Monday, October 20, 2008

My Town Monday: San Diego Wild Animal Park



It's about time I did a MTM post on San Diego's Wild Animal Park. Why? Because this is the scene of the crime in I So Don't Do Mysteries. My children and I took A LOT of trips to the Park while I was writing this book. It was with great pleasure that I wrote off the mileage on last year's taxes!




The Park is huge at about 1,800 acres. There are over 3,500 animals. And they have the largest CRASH of rhinos (yes, that's what you call a group of rhinos!) of any zoo. The Wild Animal Park is very open concept. The animals must love all the space. Forget about trying to see everything in one visit. Even with the monorail and tethered helium balloon, you'd still have to cover an incredible about of territory by foot in an attempt to take it all in. Much better to kick back, fit in a couple of shows, meander around and enjoy yourself.

Once, I got to be the volunteer at the Bird Show. A falcon landed on my (well-gloved) wrist to peck at some sort of meat spread. Very cool. Although, according to DH, I looked terrified.

Besides the regular daytime visit to the Park, you can spend the night. They provide the tent. And the meals. And lots of animal entertainment. Oh yeah, and the bonfire. A few years ago, Child #2 and I did a Roar & Snore. Total blast. Very weird, though, to know the nocturnal rustlings were WILD BEASTS WITH SHARP TEETH nosing around the fence. Anyway, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. And it's something you could plan ahead, if you knew you were going to vacay here.

A really really the-world-is-small bizarre thing happened the time of the sleep-over. So, as most of you know, I grew up in TORONTO. As in CANADA. The Wild Animal Park is in SAN DIEGO. In the tent next to mine and Child #2's was a guy (well, now a dad. He was there with his wife and two kids) from my HIGH SCHOOL (which wasn't overly huge). In fact, I went to the Graduation Dance (our version of the Prom) with this guy's BEST FRIEND. I don't think the Wild Animal Park can guarantee these kind of tripping-down-memory-lane encounters, but you never know...
Me in high school (Not that I've changed. Ha! Dodging giant lightning bolt!)

Please visit Travis Erwin, the guy who spearheads My Town Mondays. He has a really interesting post up this week about Umbarger, TX. Not to mention he'll have a list of links to other Mondayers.
Sources:
http://www.sandiego.org/event/Visitors/2286
http://www.sandiegozoo.org/calendar/wap_roar_and_snore.html

17 comments:

Laura said...

I love that park. WOW - fun!

keri mikulski :) said...

Beautiful park..

The world is so small sometimes. Weird. :)

deboradale said...

What a great post, Barrie. The park sounds wonderful. Here in NY, the Bronx Zoo also offers over-nighters. I'd considered it for Daughter's birthday but never worked up the nerve to actually do it. Your post makes me want to really check into it. Who knows who I'll meet in the next tent. Maybe a hero or heroine for my next book. Now, wouldn't that be cool?

~Debbie

Jenny Jill said...

Kewl place!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Next trip there, maybe we'll get to this place.

Charles Gramlich said...

There's one of these not far from us and Lana and I went not long ago. Twas much fun.

Travis Erwin said...

My family has began discussing a trip to San Diego, possibly via Amtrax since none of us have ever ridden a train. Anyway I'll ahve to add this to the list of other places you've made me want to visit.

Larramie said...

The Animal Park is even more "wild" in Barrie's novel, you'll enjoy!

laughingwolf said...

great stuff, thx barrie :)

Barrie said...

Thank you, Larramie, who is so my new BFF!

preTzel said...

I've never been but now I want to go. My boys would *love* camping in that place while I think I'd prefer not to be so close to wild animals with sharp teeth. :D

gabe said...

I'm jealous - an overnight zoo! Amazing. Can't blame you for trading in Toronto for San Diego.

Great setting for a novel ... Now the San Diego Zoo will become even more famous!

Reb said...

Wow, that looks like such a great place - and to overnight! That would be fabulous (aside from my myriad allergies).

Angela said...

That camping at the zoo sounds great

lyzzydee said...

Oh my God, I can't beleive that for all these months I have got it in my head that you are a MAN!!!!! What am I on???
I need to look beyond the name infuture. Its a revelation!! Great post. wanders off to slap herself.

Barbara Martin said...

I would love to camp in a zoo. Great post, now I want to go there.

debra said...

I visited the San Diego Zoo many years ago ( I had driven across the country to San Diego with a very strnge guy I used to know.......)
I remember a very beautiful place.