Allons-y! UPDATED 6/18: This is the end...

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by OhioStateBuckeye, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    This tree is very interesting:

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    This may be my favorite picture of the 10 million I've already posted:

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    After I purchased a colored glass wind chime for my mom we waved goobye to the historical place of interest.

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    We shared out the remainder of our saved EOS mystery sandwich:

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    It was pretty good, but I prefer the Holiday or the Hawaiian BBQ.

    Then we were driving for what seemed like forever.

    We did see some cool things like this green dirt:

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    Then we started driving through mile after mile of these:

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    and...

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    It was pretty much never ending. I wonder how many people just pull over and grab a few.

    I was getting pretty irritated at driving, but the car rental agreement was under my name and we didn't want to pay more to put Brian on it. So I kept driving. And driving.

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    We were on a small 2 lane road too, so I kept getting a car or 2 backed up behind me. I understand the mindset, I am from a small town too and would get irritated with people driving the speed limit on roads I knew like the back of my hand. But this road was pretty windy and I had never driven it before, so then I got to deal with people tail gating me. Not fun.

    We finally reached the entrance of the National Park as the sun began to set.

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    Then we encountered what I think is called Devil's Canyon or Devil's Descent or something like that. If you've ever been there you know what I mean.

    We turned a corner in the road and there was just this huge descent in front of us. The road was extremely steep and windy. And of course I was driving so Brian couldn't get one decent picture of it. I was a bit irritated at this. I'd been driving almost all day with few breaks and it really was an amazing view and scene and we don't have one good picture of it and I can't find any online to borrow. Sigh.

    Anyway, it took about a half hour to get down to the bottom. Here are a couple pictures that do the scenery zero justice.

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    We found the ranger's station, and of course, the rangers had just left about half an hour earlier. I had read about a few trails online that I wanted to do. There was a short trail to an oasis from the ranger's station, and looking back we should have just quickly hiked that while there was still daylight but we decided to go and find our campsite and get set up.

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    Here is Brian setting the tent up in the dark.

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    We tried to take pictures of the millions of stars with the gorillapod but I guess my camera just isn't good enough.

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    They all turned out like this or worse.

    We cooked some food, I dragged all the stuffed animals and souvenirs out of the car cause I was bored, and then we tried to take some pictures as we listened to the older couple in the RV next to our spot very loudly discuss how 'this was their life now' and other deep philosophical discussions.

    We were pretty tired from the drive so we got everything cleaned up and went to sleep.
     
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  3. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    Some confessions about our few camping trips.

    I refuse to go to the bathroom without a toilet. I have no idea how I grew up without going outside, I am from a very small town in Western Pennsylvania and everyone does it. I have always refused and I am not about to start now, so if I am going to camp somewhere it has to have a little outhouse or something. This campground was actually pretty nice, it had indoor bathrooms and showers.

    Of course I woke up at like 3 am and had to go to the bathroom. I was convinced I was going to step on a poisonous snake and die. But I made it to and from the bathroom alive. Victory!

    We had our alarm set for 5 am (who knows whats wrong with us??) we had wanted to make it to the San Diego zoo at 9 am for their opening to see the baby panda without a huge line. And since we had arrived late the night before and hadn't got our hike in we had to do it this morning.

    Sometimes I wonder what our camping neighbors thought of us. We rolled in when it was already pretty dark, then by the time anyone was awake the following morning we were gone.

    Brian pretty much did all the camp break down himself, that is what happens when you date an eagle scout, they know they can do this stuff better and faster without you. Which was fine by me, I stumbled around taking dark pictures of the campsite.

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    Here is our little picnic table:

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    By the time the car was packed up and ready to go it was starting to get a bit brighter.

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    The campsite was pretty close to the little town. I just had to take a picture of this sign, remind anyone a bit of Radiator Springs?

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    I guess this wild ship is like the mascot of the Park, they are pretty elusive and we never saw any.

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    This is where we could have stayed had we not wanted to camp:

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    There was a tiny little town there.

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    I guess the National Park is kind of in a donut shape. The town was there before it became a national park, so it was allowed to stay. Then the national park kind of is in a giant ring around it, so there were several signs saying 'welcome to the park' when we thought we were already in the park.

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    I think the park may be best known for off roading. Which is allowed because the people will do it on the privately owned land. We saw lots of jeeps and trucks.


    Brian knew the vague direction to drive to get us to our trail and we had about a half hour drive to get there.

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    Then we saw these pretty awesome sculptures out in the middle of nowhere:

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    Actually, the first one we saw was from quite a distance away. So we thought it was some sort of weird demon thing, then as we got closer we were like oooh its a statue!

