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Zooboy28 in America

Discussion in 'United States' started by zooboy28, 29 Apr 2014.

  1. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    In less than three weeks I will be embarking on a three-week trip to North America, where I will visit six cities in western USA and Canada. The first week will be spent in Portland, where I am attending (and presenting at :eek:) a conference. The second two weeks will be spent touring with my partner, visiting a number of zoos and aquaria in Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles. We will also be visiting a couple of National Parks and doing some other wildlife watching activities, as well as a couple of theme parks, museums and other general tourist stuff.

    The zoos I will definitely visit include:
    -Oregon Zoo
    -Woodland Park Zoo
    -Vancouver Aquarium
    -San Francisco Zoo
    -San Diego Zoo
    -San Diego Zoo Safari Park
    -San Diego Sea World
    -Los Angeles Zoo

    The zoos I might visit include:
    -Monterey Bay Aquarium (unlikely to have time)
    -California Academy of Sciences (seems very expensive)

    If there are any other zoos/aquaria, natural history museums or wildlife watching places in or around these cities you think I should consider visiting please let me know. Especially in Portland, where I will have a fair bit of spare time.
     
  2. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    You will be in my neck of the woods! I'm only an hour east from the Vancouver Aquarium and about 2.5 hours north of Woodland Park Zoo and if the stars align I would be more than happy to meet up with you and your partner. Anyone I've exchanged a package of zoo maps with I should consider a friend.:) If you have more time in the Seattle area then there is always the Point Defiance Zoo, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park or Seattle Aquarium. Portland is 2.5 hours north of the charming little seaside town of Newport, which has 3 aquariums. Hadfield Marine Science Center can be seen in less than an hour, Oregon Undersea Gardens is a 20-minute tour, but Oregon Coast Aquarium is top-notch and all 3 are in the city of Newport. Portland itself has the excellent Oregon Zoo and a new but crappy little aquarium.

    If I were you I'd make time for Monterey Bay Aquarium, easily up there with Shedd and Georgia as one of the great trio of American aquatic facilities. California Academy of Sciences is indeed expensive but it offers up a full day of just about everything and there are so many zoos, aquariums, theme parks, museums and other exciting things to see and do in the state of California that you'll have no shortage of options. There are a number of friendly ZooChatters in Los Angeles who would be happy to take you around their big zoo or terrific Aquarium of the Pacific.

    Lastly, I personally feel that there is not a great deal to do in Portland (known for its excellent downtown transportation system and many breweries) other than the major zoo. However, day trips south to Newport or north to Seattle (2.5 hours in either direction) would make sense and Portland does have a world-class bookstore called "Powell's" which is often regarded as the largest independent bookstore on the planet. The place is an entire city block, with 4 stories and 11 rooms and visitors can grab a map when they enter so that they don't get lost! I've been numerous times and if you are a reader then that is the place to visit.
     
  3. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I thought you were a struggling student. How can you go flitting off round America? And do you need a house-sitter while you're away?
     
  4. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    um, Portland has the highest number of strip clubs in the country (per capita)!!
     
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  5. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Bet you knew that one off the top of your head :p
     
  6. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    The Monterey Bay Aquarium is the best aquarium on the planet. No kidding. Also there are wild sea otter sightings practically guaranteed from it's deck overlooking the ocean.

    The California Academy of Sciences is like a biodiversity Disneyland. It is a case of you-get-what-you-pay for.

    Both of these places are fantastic and likely to be of great interest to you.
     
  7. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I did. I know all the important stuff.
     
  8. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    @SnowLeopard and David Brown, thanks for your replies.

    There are obviously heaps of options in terms of zoos and aquaria that I'd love to visit. We have a very packed schedule after Portland (my partner isn't coming to Portland, our trip starts in Seattle), and there is very little room to add much outside of the cities themselves. In Portland I can do the zoo, and I might check out the aquarium too, but I'm limited to public transport. I have one free day where I could go anywhere. Northwest Trek is supposed to be great (isn't it?), but I don't know how I would get there? Port Defiance might be do-able if I take a train to Seattle (and back), but that's a long day.

    The California Academy of Science does sound awesome (similar to Universeum in Sweden?) and if San Francisco Zoo isn't that great perhaps I could ditch that and replace it with CAS. Are there any species at SFZ that are particularly rare or impressive that I should go to see though?

