Elaine and I just got back from a week-long California vacation (mostly in San Diego). I believe pictures will appear on her flickr or facebook feed.
- San Diego’s weather is amazing. We were there for a reasonably bad stretch of weather by their standards, but it was still impressive to us Bostonites. Outside weather year round lets them make neat decisions like open air malls and gym equipment on the beach that seemed to actually be regularly used (i.e. people seemed to use it as part of their workout, rather than paying bunches for an air-conditioned year-round indoor gym). Very nice.
- We went to both the San Diego Zoo (which is a traditional, albeit large, zoo) and the San Diego Wild Animal Park (which has several large enclosures where compatible animals intermingle). The Park was way better than the Zoo.
First, you didn’t feel as shitty for exploiting animals in their sad little exhibits. These enclosures were massive — the African herbivores got 213 acres.
Second, the animals seemed much more active and interesting. Rather than peering into an exhibit to see a leg of a sleeping antelope, you got to see a whole herd making their way to the water hole. The roaming space and presence of other animals seemed to make them more active.
The carnivores got less space since they were each in their own enclosure, and were subsequently less active it seemed. But we caught a feeding, so we saw the cheetahs walking around at least.
Apparently their breeding program is very successful (averages a birth a day). They were working on bringing a rhino population back to decent numbers, and they were one of the few zoos that has had success breeding them.
I think/hope this is the future of zoos. It seemed better for visitors and animals. I assume the primary disadvantage is the space (and maybe cost — not sure if it’s cheaper or more expensive to house multiple animals in a field). The San Diego Zoo proper just added a giant new elephant exhibit that looked very similar to the Park’s elephant exhibit in terms of space. So maybe they’re gradually going in that direction.
- In-N-Out is a fast food chain in the Southwest US that was very nice. They have a delightfully elegant menu; you can order just three items: a burger, cheeseburger, or double cheeseburger (with the usual topping choices). Add in fries, a fountain drink, or a shake. The burgers were fine (nothing to rave or complain about). The fries though, were excellent. They were freshly made (we saw a guy throwing peeled potatoes in a machine) and with so little salt I couldn’t taste it. Their shakes were frosty-like, though not as good in my opinion.