Friday, December 14, 2012

Run for your lives!'s a.....Giraffe???

Ah the beauty of Southern California! Why you ask? Everything is about an hour away and so convenient. I know I have mentioned this before, but it really is a great perk. Luckily another attraction that is worth visiting is near us, The Safari Park. If one  has a clear road ahead, it's about an hour away, south of Orange County. It's a nice drive down the 5 freeway as you pass the nuclear plant San Onofre (looks like boobs, heehee) and most importantly the Pacific Ocean. Just make sure you don't stare at the ocean for too long. It is very tempting to direct your gaze off that road.

I'll admit there is a point where the second travelled freeway ends, the 78, and you wonder if a wrong road was taken. The land dedicated to the park is secluded in the hills near the city Escondido. When hope is almost lost, you come upon the greenery that surrounds The Safari Park signage. For those that don't carry cash, like myself, the toll booths for parking do accept cards. That was a relief! It was also a grand surprise that Eric and I were able to park so close to the main entrance. Last year we parked in a land far far away, on a dirt lot. And, I was pleased to be reminded that they pipe music into the parking lot! Nice touch!
No Howard here.

We know people in high places at this park so we had the red carpet rolled out for us! For the sake of the animals, I hope that carpet was made from sustainable products. On that Imaginary red carpet, at the park entrance, we met our great pal Kevin. Thanks to his employment as a lion tamer, we were able to waltz through the front turnstile, in style. (He's not really a lion tamer but we can pretend)

It was a relief to see that it felt as though we had the park to ourselves. I think all must be Christmas shopping or in school. Walkways were clear. I could hear music from the carousel (which I didn't notice at all the last visit). I'm sure you all get the picture.

We then set out to find this odd looking bird that resembles Howard the Duck. If you are clueless as to who that is..... First, pat yourself on the back for never having to see that film....Second, you might just be too young. (I've never actually seen the film, but I have seen clips of it) Anyway.......Kevin, Eric, and I gave up our search quickly after a few minutes of strolling around what I will call "The Bird Pond". We were ready to see some gorillas.
Left : Grandmother Gorilla, 57 years. Center : Alpha 
Awww, the baby. 1.5 years old

Last November we saw the youngest gorilla at a few months old. Well we were told he was now about a year and a half. It took some patience, but he finally emerged from the cave where he was probably resting. Watching him run around was awesome! By watching him create solutions to get what he wanted, it showcased how smart the gorillas are. The leader of the pack, the male, was very calm as he kept watch. When it was time to be fed, he was fed first and the others joined. I should mention that the eldest gorilla (grandmother) was born in 1957! That's very impressive!

Something else that really caught my eye are the serene locations that are within the park. There is a winding trail that takes you through what is a huge garden and forest. It's quite nice to look at, so I added a panoramic view. And, in that area we came across some interesting animals such as Warthogs, these deer looking things, and a few exotic birds. As peaceful as all that is, the main attraction for the park are the safari trams or caravan tours. Kevin set us up for a caravan tour and he headed back to the offices. Before going to check in for the ride, Eric and I stopped by the mighty lions.

It was still early, around 10 AM, so the lions were active. Well, they were as active as they were going to be that day. Although only our second trip to this park as a couple, both times we have had great views of the lions and lionesses. When one visits Animal Kingdom in Florida, it is "hit or miss" with the lions. As you can see, we had a very close encounter. He really was staring us right in the face and it was a little creepy.

As mentioned, Eric and I were heading to the caravan tour. That is going to be quite the addition to the blog. It's full of many more animals and feedings! It's best if that is left for part two of this post. (Keep the few of you reading this, wanting more) Have you been to this park? And, have you also been to Animal Kingdom? Thoughts on either??? Leave some comments because I'd like to hear your thoughts. (or maybe you hate zoos altogether?)

I'll end with this cool shot of a bat flapping his wings, which of course gives us an upside down BATMAN signal!

The Joker better start running!

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