Today my girlfriend treated me to a special behind-the-scenes tour of the San Diego Safari Park for my birthday. After breakfast at one of my favorite SD brunch establishments, Cafe Chloe, we made the trek out to Escondido. We were greeted by a very nice and affable tourguide Lisa, and Lauren and I and a sweet family of four rode in a golf kart as we got to go off the main path and see and witness and take part in some rad things.
We got to see Ginger the Cheetah roaming around. It’s very unusual for any big cats to move around alot during the day. I fed an Indian Rhino some lettuce and he showed us all his big rhino boner (protip: rhino penises look like the graboid tentacles in Tremors). We got to step out on foot in the South African plain filled with all kinds of antelopes, wild beasts, giraffes, serious Lion King vibes. Lisa then handed us some carrots and we got to chuck them into the Somali Wild Ass enclosure.
The most special part of the day came when we rode into the zookeepers’ entrance of the Lion habitat. It was really neat to take a peak into the environment that scientists and caretakers work in, daily feeding charts, a fridge filled with slabs of meat and blood popsicles, a microwave labeled ‘human food only.’ Since the shift between the lion cubs and adults was happening, Lisa thought we would only get a brief glimpse of the big cats, BUT we hung around and lucky for us, the lion keepers had finished setting up an enrichment playground for the two cubs and we got to see them play and pounce and fight over a shark stuffed animal. It honestly was an amazing moment seeing these beautiful cubs do their thing.
The last bit of the tour was getting to feed one of the coolest (and hippest) animals in the animal kingdom. The only living relative of the Giraffe, the Okapi is so fascinating looking and I even got to pet one too!
Lauren and I are pretty obsessed with the two San Diego zoos. I’ve been to both parks maybe a dozen times in the last year and a half. I gotta say, I could stare at animals all day and never get bored. It’s a privilege to witness such amazing critters so easy. I will never not be in awe.
After lots of traffic and one birthday cake-flavored milkshake from The Counter later, I am ready to go to bed, but I honestly just want to catch up on True Detective articles.
driving into the sun.
San Diego Safari Park panoramas
National Geographic Cheetah.
Baby Lion cubs being a bunch of goofballs.
Feeding the Okapi, voted best new hipster animal of 2013.
Oh it’s a bb! #lion #cub #catsofinstagram
Out in the wild.
Feeding Sumon, the Indian Rhino.