    They were all pretty cool. We were going to come back this way and get closer pictures but never did, so I stole some from a google image search so you can see how awesome the sculptures really are.

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  4. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful, besides seeing your run of the mill trucks with 10 foot high jacked up undercarriages and weirdly decorated trailer lots.

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    If you ever wondered where Disney got inspiration for the Chester and Hester tourist trap decorations in AK, it was probably this place.

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    Sadly, we didn't get any of the odder sights on camera. Of course. Kind of like how no one ever gets a good picture of the Loch Ness Monster or bigfoot. But I swear we saw some weird things.

    After driving for far longer than we would have thought, we came across what we thought might be a trail head. We were looking for one that would take us to elephant knees and the wind cave. I'd read about it on trip advisor. All the trails at Joshua Tree were always very clearly marked and we had a good time there. I do not think this park was as well organized. If only we'd made it in time to talk with a ranger, I'm sure we would have been set straight. But of course I had to go on my earlier historical place of interest detour.

    So anyway, we thought this was a trail, though not the one I wanted. So we decided to further explore.

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    We drove along this small dirt road until we felt the car probably couldn't handle going much farther, then we got out and walked the rest of the way to the start of the trail. They had a little pamphlet with explanations of some of the plant life we would see on the trail.

    We figured the trail couldn't be very long so we just started walking without any water or supplies.

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    Oddly enough bullet holes in signs don't really shock me (remember, grew up in small hunting town), but seriously people, must we shoot national park signs??

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    Looks like someone had been doing a little feng shui sand design around this tiny flower in the path:


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    Before too long we decided we should turn around, since we didn't bring any water and didn't feel like we were getting any closer to the promised elephant trees.
     
  5. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    Here is a picture of our guide pamphlet:

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    The car is still here!! Yay!

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    Then we plugged the San Diego zoo into the GPS and headed out.

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    We ended up leaving a different way than we came in so we never got another chance to stop and look at the sculptures. The way out was also incredibly boring.

    Overall, I was pretty disappointed with Anza-Borrego. Yeah, it woulda helped if we had made it in time to talk with a ranger, but we didn't talk to a ranger at Joshua Tree and we still went on 3 hiking trails and had a great time.

    I felt like nothing was clearly marked here, there were barely any signs at all whereas Joshua Tree would have little pull off areas and the brown signs explaining the natural phenomena in the area.

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    This is the road that all the angry cars were tailgating us on:

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    And then I guess we were getting into higher elevations...because we started to see snow...

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    Really, Southern california?! If we wanted snow we woulda stayed in the midwest.

    Then we passed through a little lodge/resort area that really reminded us of the Grand Californian:

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    It had all the towering pine trees and snow and the building were made out of dark wood.

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    We were wanting to stop for breakfast...but for about an hour or more there were absolutely no commercial establishments of any kind. We had each had a Cliff bar for breakfast before the hike, and now we were stuck with eating trail mix.

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    Finally we got onto a major highway and were about half an hour from San Diego.

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    I like the palm tree and the hill look.

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    We got a bit lost in a San Diego neighborhood that was by the zoo. Tempers were running short at this time, I think we were both hungry and tired of being in the car.

    But we finally made it!! We parked a little far back in the parking lot.
     
  6. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    Sorry that Anza-Borrego wasn't as awesome as Soarin makes it out to be. One big different between Joshua Tree and A-B is that Joshua Tree is a National Park and Anza-Borrego is a state park. I'm not sure about state parks in CA, but I know here in AZ they've had a lot of cutbacks of services and even temporarily closed a few.

    Looking forward to the zoo. Baby panda, right?

    PHXscuba
     
  7. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    Hmm, you are right about the state vs. national park distinction.

    Yes the baby panda :thumbsup2 and a lot of other super cute animals.
     
  8. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    Brian at least changed his shirt but I was stuck in my sweatpants I had hiked in earlier. And I was dumb about my footwear, I decided to wear flip flops. My feet weren't hurting at the moment, but my feet had been hurting earlier from all the Disney running around, so it wasn't the best idea.


    We went in about half an hour after it opened for the day (9:00 was the opening time), we were able to use my AAA card for a slight discount. I had read online that we needed to get to the baby panda right away or else the lines could get super long.

    If you have never been there....the San Diego Zoo is just a series of giant hills. They have buses to cart you around that are included with your admission ticket, but geez. I come from Pittsburgh, which I thought was the hilliest place I'd seen. The San Diego zoo tops that.


