Last Saturday, because we're gluttons for punishment, we took Liam to the Zoo... for the grand opening of their newest exhibit... on Memorial Day weekend!
We must have been living particularly exemplary lives lately, because we got there an hour and a half after opening & still managed to get a great parking place (thanks to Liam's favorite "blue placard"). We walked around the monkey and ape exhibits for a while and then sat down in the shade at a cafe while we waited for Aunt Jen.
The new exhibit is called Elephant Odyssey, and it is truly amazing. Here's a link to the Zoo's information about it: http://www.elephantodyssey.com/. The enclosure for the elephants themselves is 7.5 acres, divided in half for their Asian & African herds (they switch sides in the afternoons so that each herd has some time to play in the pool on the north end). The theme of the exhibit is sort of "San Diego, old and new," showcasing animals that lived here in the pleistocene era. So, the elephants are paired up with huge statues of mammoths, and the lion & jaguar exhibits have statues of saber-toothed tigers & a giant cave lion out front that kids (and grown ups!) can climb on, and there are condors, which have been here all along, and a bunch of other animals. Liam really loved seeing the llamas -- of course!
They have great play areas throughout the exhibit for kids. Besides the statues I mentioned above, there are a couple of areas where kids can "excavate" fake fossils, and some more traditional playground stuff, too.
There is also a very good restaurant, not a sit down place, but with actual tasty food! And it doesn't cost much more than their other restaurants, the ones with burgers that taste like the awful things in school cafeterias. Yay!
For those of you familiar with the Zoo, the new exhibit covers the area that used to be Hoof & Horn Mesa. I don't know what they did with all of the herd animals or the giraffes. I'm sure they're around the Zoo somewhere...
Here's a link to the pictures from our day at the Zoo. http://picasaweb.google.com/Liam.Camoras/20090523AtTheZoo?authkey=Gv1sRgCLCsw9iI8eON-AE#