A Weekend Chock-full of Animals

Visiting San Diego

San Diego was calling. I answered.
Mostly, I answered my awesome friend Laurie Rubin. She a wildlife and nature photographer, fabulous teacher and recently moved back to San Diego, where she’s a regular at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. She’s been beckoning. How could I resist?

So the hubs and I jumped on a plane this weekend and visited all of Laurie’s incredible animal friends. It was a rich time to visit: they’ve got more babies this year than they’ve had in a looooooong time. That’s one of the cool things about both of these places; the animals have families, live long lives and what an amazing place they have to do it in! The Safari Park is where many of the animals are conceived and raised… and it’s all done in a very large area, where even sensitive animals, never successful bred in captivity before, have large families. A few have been saved from extinction here: one species, the white rhino, has 2 of its last remaining 7 members of its species living out their final days here.

Truly Amazing Animals

Little Joanne is 8 months old. She lives with her mama, papa, brother and grandparents and here, had a little downtime on mom’s back. Just before then, she had entire crowds of people cooing, oohing and ahhhing with a blink of her baby brown eyes… and even as the pair disappeared for some privacy, folks sighed.


It was a warm day when we visited. So, one of the tigers in the brand new Tiger Trail plopped himself in the water and coooooooooled off. He was regal, comfortable in his skin and absolutely gorgeous.


The Secretary Bird is Laurie’s favorite. I loved them! They look like some sort of prehistoric ballerina, with their long legs, regal carriage and fancy plumage. This one was watching a particularly loud murder of crows (that’s actually what you call a group of them!) squawking overhead.


The Orangutans have a new baby too… and this big daddy’s name is Satu. He’s the new baby’s pops. He was handsome as hell and had the most incredible coat! I loved him – and the whole fam.


I’ll have more in the coming weeks… but just had to share some of the incredible bits of live and nature that I never expected to love so much this weekend. Zoos have always been a bit depressing to me. But here in San Diego – it’s a celebration of LIFE. Truly amazing.