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Taking advantage of the amazing winter weather in January, my wife and I headed over to the San Diego Zoo to delight in a day of watching the animals and enjoying each other’s company. With the San Diego Zoo being so closely located to Carmel Valley, it makes for the perfect little, fun-filled getaway without breaking one’s budget. Residents of San Diego County can become members of the zoo and receive tons of amazing benefits, such as unlimited admission to the Zoo and Park, unlimited rides on the Skyfari aerial tram, and 2 super discount admission tickets for your guests. At only $78 per person, one can enjoy the many attractions of the zoo throughout the year. Not only does the membership provide you with unlimited access to the parks, but a portion of the cost actually goes towards conservation efforts and animal rescue programs. Great way to make a difference in the world, while enjoying a day with your family!
With the San Diego Zoo spanning over 100 acres, it is definitely a good idea to wear your walking shoes and bring a snack, because you will be working up a sweat. Much of your time is spent walking up steep inclines or walking downhill, but the reward is plentiful, as you get to see a variety of exotic animals in lush landscapes. On more than one occasion, I felt as if I was actually in the tropical jungles of South America, watching monkeys swinging back and forth from vine to vine, rather than being in the heart of San Diego.
With over 4,000 animals and 800 different species, there is sure to be something for everyone’s liking. My personal favorite was the elephants at the Elephant Odyssey. This relatively new exhibit, opened in 2009, features a 2.5 -acre habitat and is the home of one gigantic African elephant and three Asian elephants. It was amazing to watch these enormous creatures break apart tree branches with their strong and powerful trunks, and take a cool dip in their very own swimming pool. One of the elephant experts provided us with a lot of educational information and even mentioned that the elephants undergo pedicures weekly while being fed their favorite food, raisins. What an awesome pampering session!
The zoo also offers a small petting zoo for children, as well as a playground, making it a popular destination for families. Throughout our entire day at the zoo, we saw tons of moms pushing strollers and children staring in awe at all of the different animals. The family friendly environment really allows for all ages to be entertained and educated. All in all, the zoo is definitely a hidden gem in San Diego, making it a great little getaway for families in Carmel Valley.
David A. Moya is a Carmel Valley San Diego community contributor and influencer for positive change. As founder of The Carmel Valley Life he focuses on education, transparency and helping others find a voice for their passion. During his earlier years, he fed his entrepreneurial spirit and founded a company focused on the development of young kids who are committed to peak performance. David went on to pay for his BA in Finance through his real estate business and after graduating flew more than 30 flights to over 10 countries in order to master the art of communication and business. Today, he enjoys creating value for his community by leading a movement of responsibility – one of sharing knowledge, stories and a helping hand.