Sea world - San Diego
07.12.2012 - 07.12.2012 18 °C
I have to start by talking about my breakfast. I had an American bagel with cream cheese. Now bagels aren't like the hard, brick like things that we have back home. These are chewy (sort of), light and have a marvelously inviting smell that drives you silly for the carb loaded little treats. I get addicted to them each time I am here and return to Australia wanting them more. Bagels will be on my breakfast menu quite a few times over the next few weeks.
After breakfast we had a private tour operator drive us the 10 to 15 minutes to the zoo. Our hotel no longer provides a shuttle service to here as they do to the zoo. While it cost us $30, we had the van to ourselves and we will be picked up again in the early evening. The line up to the zoo was quite long when we arrived at 10.15am. Still we only had to wait 5 minutes to collect our tickets and a further 5 minutes to get through security and the main gates. The park officially opens at 11 am but you are able to walk around the front entrance and take a Skytower ride, which is what we did.
A little research the night before, we had worked out the show times and what ones we wanted to see. The first couple of hours in the park was spent moving between the first 3 shows of the day and looking at any exhibits that were close by. I brought 4 small squid for $6 so Pat could feed the eagle rays. He ending up being scared of their flapping wings and Dad ended up feeding them instead.
The first show we saw was the "Story of Shamu". It really is quite amazing to see these huge mammals in in their speed and strength zooming around the pool. While they may be in captivity, they still appear to be wild and untamed. Maybe it's the distinctive colouring and markings. They look scary! My favourite part is always when the people in the soak zone get splashed by the whales. And boy do they get soaked.
The shows are all wonderfully different and entertaining and the boys where amazed at all the different animals, performers and their costumes. The Americans always entertain on a whole different level to the rest of us and they memorable to say the least.
The section of the park which is of most interest to us is the Wild Arctic and Penguin Encounter. This area has a marvellous collection of cold region animals, including penguins, puffins, walrus and the show stoppers the belugas and polar bears. Last time I was here I was was looking forward to seeing the puffins, which I sat and watched again. But it is the belugas that have all the visitors transfixed. They are about the size of pilot whale, very white, with very muscular looking body. They like to swirl and spin around the pen that they live in and scratch their backs on the rocky surrounds. They are amazing to watch and must be quite spectacular to see in the wild.
The zoo opened at 11am and we were picked up at 5.30pm (it closes at 6pm). It was getting dark, we were tired and Pat decided he just couldn't walk anymore. It was a very busy day and we got to see most of the exhibits and have a go of some of the rides. This place needs more than one day, but I am finding that is pretty standard for San Diego's icons. Rest day tomorrow with a spot of shopping and a visit to the USS Midway.