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Planning trip to San Diego

Discussion in 'United States' started by Kakapo, 18 May 2016.

  1. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    Dear ZooChat pals,
    By the first half of July of this year, one of the biggest dreams of my life, will come true. I will be at San Diego!
    My plans are to come at least to San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, Museum of Natural History and Botanical Garden. I doubt if visit too SafariPark - it's very expensive but it have saigas and black-footed ferrets! So depending of how much success is expected in photographing all the animals of the Safari (based on your experiencies), I would come or not. For see all species possible on each of the sites, it's needed more than a day of visit?

    There are any option to get an updated list species of the Zoo and the Safari Park and major animals of SeaWorld? Official page of the Zoo don't have a true species list, but a species of dictionary of animals instead. I've crossed by some lists made by amateur visitors but I don't know if they're complete or up-to-date. For example, I would wish to know if really exist a Giant Forest Hog at SDZ and if the SeaWorld have still Commerson's Dolphins or any kind of porpoise?

    Also I put this here because would be nice to meet zoo-enthusiasts living in SD that can go with me to the Zoo, Safari Park and/or SeaWorld. It's much more enjoyable in the right company!

    There are, also, any other site at SD that a "species photograph collector" can't miss? I've heard about some smaller aquarium/s appart from SeaWorld...

    Thanks for any advice!
    Isidro
     
  2. zoomaniac

    zoomaniac Well-Known Member

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    Hi Isidro

    First, although I'm just returned from California (for the 7th time), I envy you for that trip (but still wish you a great trip of course:))

    Ref. the Saigas you are obviously missinformed (or I have missed a recent import). There are no more Saigas either in the Zoo nor in the Safari Park (or at least not on exhibit). And I'm also not sure if the Black-footed ferrets are still visible for visitors (because I wasn't visiting Safari Park this time).

    Zoo and Safari Park charge the same entrance fee (50 USD for a 1-Day-Pass without any discount). But while parking at the Zoo is free (yet), you have to pay at the Safari Park for that (15 or 17 USD per day). Also, you can only visit Asian Plains and Asian Waterhole at extra cost (the Safari Tram/Bus brings you only along/across the African exhibits).
    But despite this unfavorable facts (what makes the Safari Park less attractive as it was during its high period between the late 1980s to the beginning of the 2000s, where it was world famous as WILD ANIMAL PARK), I strongly recommend first-visitors to go to that park. It is still something special.
    Ref. taking pictures: It also belongs to your skills and the quality of your photo equipment. I take also pictures and in general I would say, that you can take very good ones in the Zoo as in the Safari Park, specially in the morning (run to the loading station right after the Safari Park opens) and in the late after noon. Animals are often close or at least good visible.

    Take two days for San Diego Zoo (a 2-Day-Pass costs 90 USD), while one day at the Safari Park will be enough.

    For the species (list) I suggest you to check other threads about SDZ and SDSP as well as SeaWorld San Diego in this forum.
    And no: The giant forest hog is unfortunately a river hog/bush hog, and no longer on exhibit (could be dead, maybe San-Diego-experts knows more). Also SeaWorld San Diego does no longer exhibit Commerson Dolphins. The last remaining ones are tranferred to Aquatica Orlando and/or behind the scenes.

    If your stay at San Diego is more or less about visiting zoological institutions, I recommend you to purchase a 3-in-1-Pass (available at the Zoo, Safari Park and SeaWorld). With this pass you can visit those 3 parks as often as you want WITHIN ONE WEEK). It's about 165 USD, if I remember correctly.

    If you have still time left, go and visit La Jolla (with its little seal beach) and the Birch Aquarium.

    Kind regards
    Zoomaniac
     
  3. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    ZooManiac, thanks a lot for this information! Although it's a bit disappointing, hehe.
    Knowking that there are not saigas nor ferrets in Safari, I will not visit it. Most of the other "star" species, such as California Condor and Superb Bird of Paradise, are present at the Zoo too. And if I must pay extra for visit non-African zone... that end the decision!

    My photographing skills are very low, I'm not realy a photographer, in the sense that a medium or bad quality image is completely enough for me (but of course I try my best and substitute my species images if the quality is better). My skills are only to get species that I don't have photographed before!

    The checking of threads here is just what I did for get these lists, but as I said, they're incomplete and not up-to-date. With these lists I was still thinking that there are saigas, ferrets, giant forest hog, etc. An updated list would let me to check the species and don't miss them just because I don't know that they're here!

    The Commerson's dolphins new is terrible. How could anybody to be that kind of thing? Put a unique species behind the scenes is only reasonable if they're wild animals that scare easily from human visitors, or if they're endangered species that needs a quiet place to breed. I think that none of the two reasons can be applied here :(

    I'll investigate about Birch Aquarium. Maybe it have some marvelous species not present at SeaWorld :)

    I'll insist about get some companion of zoo-enthusiasts from here during my visit, hehehe.