    Monterey Bay is tricky because of its location, and the only way we could reach it is when we pick up the rental car in San Fran and head to Yosemite National Park. But that means that, as the aquarium doesn't open until 10am, that its quite late before we get on the road to Yosemite itself, which is not what we want to do. If we left super early (which we are planning to anyway - i.e. 5am), could we go somewhere near the aquarium to look for sea otters?
     
  9. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Well as I am going to the conference on university business, I'm not paying for international flights or my time in Portland, so that's a big chunk of the cost removed. We had been planning and saving for a trip to South East Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam) but then this came up and it made more sense to postpone Asia and go to the States instead.

    Do you know someone who might house-sit for us?
     
  10. Falcosparverius

    Falcosparverius Well-Known Member

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    I highly recommend the California Academy of Sciences, though rather expensive, its amazing rainforest and aquarium sections make up for the cost. The rarest animal that I can think of off the top of my head at the San Francisco Zoo would probably be the Aye-ayes, which are very active because the zoo leads guided tours instead of the exhibits being open to the public.
     
  11. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I have previously seen Aye-Ayes, so that isn't a priority species for me this trip. Looking at their website, the most interesting species to me appear to be Yellow-backed Duiker and Pied Tamarin. Are these species exhibited at San Diego or LA Zoos?
     
  12. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    Yellow-backed duikers are at San Diego and LA. Does San Francisco really have pied tamarins? I don't remember seeing them there.
     
  13. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh good. I do like duikers, although have only seen Red Forest Duiker (and LA Zoo has three species!). Pied Tamarins are listed on the SFZ website, so I presume so. Are they at any other zoos on the West Coast?
     
  14. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I thought that might be the case. It's always nice when that sort of thing enables travel :D

    I potentially could do that....
     
  15. Falcosparverius

    Falcosparverius Well-Known Member

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    I can confirm that there are Pied Tamarins at the SFZoo, though more shy than the Emperor Tamarins, I have seen them before. I'm almost certain that LAZoo doesn't have them, yet unsure about San Diego Zoo.
     
  16. dean

    dean Well-Known Member

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    When you are in Portland keep an eye out for the Grimm's they seam to be everywhere!(at least they are on sky TV) if you see some one contorting their heads and grimacing run.
    Enjoy the trip and hopefully report back?
     
  17. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    Have just visited the CAS and I have to say it is outstanding. In terms of rare species it has lots that I have never seen or heard of, but of course we are talking herps mostly. It also sits on a pretty good aquarium. I didn't visit the SFZ, only really because there is not a lot for me to learn from large conventional zoos and I had other things to do.

    If you don't go to Monterey you won't see this:

    Orcas attack gray whales in Monterey Bay (11 pics) - Tom Stienstra's Outdoors

    Actually I didn't see any whales there, although we did see them further down the coast. Re sea otters, we did see them but only with the aid of a fairly powerful scope handed to us by a docent at the aquarium. Otherwise they were just a little blob in the distance. I'd say your chances of seeing one on a short random visit to Monterey would be almost nil, and I wouldn't be taking the sort of deviation you mentioned on the off-chance.

    However the Aquarium is stunning, far better than any in Australia. For me the aviary was worth the price of admission. (But then I am a birdo). Water lapping on the shore, mussels on the rock, superb exhibitry.
     

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  18. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't know what the Grimm's are? :confused:

    I will definitely report back, but probably not too much when I'm on the road. And probably not in as much detail as TLD's German trip ;)
     
  19. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I have decided to go to CAS, and probably skip SFZ. But I will have to skip Monterey Bay as well I'm pretty sure (despite how awesome it looks). Hopefully I will see wild whales, seals and maybe sea otters on the whale watching tour I'm doing from Seattle. I should be able to see seals in San Fran too I think.

    Are there places to see seals down around San Diego somewhere? I think I remember reading that. Maybe elephant seals?
     
  20. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    We saw elephant seals at San Simeon, which is half way between SF and LA. I don't think they are any further south. You will be there at the wrong time too, unfortunately. You will see sealions on the waterfront in San Francisco. It is interesting seeing them so close to a big city. Watch out for the Melbourne tram trundling along the waterfront, too.

    If you are really desperate for large animals in SF you can go down the road from the CAS and see the bison in Golden Gate Park!
     
    Last edited: 1 May 2014