A video crossed my Facebook news feed this morning of a horse teaching a filly to jump a short wall. That reminded me of our trip to San Diego’s zoo where we witnessed a mother hippo teaching her baby to swim. It also reminded me that I have yet to post photos from that trip to the zoo. I hope you enjoy them.
The San Diego Zoo has a reputation for being one of the best zoos in this country, so we knew we wanted to fit it in when we planned a trip to California in April to visit our son who lives in Los Angeles. He met us in San Diego.
I noticed a lot of similarities to the zoo here in Cincinnati, which also has a great reputation.
There were beautiful and exotic flowers and trees. You probably recognize the Bird of Paradise flower. This tree looked like it had huge cotton, or maybe popcorn, balls hanging on it.
A convention of flamingos welcomed us near the entrance.
We saw lazy bears lounging,
Monkeys climbing (actually a Lion-tailed Macaque pronounce Mak – ack),
a graceful couple posing for portraits,
and small critters popping their heads up here and there.
This gorilla was sitting, contemplating life or maybe her fingers. We watched her drag a burlap bag across the enclosure to the window, then promptly sit down on it with her back to us. I can’t say as I blame her.
Also like the Cincinnati Zoo, the one in San Diego cares for endangered species and makes education a priority, as pointed out by our son Mark Joseph.
I thought the Cincinnati Zoo was hilly, but its hills are mild compared to some of the inclines we walked up and down in San Diego. Overall, the zoo there is well-established and has some great walking trails. The Cincinnati Zoo has a jungle trail, but the many of the walkways at San Diego are landscaped and make you feel as if you are walking in a natural habitat not on a sterile roadway. This was a feature that I particularly liked.
This is the Tiger Trail that sits up above the enclosure. Our son is pictured in both of the above pictures. I was not stalking some random guy in a plaid shirt, in case you’re wondering.
Cincinnati also doesn’t have a sky ride, only a little train. This is a tree-top outdoor cafe that we enjoyed during our visit, also a very nice feature of this zoo. I think we had to walk up about three flights of steps to reach it.
But the best part of our visit to the San Diego Zoo was watching the mother hippo teaching her baby how to swim.
When we first saw them, they were both resting in the sun.
Then the baby started climbing on the mother, like, “Hey, I want to play.” And the mother was like, “Really? So soon? Give me a break. You’re wearing me out, kid.”
“Okay. Alright. We’ll go for a swim.”
Then they went under water and that mother hippo started pushing the baby around in a circle.
The baby didn’t seem to know exactly what to do. The mother kept pushing him around in a circle.
I don’t take a lot of video, but this is one case where I wish I had taken the time to switch from still photos to video.
After some period of time, the mother would get her nose under the baby and push him up to the surface.
They’d break surface, breath for a minute or two, and then down they’d go again.
They repeated this cycle several times before they climbed back out of the water and the mother got to rest again. This was one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever witnessed at any zoo.
If you ever make it to San Diego, try to fit a visit here into your itinerary. It’s well worth it.