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I think what I love most about visiting the zoo is that every time you go, it is a new experience. Every time there is a different animal who is feeling alert, social, or playful. The monkeys that were fighting last time aren’t up to much today, but the tiger is romping in the water batting at his toys. The cobra who was swallowing a rat whole that one time is curled up in the corner but the Komodo Dragon is pacing his enclosure. The baby panda you saw climbing around the trees is just napping right now but the Lions were chuffing and growling. Each visit is unique. I’ve even strolled the zoo at night enjoying a scavenger hunt during a mother-daughter sleepover event with my mom. We howled at an Arctic wolf and it howled back, pet an alligator and some exotic, adorable furball whose name I can’t remember.

We took Trin to the zoo for her first birthday:

One of my favorite memories was a behind the scenes private tour by a zoo keeper friend. He took us to the off enclosure sights of the Hippos, Okapi’s, and Polar Bears and shared all sorts of fun stories about these animals who all seem to have personalities as unique as my kids. Josh, while making steady progress in healing is, sadly, not yet back to work since being hit by a drunk driver a year ago. But I certainly thought of him during my first trip back to the zoo since his accident.

I have so many special memories at the San Diego Zoo, I was practically giddy to bring my own little monkeys there this summer! Thanks to a “once in our computer, always in our computer” policy, it didn’t matter that I am no longer a Southern California resident. I was able to renew my long expired Zoo Membership and we look forward to a year of animal adventures ahead. Here’s who was out and feeling  social this time around:

Meer Cat:

Gazelle:Sloth Bear:Brown Bear:Red Tree Kangaroo:Trinity…in the Lost Forest:Flirting Flamingos:Baby Giraffe: Gao Gao, father of 6 panda cubs. Can’t decide if this one or the giraffe above is my favorite of the batch:Takin, possibly my favorite animal. Aren’t they cute? The zoo describes them as having the nose of a moose, horns of a gnu, body of a cow, and hind quarters of a hyena. Young Takins:

And the daddy. I wish the stone to the right wasn’t in the way but he was too pretty not to include this photo:

Monkeys:Of course, I’m kind of partial to these monkeys:

The second time we went, we were the FIRST people on the skyfari for the day:

The view we enjoyed of Balboa Park:

As the girls and I got up close with a polar bear Andy snapped this one with his phone:

We look forward to seeing who is feeling friendly at Christmas time!