    Anyway, we made it to the panda exhibit and saw a huge temporary queue set up. Luckily, it was empty. So we'd beat the rush at least.

    The first pandas in the exhibit were red pandas. I am pretty sure they are one of my favorite animals. And they are actually not closely related to regular pandas at all (weird, right?).

    Awww he is hiding, but he is not really very good at it.

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    Next up we saw this guy in a cage all by himself:

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    I don't think he was the dad of the baby, but he might have been. I don't really have a clue.

    OK, I'd like everyone to know that I am only going to show about 1/10th of the pictures I took of the baby panda. Your welcome.

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    And yeah...he actually was kind of sleeping in this box the whole time, so none of the pictures are earth shatteringly cute. Not at all like my favorite panda picture ever:

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    Or anywhere near this cute:

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    Back to the pandas that I actually did see:

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    I talked to the zookeeper a bit. She told me that the baby doesn't really have regular nap times, he just conks out wherever and whenever he wants. Looks like mom was taking advantage of this down time. She also told me they always get huge lines in the afternoon to see the baby.

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    After about 10 or 15 minutes we gave in an decided we weren't going to get to see the baby frolicking around, so we left and I found this amazing purse at the gift shop:

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    Don't judge.

    I loved it.

    After that we just kind of followed the paths and saw some animals:

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    Um...this bear was actually getting ready to poop over the side. He is not doing it yet in this picture, and I thought it was weird they went to the bathroom over the ledge.

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    Maybe they don't have a lot of space and don't want to go to the bathroom in their living rooms?

    Look at those claws...

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    This otter was pretty playful, but he didn't go into the water.

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    This guy is gross. I share Indiana's views on snakes and think they are very reasonable views. I'm including the picture because someone has to like snakes.

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    I have a weird relationship with alligators and crocodiles. They scare me and I want them all dead, yet I have this sort of fascination with seeing them.


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  9. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    Then Brian tried to find a hummingbird sanctuary he remembered from when he was younger (he used to live in San Bernardino). He thought this was it but it just had regular old run of the mill exotic birds. We never did find any hummingbirds.

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    At last we came to our senses and decided to get an early lunch. Yippee Hooray! (said in a Mugatu voice from Zoolander)

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    This was our special panda cup that we were supposed to get refills on all day but I threw away the receipt:

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    I love hot dogs. I used to have one for lunch every single day of the summer break when I was younger. And if I wasn't quite in the mood for a hot dog I'd just eat a hot dog bun with ketchup on it. Both my sisters can't stand the sight of ketchup. Wonder if its cause I overdid it just a tad.

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    The zoo actually had two meerkat exhibits. One was in the little kid area and you could get super close to them.

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    Then for my next group of pictures it looks like the camera kept focusing on the cage bars instead of the animal like this one:

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    We went into the insect house and I thought it was actually really neat.

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    So they had all the leaf cutter ants set up so you could watch them takes the leaves below ground. They also had dung beetles and all these really well camoflauged bugs and they had a beehive that was in clear plastic. The bees had a pipe to go outside, so you could see them come in and build the honey coves. The zoo keeper inside told us the queen had to be locked up in a separate area where a keeper could know where she was at all times. I guess if the queen got loose it could be a really big disaster. They have to keep them locked up separate because there are only like 10 in the US and the government needs to know where they all are at any given time.

    Our 8 GB memory card finally filled up when we were in the bug house...and of course our back up card didn't work at all. Not sure what was going on with that, we had a bunch we had to leave behind at home because they gave an error with my camera too. They had all been used in the camera before so not sure what was wrong with them. We had to go to the gift shop and buy a whole brand new card.

    And the first picture I took with the new memory card was...

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    Ducks, of course.

    Then we went on the sky ride. It was included with our tickets and was a neat way to go from the front of the park to the back.

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    Very pretty:

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  10. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    Then we went on what I fondly called the antelope slope. Look! Its our standing friends from the Safari Park last year!

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    Next up was a pretty sweet exhibit.

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    Can you guys tell what that is?!

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    Yep, the polar bears!! (funny story, when I was posting this to the DIS and editing it, I had originally put pandas instead of polar bears).

    Here are the 3 bears that live here:

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    It was a pretty hot day, in the 80s. The water looked really good. Besides the fact there were huge polar bears swimming in it, that is.

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    I never really noticed how long polar bear necks are:

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    I guess we were in the arctic area because next we saw some adorable reindeer! I love how compact they look.


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  11. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    This zoo is infested with ducks...

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    I particularly like the black and white. His name is Puma.

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    Zebras!!

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    I forget what kind of animal this is, but I like it. It has a non-conventional body shape.

