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San Diego Zoo San Diego Zoo: What to see?

Discussion in 'United States' started by TheMightyOrca, 9 May 2016.

  1. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    So if my mom gives me the money she promised me, I'll get to go to San Diego this summer. And if that happens, I'm definitely visiting the zoo. So I want to know, which animals are the must-sees, animals I'm not gonna get to see at many other zoos? I know about the pandas, the pangolin, Tasmanian devil, a few others, but what else should I make sure I see?
     
  2. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    The easy answer is everything. Would you care about small birds, or not mind missing them? When you respond, I'll start listing animals and locations. I advise you give yourself at least two days to visit the zoo.
     
  3. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    That's part of the problem, I might only be able to go one day, and I've heard that you need two days to see everything. I'm gonna have to see how my finances are if I can justify buying the two-day ticket, otherwise I'll have to stick with one day and do a lot of running. Which is why I'm trying to figure out which animals to prioritize.

    I do, in fact, care about small birds. (birds are so awesome regardless of size) Like I said, I'm largely interested in the unique and unusual animals, along with the more spectacular exhibits. (I've heard good things about their Tiger Trail)
     
  4. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    I'll just list everything of significance then. You can decide what to go see :).

    Key:
    * = uncommon
    ** = only zoo in US
    *** = only zoo in world

    Scripps Aviary:
    Great blue turaco*
    Southern bald ibis*
    (In separated aviary) sociable weaver**

    Arctic aviaries:
    Kagu*
    Tongan megapode***
    Blyth's tragopan** or ***, not sure
    Collared imperial pigeon*

    Aviary trail:
    Red and blue lory**
    Collared lory**
    Superb bird of paradise*
    Raggiana bird of paradise*
    Blue crowned hanging parrot*

    Parker aviary:
    Andean cock of the rock*
    (Separated aviary) capuchinbird*

    Owens aviary:
    Iris lorikeet*
    Papuan mountain pigeon*
    Thick-billed ground dove*
    Sulawesi green imperial pigeon*

    Reptile house:
    Ethiopian mountain viper**
    Common snapping turtle*

    Lost forest:
    Coconut crab (across from tiger viewing)*
    Capuchin babbler (across from gorillas near entrance to aviary)***

    Marsh Aviary:
    Storm's stork*
    Milky stork**
    Collared lory**

    Canyon aviaries (near python):
    Moluccan pitta*
    Hooded pitta*

    Gorilla glass aviary:
    Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse**
    Stone partridge**

    Children's Zoo:
    White bellied tree pangolin** (only one in USA on exhibit)
    Guianan cock of the rock** (again, only ones on exhibit)
    Common wombat*

    Elephant Odyssey:
    Peninsular pronghorn*
    California condor*
    Secretary bird*
    Yellow-spotted bush hyrax**

    Panda Trek:
    Giant panda*
    Sichuan takin*

    Arctic hoofstock row:
    Cuvier's gazelle*

    Conrad Prebys Australian Outback:
    Tasmanian devils*
    Squatter pigeon** I think

    Ituri Forest:
    African forest buffalo**
    Spot-necked otter*

    Lake exhibits below Eagle Trail:
    Great white pelican*
    Anhinga*
    Saddlebill stork*

    Center street:
    African clawless otter*
    Andean bear*

    Eagle Trail:
    Ornate hawk eagle*
    Steller's sea eagle*


    Asia passage:
    Bornean sun bear*
    Red cheeked gibbon*

    Moving path over field exhibits to Owens Aviary:
    Siberian musk deer**
    Western tufted deer*
     
  5. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! I especially appreciate that you sorted by location, that'll make things a lot easier, ha ha. I didn't know they had an African clawless otter, can't wait to see that!
     
  6. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    Be sure to go and see all the things I missed (musk deer, gibbons, etc.)! If you really get a move on, you can see it all in one day, but you won't be able to stay long at any part.
     
  7. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    The zoo is open 9am-8pm from June 19-30 and then 9am-9pm for all of July and the first half of August. So you could have lots of time if you stay from open to close in summer. This should be enough time to see everything.
     
  8. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    I visited in March last year spending all day, and "almost" saw everything. I think it closed at 6 but it may have been 5. Some thoughts though:

    - When I go to zoos it is mostly to look at exhibitory, interpretation, presentations things like that which I can "take back" with me to use in the future. It really does not concern me too much if an animal is not on exhibit or asleep, I just move on. I did come back to the three walk through aviaries twice though, as I am a bird nut!

    - You will have to make some decisions as you go around for instance if the Tassie devil is asleep in its den are you going to return later hoping to see it?

    - Likewise what if the line for the panda is an hour long? I have seen pandas a dozen times in different places so was not planning to see them at San Diego. However late in the day I happened to walk past their enclosure and there was nobody around, so I went in. However it was obvious they were set up to accommodate huge queues. Are you willing to spend 10% of your day standing in a queue just to see one animal?