    Thanks a lot!
    Isidro
     
  4. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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  5. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Moderator Staff Member

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    Geomorph did a list of San Diego Zoo animals from 2013: http://www.zoochat.com/22/list-species-exhibit-11-26-13-a-347320/. It should be in the San Diego Zoo thread and will capture much of what is there currently.
    Keep in mind that part of the zoo is under construction because of Africa Rocks. The kopje exhibit complex is off limits at the moment and the kiwi house no longer exists.

    There has not been a black-footed ferret at the Safari Park for many years now. Its old enclosure is now an ocelot exhibit.

    I would greatly recommend the Safari Park. It is a completely different experience than the zoo and a world-class zoo in its own right. http://www.zoochat.com/22/put-me-zoo-san-diego-safari-314483/

    The giant forest hog which apparently was not a giant forest hog is no longer on exhibit and has not been for many years.

    If you are really on the hunt for unique species then the Los Angeles Zoo is about 100 miles (160 km) north of San Diego and has red uakaris and a mountain tapir.

    I hope that you enjoy your San Diego trip.
     
    Last edited: 18 May 2016
  6. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, David. What a shame if I miss part of the zoo - if Africa Rocks is under construction I will not se klipspringer I suppose.

    I only will visit SafariPark if I can see easily many unique species different from those in the zoo. The experiencie of be in a safari is nice and I would go if it was cheaper (or somebody invite me), but what I look for is just rare animals, and if saigas and ferrets are not here I don't miss too much :)

    I probably can't go to Los Angeles Zoo. Uakaris and mountain tapir are tempting but for a guy that can't drive and that have not much money, go to another city is not possible.
     
    Last edited: 18 May 2016
  7. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    Just a few things:

    -SeaWorld's Commerson's dolphins were transferred to Orlando in January, but they were off exhibit for years before. One of them sadly passed in transit, but at an age over 30, which is incredible.

    -the klipspringers (and other kopje animals, such as rock hyraxes) are visible if you get lucky. If you are tall, you can peek over the construction fence and see into the exhibit. There was a klipspringer born not too long ago, too, so best of luck.

    -the Safari Park is worth a visit. While the viewing is poor, you can see all of the Asian plains from an area on the Tiger Trail. There are four tiger cubs right now, too. The lagoon is an exceptional area, and I thoroughly enjoyed the African Woods portion of the park as well. There are rarities such as Egyptian vulture, Sudan red-fronted gazelles, Ugandan kob, Indian gaur, Indian hog deer, steenbok, shoebills, and countless others that aren't at the zoo. The scenery is lovely, and although closed on my visit, the garden trail is not something to miss out on, even if you have no interest in plants.

    -there are some quite rare species in aviaries at all three facilities. The entrance aviary of the park has rare rollers, Storm's storks, and a few others. The zoo has many more- stone partridges, rare lories, birds of paradise, sociable weavers, and many, many others. Seaworld has few aviaries but I did note great blue turacos and some sort of lovebird.
     
  8. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    Saludos Kakapo! I was at the Safari Park and zoo exactly one week ago. Both collections have less animals than they did fifteen years ago, but there are still A LOT of animals - too many to list easily. I live in the next state so it is a bit of a drive to get there, but I can do it as I did last week. I have a Diamond Club membership that allows me to take one guest with me for free on each visit (plus free parking at Safari Park and unlimited free tram rides). My days off work are Thursday and Friday currently. However we are doing a shift bid (government job) in a few weeks that will go into effect early July, so my days off may change by the time of your visit. In any case, it is possible that I could go out for two days and drive you up to the Safari Park with free admission. I also speak Spanish, although your English seems quite good. If you can tell me which week you are coming I can tell you in mid June what my days off will be for my new work schedule. Let's see if we can get others to join us for an international ZooChat Meetup!
     
  9. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    I should also add that San Diego Zoo is open 9am-9pm in July, so if you stay all day you can see everything.
     
  10. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    jayjds2:
    Thanks for your message!
    Shame about Commerson's dolphins, but at least I will see pilot whales that are new for me :) And it's always nice to see beluga and killer whale again!

    I will not have luck with Kopje animals as I'm very short :) 160 cm ;-)

    I saw tigers too many times and even had a cub in my hands. Saw Egyptian vulture in the wild sometimes where I live, and have a good photo of one at Madrid Zoo-Aquarium. I lack the gazelle and kob but they're not so exceptional and wished for me. Get hog deer at Berlin and gaur at various places. Got shoebilll at Prague. Only steenbok is a "star" here but not enough for make a visit for itself :) I'm as passionate for plants as for animals and I cultivate many species, some of them rare, in my garden, but probably I will be saturated of plants in the Botanical Garden ;) I have pics of all roller species except racquet-tailed (but Temminck and Abyssinian only stuffed birds at museums). Storm's stork is another true star however! I will see the blue turacos at SeaWorld but will be fascinated by fishes and marine invertebrates as well :)

    Arizona Docent: Hello! Thanks for your message! Yes, once DavidBrown gave me this absolutely wonderful link - that was just what I needed! - I saw that the list of species is maybe twice than any great European zoo! I don't want that you travel very far if it's too much distance for you, but if is good for you, then I would love your company :) The free guest is a wonderful new if it happens! We must be in contact, I will give you my email and phone after, as well as the adress where I will be installed at SD. Also excellent if we can talk in Spanish - my wrote English is medium but my speaked one is horrible XD Ohhhhh my dreams are coming true, you're the best companion that I could wish for my trip! Thanks a lot for all your info and offering! Wonderful to know too that I can visit the Zoo and see all within one day!
     