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    Looks kind of hyenaish instead of fox or dog.

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    The lions were so awesome. There was a zookeeper there and she said she had just given them a treat. It was kind of like a blood popsicle because of the hot weather.

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    There were a few lionesses in there too.

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    I don't know what animal this is but he is very handsome:

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    Next it was time for the elephant trail!!

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    I really don't know what is going on with that buddaish looking elephant statue. He looks pretty funny so I wanted to include him in my report.

    They had all sorts of elephant art:

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    Direwolves were real!! Game of Thrones woooooooo

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    Finally here are the real live elephants.

    A keeper put some sort of cucumber snack on this elephant's head. She was supposed to use her trunk to retrieve the treat but she was having none of it. After repeated urging from the keeper to get her treat, she turned tail and hightailed it outta there with the snack still on her head.

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    If an elephant doesn't wanna participate, it doesn't participate.

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    This elephant, however, was participating. He was getting a pedicure and he would obediantly offer his feet up to the zookeeper.
     
  12. Vancouver2Disneyland

    Vancouver2Disneyland Earning My Ears

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    Long time lurker saying hi and I'm pretty sure the animal is a capybara.
     
  13. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    I always like seeing the polar bears. We don't have any at the Phoenix Zoo -- probably too hot.

    The baby panda is adorable. They had a little one when we were there (Oct. 2008?) And the red pandas are cute too. I love the color and texture of their fur.

    Yep, that's a capybara ... world's largest rodent. And that zoo is ALL hill.

    PHXscuba
     
  14. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    Well he is a good looking, shiny animal hahaha. Thanks for coming out of lurkdom! You should comment more :thumbsup2 I like to talk.


    We have 2 at the Columbus zoo. They have a pretty cool set up there so you can watch the bears in the water. Usually one of the bears likes to go up to the highest point and jump into the water and run around again.

    I really do think I like the red pandas best.

    I am originally from Pittsburgh so I thought I knew what a hilly zoo would be like. I really had no idea.
     
  15. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    Cool bird:

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    These guys were just kinda hanging out.

    Bird looks a bit cuckoo hahaha. You will receive 0 apologies from me for bad jokes/puns.

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    This next part was really cool. We were on this steep incline part of the path where a lot of the big cats are kept. I am trying desperately to come up with a punny name for this, like my above antelope slope, but I am failing. Sorry.

    Anyway, it must have been getting close to feeding time or something because most of the cats were super close, like this leopard:

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    The black panther was stalking back and forth:

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    Then he conked out right in front of us:

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    Look at these giant feet!

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    I see you up in that tree...

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    Now it turns out at this moment his keeper was walking up the hill way out of sight. He must have heard him or smelled him because he jumped right down and started pacing.

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    We know this because 2 minutes later the keeper comes walking into sight and goes inside to check on something.

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    I thought the keeper was actually in the pen with them, but I think there was another fence in between him and them (hopefully).

    Then we saw the lion's friend!!

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    When I was in South Africa, the Lion King had just come out over there so one of our native guides called warthogs 'the lion's friend'. I also love warthogs. They are so hideously cute and funny looking. I love their dainty paws and how they hold their tails straight up. I got a stuffed animal warthog from Africa (if that doesn't prove my love, dunno what does).

    At this point it was late afternoon, super hot, my feet were killing me and we still had a long way to go, so we finally hopped on one of the double decker buses.

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    We kind of did this loop around some animals:

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    When we were midway through our loop, a woman dropped her camera off the bus. Her male companion took a flying leap off the bus to retrieve it. The bus driver then spent the last few moments of the drive commenting on random people jumping off buses, and to make it worse the guy jumped back on the bus with the retrieved camera, only to have the bus come to a stop a few seconds later. Very weird.

    Anyway, we were off the bus and we saw the flamingos!!

    I usually don't like flamingos, I always thought they were boring.

    Then we saw this delightful fellow doing a happy dance.

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    If you want to know what he looks like, search on youtube for 'happy duck dancing for food'. The flamingo was eating something on the ground, and he would quickly pound his feet on the ground in this little dance. It was so adorable. Brian couldn't get his phone started up quick enough to get it on camera, because....I kid you not. This bully:

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    Marched on over and made the happy flamingo stop. Thats right, Disney totally has it right in their flamingo short on the new Fantasia movie. They are snooty animals, and don't like others to be different and have a good time.

    Don't believe these guys are absolute snoots? Just look at em

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    Walkin around with their noses up in the air. What a bunch of snooty mcsnootersons.

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    Snoots. I felt so bad for the poor dancing flamingo. I bet he is never allowed to have any fun.

