Recently, I visited San Diego Zoo in San Diego, California. Prior to my visit, I raised a couple of simple questions to many people who had visited the zoo, “What is so special about zoo? Why this zoo is the most recommended place to visit in San Diego?” In my opinion, a zoo is a zoo! How can one zoo be any different from other zoos? You’ll all be looking at sad animals entrapped in a cage for people to see for their whole life.
When it was about time for me to visit the zoo, I was reluctant. We had been to safari in Africa before — seeing how free roaming animals lived their life, how cruel life could be when threat approached them, how happy they are living in a herd or a flock, and how beautiful their home can be. I never quite like the idea of zoo since I was young.
Regardless, my husband bought tickets for the two of us. Walking into the zoo at around 4 p.m., there were not much time left to explore the zoo, given the zoo would be closed at 7 p.m. We immediately hopped on the tour bus as we were tired from a half-day walk at Balboa park already. We had a very humorous lady as our tour guide/driver, and she sang so very well, too! We were all very entertained.
Along the tour, we saw many animals from different parts of the world. What surprising me the most was the zoo was very well managed and it was designed as close to its true nature as possible, organic! There were many different plants in the zoo, which was planted to fit the habitat of the fauna. The zoo also put two to three different animals together in the same living space to recreate that natural habitat. I was so happy when I learned that. My spirit was sparked. I turned lively in the zoo. I was watching and trying to speak with the animals, chatting with the animals’ experts who worked in the zoo and helped us understand and learn more about each animals’ behaviors as we walked by. The zoo attendance was very friendly, they would take the initiative to approach us and strike a conversation with us. Naturally, we were involved in a conversation and talked much about the animals.
San Diego zoo had turned into the best zoo I have ever visited. They managed it so well and so organically that I could see or feel that the animals were happy there. The zoo keepers treated them very nicely, sometimes, they even cuddled them. For example, a zoo keeper was cuddling this huge rhino as she cleaned the rhino’s fences. The rhino loved her and always followed her like a big kid begging for mom’s attention. This is my type of zoo, my dream zoo where animals don’t look sad, but happy.
Now, if someone asks me, “Why visiting San Diego zoo?” I do have a persuasive answer for them to visit the zoo. Not only that it is big (it is a home for over 3,700 rare and endangered animals, and 700,000 exotic plants), well maintained, and designed so naturally to fit the habitat; it also has a lot of other positive influence, impact, and educational value for everyone. In addition, San Diego zoo has a tour for safari park and its own botanical gardens. It is a lot to see and learn!
The lesson learned here for me is never shut the door on yourself. Keep exploring, and you shall find the answer; if not for others, you will find an answer for your own. Sometimes, you might get surprises from it. =)
Click on the link below to learn more about the zoo:
San Diego Zoo