  11. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I think you should definitely try to get to the Safari Park too Kakapo if you can. It is definitely very worthwhile.

    There are a few other species not at the Zoo that may be of interest to you. Below I have listed species that I have only seen at the Safari Park (from my visit in 2014, after visiting many zoos in Australasia, Singapore and Europe, as well as a few in North America, including the San Diego Zoo), so I think these species (and subspecies) are likely among the most interesting for you:

    Black Milk Snake
    Orinoco Goose
    Molluccan Radjah Shelduck
    White-crowned Lapwing
    San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike
    Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec
    Southern Warthog
    Eastern Giant Eland
    East African Eland
    East African Sitatunga
    Western Red-flanked Duiker
    Nubian Red-fronted Gazelle
    Cavendish's Dik-Dik
    Transcaspian Urial
    Ugandan Kob
    Eastern White-bearded Wildebeest
    Northern White Rhino
    Southern Steenbok

    This list is far shorter than the number of new species/subspecies I saw at San Diego Zoo (35 reptiles, 60 birds, 21 mammals), but still significant. I'd recommend you make a visit - especially if you can get a ride with AD. I would also prioritise the Safari Park over Sea World, which is unlikely to have many species you haven't already seen.
     
  12. Buldeo

    Buldeo Well-Known Member

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    A note:

    Major League Baseball's annual All Star Game is on 12 July at PetCo Park. With a week of festivities leading up to the game, you might find Balboa Park and downtown to be rather crowded. The Safari Park might be a better bet given its location.


    Just something to consider.
     
  13. Bib Fortuna

    Bib Fortuna Well-Known Member

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    Northern White Rhino is gone-the last animal"Nola"passed away Nov.22,2015. It was the last one in a Zoo.( but the visable diffrenes to a southern white rhino are minimal)

    San Diego WAP is much better than the Zoo, but someone, who wants to see a larger varitey of species will find a better place at the San Diego Zoo.
     
  14. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    *Cough* Plzeň & Berlin *cough* ;)
     
  15. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    zooboy28:
    Thanks for advice! For me the highlights of Safari Park still are Storm's Stork (the only Ciconia stork that I lack), and steenbok. Subspecies are not actually an objetive for me. For sure SeaWorld will gave me much more new species than Safari, as for me rare fishes and marine invertebrates are of the same importance than rare mammals or birds ;) Anyway I can't miss pilot whales!

    Buldeo:
    Yes, that's important too! Thanks for tell me! I'll try to visit zoo anyway even if it's crowded.. is the only opportunity of my life! Maybe I will visit SafariPark too, depending on the availabilty of Arizona Docent ;)

    Bib Fortuna: You told just the right words, for me the only objetive is see a larger variety of species. Subspecies are not important for my photographic objetive: any white rhino is just a white rhino for me ;)

    Batto: I know Berlin is the one with bigger number of species, but that's because it includes the many fishes of it's aquarium. SDZ have a larger variety of birds, mammals and reptiles. However Plzen have probably a larger variety of birds - just not the same species of birds. I have been on both zoos and I was enough lucky to visit the behind-the-scenes birds of Plzen, where I meet what looks like the tamest bird of the world (a kea) as well as the more nervous and scared one - an extremely rare jungle bush quail, impossible to photograph as never was quiet trying to run away for me in all directions!
    I actually should say "most" instead "any". The fact of I visited some big city european zoos (Madrid, Barcelona, London, Paris, Prague...) but the list of SDZ is full of hundreds of species that I still lack, make it an obligated visit ;)
     
  16. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    Well, this gives you a reason to not go to the Park, but the zoo has Storm's stork in the marsh aviary. There are milky storks and collared lories in there as well- though how I managed not to see a bright white stork is beyond me.
     
  17. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your message jayjds :) I'm studying exhaustively the list of species of SDZ and I'm asking just... ¿what bird species it doesn't have?
     
  18. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    It has the largest bird collection in the USA. It's not missing too much :). Granted, I wish they still had the lammergeier, but it was the last in the USA and died in 2006 or so. :(
     
  19. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    I saw good lammergeiers at Barcelona and Berlin, and also in the wild (but flying very far).
     
  20. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    Lucky you! I would have to travel overseas to see one now. I hope I'll see one someday.