    - It is good that the zoo stays open till 9 in summer however summer in San Diego is very hot, and a lot of animals simply won't be visible in the middle of the day. Your actual viewing time may therefore not be extended much anyway.

    - The zoo may be open to 9 but some exhibits may close early. I don't know San Diego's policy but I have seen this in other places. You want to check this out so you don't miss something important because you leave it too late.

    - SDZ is huge with a lot of climbing up and down and no logical route to follow to see everything without doubling back a fair bit. In the summer heat you will need to pace yourself.

    Obviously planning is key. I would plan to see the "must sees" first because a. crowds will be less b. animals are likely to be more active in the cool of the morning and c. it allows you to come back later if you miss out.

    Good luck and enjoy yourself
     
  9. jibster

    jibster Well-Known Member

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    Just a few comments from someone who's done the one-day SDZ marathon before -

    From past experience, I can't recall any exhibits closing prior to the official closing time, even in the extended summer hours. I used every bit of those long hours and still managed to miss a few small sections (of course, it helps somewhat that usually there is some section of the zoo under construction - in this case, Africa Rocks!).

    While summer is the warmest time in San Diego, it almost never gets nearly as warm as in many areas of the U.S. I spent an entire summer in San Diego and have long maintained that it's the perfect climate for a zoo. In my visits, while many animals are less active during the middle of the day, it's not as big of a concern at San Diego as at many other Zoos. Also, many parts of SDZ are so well planted or set into canyons that there are often pockets of shade. If you're most concerned about missing species due to the heat, you might want to concentrate on the walk-through aviaries and the reptiles during these times (in terms of zoo layout, most of these areas are roughly to your left as you enter the main entrance).

    I'm a huge fan of all birds, too, and to my mind, birds are where the San Diego collections (at both the Zoo and Safari Park) really excel (even if the collection is singificantly smaller than it was in its heyday). Even beyond the very helpful list posted, there are many other uncommonly held species (often in huge, extremely well-planted walk throughs) in all corners of the zoo. Two easy to miss sections: the hummingbird aviary (which has few hummingbird species, but always has held some other interesting species, including pink-eared duck) and the aviary behind the main bus station (which used to be home to many rarities not otherwise on dispaly, though I'm not sure what it's currently home to).
     
  10. GraysonDP

    GraysonDP Well-Known Member

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    Some animals I feel the zoo exhibits particularly well:
    - Nile hippopotamus
    - Koala
    -Bonobo
    - Mandrill
    -Mangabey
    - Gorilla
    - California Condor
    -Pygmy Hippopotamus
    - Polar Bear
    - Jaguar
    - Tree Kangaroo
    - Siamang
    - Klipspringer
    - Pancake Tortoise
    - Dwarf Crocodile
    - Meerkat
    - Hyrax
     
  11. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    The walk-thru aviaries close at sunset.
     
  12. Bib Fortuna

    Bib Fortuna Well-Known Member

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    What happend to the Kiwi Nighthouse ? Was it closed and detsroyed ? So where are the Kiwis now ?

    So what Us-Zoos do keep Kiwis ?

    As far as I know
    San Diego
    Memphis
    Washington
    Columbus
    Bronx

    But it should be seven facilties ?
     
  13. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    the Smithsonian National Zoo has several, as well as several pairs at Front Royal.
     
  14. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Moderator Staff Member

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    The kiwi house was bulldozed to make way for Africa Rocks. It has been closed for a few years now. The kiwis are behind the scenes.
     
  15. Bib Fortuna

    Bib Fortuna Well-Known Member

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    Thank you!
     
  16. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    I'll most likely end up being there the whole day, so I'm glad to hear that it will be enough time to see everything, ha ha. If I have the extra money, I can just use it to visit the safari park instead!
     
  17. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    Very useful! Big thanks!

    The mighty orca: When will you stay at San Diego? I'll be here the first half of July and maybe we can made the visit together. I still doubt if save money and do the marathon-visit for this and SeaWorld, or pay more and get the 7-day combo for Zoo, SeaWorld and Safair. Safari is far of the city and have not many interesting rarities for me: most of their rare species are also at the Zoo. You will visit only the Zoo or also the Safari, SeaWorld, Birch Aquarium, Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden? (these are the sites that probably I'll visit)
     
  18. threeple61

    threeple61 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Great Blue Yonder
    Arctic Aviaries
    Fire tufted barbet **
    Purple-tailed imperial-pigeon *

    Scripps
    Blue-headed wood-dove *
    Bagalafect Weaver *

    Owens/Parker
    Fawn-breasted Bowerbird *

    The sandgrouse and thick-billed pigeon are no longer kept. The african darter is in scripps aviaries, best views from the higher walkway.
     
  19. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    Shame, thick-billed pigeon is one of my wished pigeon species for photo. And from the sandgrouse I onli have a bad photo.