Photo caravan encounters curious giraffes
Photo Credit: Ken Bohn and San Diego Zoo
Whatever you do, don't stick your hand in the rhino's mouth.
That's important advice when you're feeding four gigantic rhinos apple slices, their mouths wide open awaiting every bite. It seems we can see all the way down into their pink throats. It's hard to believe that these huge creatures -- they can weigh up to 5,000 pounds -- can run as fast as 30 miles an hour. We're especially taken with baby Bandhu, the greater one-horned rhinoceros, born
No, we're not in
We're riding in a truck on a photo caravan into the heart of the large animal enclosures, which means, as we bump along, we get up close to not only the rhinos (Southern white, as well as greater one-horned) but also the giraffes (try feeding leaves to two giraffes at once!), Springbok, Cape buffalo, ostrich, Defassa Waterbuck, zebras and more. We see a lion lolling on top of a safari-type vehicle -- his personal lounger, we're told.
Everywhere we look there are baby animals. "It seems there's one born almost every day," says our guide
That's the idea, of course. This is a bona-fide adventure designed to give you the experience of seeing these animals in their natural habitats -- there are more than 3,000 here representing some 375 species on land that spreads out over 1,800 acres.
Soar over the animals on a zip line 160 feet above the ground. Stay overnight in a tent overlooking the plains of "
It's easy to see why so many families come to
A visit to the
"Some people sit on the benches and watch the elephants for hours," says zookeeper
Take one of the zoo's most popular exhibits Polar Bear Plunge, which has been re-worked to offer visitors the chance to get closer to the huge bears, as well as to gain a better understanding of the impact climate change is having on them. As the ice melts, we learn, the bears have less and less habitat.
Run your hands over a model that shows just how little ice there is for the polar bear, compared to just 30 years ago. Scary! Kids can try "hunting" like a polar bear, stepping and jumping from one ice floe to another, crawling through a replica of a polar bear den and even climbing into a research helicopter. Crowd on the giant scale and see how many of you it will take to come close to the weight of an adult bear -- some 1,500 pounds.
"Kids are going to be the stewards of our planet and it's important for them to understand their role in this, and that they can make a difference," says
It's always wise to start your exploration on the zoo's website before you visit. Learn about the animals, play games (there is an online area just for kids) take a virtual tour and even calculate your own carbon footprint. Consider special activities and tours -- zoo art classes where you can learn from professional artists how to draw wildlife, a behind-the-scenes tour of Elephant Odyssey, special "Kinder Programs" for the littlest zoo goers (ages 3 to 6) and more. Download "101 Things to Discover" while visiting the
"There are no right or wrong answers," says
Back at the
And not one finger gets stuck.
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- How to Find Airline Seats for a Family Group
- Are Travelers Frill-Seekers? No, But Here's What They Really Want
- Tarmac-Delay Rules Give Travelers More Respect
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- Glamour Camping
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- Revenge of the Hotel Clerks: Things They Do to Difficult Guests
- Sorry We Forgot About That $500 Change Fee
- Beware of Tour Operator 'Savings' Claims
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- Taking the Kids: Grandparents and Kids Take on the Big Apple with Elderhostel
- The World's Top Architecture Museums
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- Rambling Through the Ruins of Europe's Castles
- Taking the Kids to NYC for the First Time
- Eco-Friendly Camping is About Putting Nature First
- Take a Magical History Tour
- Fall Travel Bargains Will Abound and Here's Where to Find Them
- If It's Called Secure Flight, Why Do I Feel So Insecure?
- Using Opaque Travel Web Sites Effectively
- Eldergadget: Creative or Condescending?
It's vacation and the teens are awake and ready to roll before 8 a.m.! The 22-year-old White has come down to Grand Cayman, his parents and sister in tow, to inaugurate Skate Cayman an 11-week summer program
Taking the Kids Camping & the Great Outdoors
Just being in a tent is an adventure for young kids, says Nancy Ritger, an Appalachian Mountain Club naturalist who has camped with her three teens since they were bab
Whether you want to learn to dive with your tween or snorkel with your kindergartner, teach your grade-schooler to sail or fly on a trapeze, you'll find plenty of opportunities at Caribbean resorts -- at prices that are surprisingly affordable.
Kids on a Plane! 5 Fixes for Unruly Junior Passengers
Kids on a plane. No four words incite more acrimonious debate among air travelers. On one side, you have childless customers who just want a little civility while they're locked inside a pressurized aluminum tube. Talk about oil and water.
Children in First Class: 3 Suggestions for the Kids 'Up Front'
The overwhelming number of travelers I spoke with said kids should be able to fly in first class if their parents could afford to pay the freight. But they were quick to add that they expected the children to behave.
(c) 2009 EILEEN OGINTZ DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
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