    Then we saw these guys:

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    And then the cuteness level shot through the roof. I probably took 100 pictures (literally) of these next 2 animals and I still can't get over the cuteness...
     
  16. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    We love big cats around our house and it makes me happy when they are up and around at the zoo, not just conked out in a corner. I got to hold a baby panther in a Mexican zoo a few years ago and came thisclose to trying to smuggle it home in my luggage (you shoulda seen my dog sniffing me later that day ... confused!) That was the same zoo where I saw a male lion RUN across his cage and roar -- they never do that!

    The flamingo interaction sounds amazing -- you can never tell what you'll come across. I still remember trying to tactfully explain mating turtles to my kids (just imagine the shells clacking :eek:)

    PHXscuba

    p.s. Waiting on the cuteness!!
     
  17. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    I am very jealous you got to hold a baby panther. You totally should have hid it under your shirt. Lol.

    I agree, I don't think anyone sees male lions in action much, they let all the females do the hunting. Lazy. Reminds me of something.

    That is super funny about the turtles...turtles must be quite amorous because we saw it too. Brian had to take a video, then these other 4 college age guys started running up and videoed it too. Boys.


    Oh don't worry, the cuteness is coming. And I have plenty of pictures.
     
  18. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    Sep 7, 2007
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    2,098
    Its a zebra and donkey that live together and love each other!!!!!

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    Here they are kissing:

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    And hugging:

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    I love love love these two.

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    And here is a youtube link to a video Brian took of them:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbDSUNiGhto

    I've always heard most zebras are mean, but when we got back home we found out that this one is super nice and you can take special tours and pet this one. That is probably why she was so close to us, she wanted petted. I would have loved to have obliged, but I didn't wanna get kicked out of the zoo.

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    Reluctantly we said goodbye :(

    We walked by the giraffes, I think this picture looks 3D in a weird way:

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    Sleepy rhinos.

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    Oh this orangutan is so classic:

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    Then we had a snack break and got some dip n dots!! Ice cream of the future!

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    Even though I swear it has been the ice cream of the future for about 20 years now. You'd think it'd catch up to the future eventually.
     
  19. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    Sep 7, 2007
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    2,098
    Then we looked at an awful lot of birds because Brian loves them:

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    We were both getting near the end of our stamina (I'm joking, we'd reached that back around lunch, we were continuing purely on awesome animal hopes), so we decided we just had a few more to see then we could go and check into the new hotel for a break.

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    Haha okapis playing peek a boo

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    ...why is this turtles neck so unnaturally long...it really creeps me out

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    Then we decided to make monkeys of ourselves:

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    I bet this guy thought we are bananas:

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    We passed by some more snoots mcgoots:

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    I could feel them judging me as we quickly walked by.

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    The zoo has some awesome looking plants too, not just animals.

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    What are you smiling about, Mr. alligator? You make me nervous.

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    I believe at this point we really wanted to see the tigers and we ran all over and then they weren't even out :( I think at this point it was 4 and the zoo closed in an hour and we had had enough.



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    Goodbye zoo!!

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    All in all I thought the zoo was much better than the safari park. Even if you think I posted a ton of pictures of different animals, I didn't even post half my pictures, and I'm sure we missed a lot of animals. It is definitely a full day, maybe even 2. There were lots of play areas for little kids and shows, so they'd definitely be entertained. All the hills do make it kind of exhausting, but there are free buses and the sky ride thingie.

    All in all I'd highly recommend it.
     
  20. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,596
    I too like the zoo better than the safari park, especially now that they changed the safari park to upsell everything.

    Totes cute donkey and zebra. I love it when they let different animals live together, just like they would do in the wild.

    My best San Diego Zoo story was when DS was 3. I asked him before we went in what animal he wanted to see most (figuring he'd say a giraffe or elephant). He said he wanted to see a horse. Uh-oh ... no farm area at this zoo. I gently told him that we probably wouldn't see a horse and tried to get him excited about the "amazing" animals he would see. Wouldn't you know it, about an hour later we turned a corner, and there was a keeper, leading a miniature horse by the reins. She stopped and let DS pet it. I have never been so happy to be wrong!

    I am thinking we might go to San Diego this fall if I can squeeze it in. SoCal has so much to do that we'll never run out of great places to go!

    PHXscuba
     
  21. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,098

    Mini horses are another of my fav all time animals. I'm glad he got to see one. Funny when things like that work out :confused3

    We never seem to have enough time in San Diego. This was our second time there and my first time seeing Balboa park, I probably could have spent another full day at all the museums.
     

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