In the midst of my calamity week, I was reminded about the San Diego Zoo special for October. Kids get in free! I was under the impression that active duty military also get in free, but they are a little misleading on that advertisement. The service member gets in free and dependents get a whoppin' 10% discount. Military friends beware, each park has their own set of rules when it comes to discounts (Sea World was the whole family got in free and you needed a print off+ID to get in).
The deal was just too good to pass up. Without this special, it would have cost me $200 just to get into the zoo! Plus, Eli is learning plant and animal life for science, so with a garden and a zoo visit, we're good...right? I asked a friend if she wanted to join us (promising her that I am not crazy) and she was sold on the deal as well. I am so thankful she came because it made the trip so much more fun.
Also worth noting for people interested in going to the zoo, there is also a San Diego Zoo Safari Park that is in Escondido and is not the same as the downtown zoo. Both of our GPS's took us to the Safari park that was 40 minutes past where we wanted to be...so be careful. However, we did note the winery and nice shopping center right by the Safari park and put it on our "future trip" list.
I thought it was the best zoo I've ever been to. I loved the paths that lead you through the animal exhibits. I felt like I was really in their habitat and the animals were much closer than I've ever experienced.
|Coolest animal we saw...not cool that I can't remember the name|
We went on a Friday and were prepared for crazy crowds, especially around the panda's (notorious for a LONG line), but we were surprised to find it not that packed. We walked right up to the panda's and were able to look at them for as long as we wanted.
|Watching the pandas.|
The kids loved the petting zoo part and play ground near the entrance. The mom's loved a chance to sit and drink a coffee.
My only complaint would be that the bathrooms were really hard to find. 7 Arizona kids who are used to drinking a lot of water=a lot of bathroom breaks which= 2 moms doing a lot of walking to find hidden bathrooms.
I can see how you can spend a couple of days at the zoo. We didn't see everything, but I was satisfied with what we did. They have a lot of great animals and fun exhibits. We will definitely be going back next October.
By the time we were done at the zoo, we figured we either needed to hit the road ASAP to avoid traffic and get home for dinner (there's no place to stop along the drive home) or we needed to stay until rush hour was over. We chose the beach! When in doubt, choose the beach!
We did not plan on going to the beach, but it was perfect. The kids played in the sand and climbed the rocks and had a blast getting their clothes soaking wet.
Laural and I sat on the beach and laughed about all of our calamities of the week and just let the sound of the ocean wash away all the stress of the week. It was just the refreshment I needed. It was music to my ears when she said, "I really needed this" and I was so thankful that the trip was not a burden to her, but a blessing.
I've only been to San Diego 3 times and I don't really know my way around, but I do know my way to Smash Burger. Go there. By far my favorite burger place and make sure you get the smash fries!
We drove home that night and didn't hit an ounce of traffic. As I drove, I realized how I felt so much better. Isn't that strange? It should have been a stressful day. I should have come home feeling more burnt out, but instead I came home with a big smile on my face and refreshment in my heart. It was so good for both Laurel and I, that we have already begun plans for another (but longer) trip. I half jokingly said, "Field trip Friday's at the beach!" Oh, I love that about homeschooling.