so excited to not only see them but also saw them show off this ability, especially an arm’s length away from me. I must admit it most definitely made them look that much cuter!
I must confess, I have a bit of a fear of heights. I say bit because it’s come a LONG way from as bad as it used to be, and I try not to let it stop me from doing things. With that said, at the San Diego Zoo they have an aerial tram called the Skyfari that takes you up and over the zoo’s tree tops and provides quick, easy access to the other side of the park as well as amazing views of San Diego and Balboa Park. Though I held on tight, I made sure to look over the side and down on the amazing zoo below me. The lesson, even a visit to the zoo can test your limits and encourage awesome new experiences.
What is the biggest attraction at a zoo? BABY ANIMALS! So its no surprise that when I went to see the zoo’s river hippos I was faced with a massive crowd around the underwater viewing windows – because there in the water huddled right next to mom was one of the cutest little babies you will see – a one day old baby hippo. The crowd watched as the baby every few seconds or so would lift it’s cubby little head, sweet round eyes and cute little nose up above the water and it would create a buzz of excitement and a flurry of cameras vying for the epic baby photo. This darling little baby hippo was one day old and already 10 times the size of a human newborn and to me – 10 times as CUTE!
Have you visited the San Diego Zoo? What’s your most memorable moment?