Catch up with the first San Diego recap here.
On our first full day in Cali, we decided to wake up early (which wasn’t hard at all since we were still on Boston time) and head to the zoo. I read a lot of reviews on Trip Advisor that recommended getting to the zoo as soon as it opened so you could stand in line for the first bus tour. The tour lasts a little over an hour and brings you through about 70% of the park so you can check out a lot of the exhibits and get a feel for how everything is set up. The tour was pretty good but we were extremely distracted by a family with 3 young kids seated behind us…really looking forward to misbehaving kids in the future haha :) We sat on the top level of the two-tier bus, so I was able to get some good pictures of a few different animals, including the giraffes and kangaroos:
After we got off the bus, we first went to the Outback section because I was dying to see the koala bears in person. Little did we know that the koala bears were off exhibit because they’re in the process of renovating their space. NOOOOOO! Oh, I was so mad since they were the number one animal I wanted to see. I pouted a bit and then we kept walking through the Outback to continue on to the Asian Passage so we could at least check out the Pandas. On the way, you get to see some exhibits with “big” cats, including this guy, a black leopard (black on black spots):
We were so close to his space, that it was a little freaky. The best thing about the San Diego Zoo compared to other zoos I have visited is most definitely how close you are able to get to the animals. You can tell they designed the spaces very well.
We finally got to the panda’s exhibit and saw one of them being fed. It was cute watching him on his hind legs begging for bamboo shoots. The other panda was just hanging out and being a little shy.
After we finished viewing the pandas, we decided to eat lunch at the Asian-themed restaurant nearby. I had a rice bowl with chicken and veggies in soy sauce, and it was really good considering the quality of park food. Food is a little pricey, but that’s to be expected. We do recommend buying a souvenir cup, though. For $5, you buy the cup and soda, and then if you keep your receipt, you get free refills for the rest of the day. This didn’t help me so much since I’ve tried to stay away from diet sodas while being preggo, but Hubby definitely took advantage of refilling a few times that day. It was known as his “pail” later on; it’s also a cute cup to save for Baby C when he’s older.
We continued to keep walking (the Trip Advisor reviews were not kidding when they said wear comfy walking shoes), and ended up in the Arctic exhibit, where the polar bears hang out. They were so fun to watch, since one of them was playing with a little red ball in the water. The other two were more lazy and napping in the sun.
We saw a ton of other animals, including some orangutans, monkeys, crocodiles, turtles, hippos, snakes, peacocks, exotic birds, reindeer, tigers, and many others. We visited a couple of the gift shops before leaving, as I really wanted to buy a onesie for Baby C. Wow, kid’s clothes are EXPENSIVE and total rip-offs at tourist places. The cheapest one I could find was $16. However, I was tempted to get this:
But it was $30 and the smallest size was 24 months. I instead bought a stuffed lion that is wearing a miniature version of the zookeeper outfit – I figured that was a better investment. We ended up leaving the zoo around 3ish, so we spent almost a whole day there (they close at 5 or 6 depending upon the time of year). Overall, it was very worth the $40 per person to get in (bring your AAA card for a 10% discount). And considering the weather was perfect that day (in the 70’s with lots of sun and a little breeze), it was nice spending so much time outside.
After the zoo, we searched around for a frozen yogurt place and then headed back to the hotel for a bit. The sun was starting to set and I wanted some pictures of the marina, so we did that before heading out for the night. Let’s just say the bump had a serious growth spurt while on the babymoon – some outfits I wore really showed it off:
The views on Shelter Island were so pretty. Our hotel was in such a good location. Love how the blues and purples came out in this one:
Of course the one thing I forgot to bring with me from home was my prenatal vitamins. I tried finding the kind I take in a local CVS but they didn’t stock them, so we searched for the closest Walmart. Luckily it was only about 15 minutes away and was kind of on the way to the restaurant we were planning on going to that night, so it worked out. For dinner, we headed north and ate at the Pacific Beach Ale House. The food here was great, servers were very friendly, and the best part was sitting on the top level patio which overlooked the ocean. It was already very dark out by the time we got there, but I can only imagine the views must be great during the day. It was a casual atmosphere, and I’m glad we ended up there instead of going somewhere more “fancy”.
After dinner we walked over to the beach (known as Pacific Beach) that was literally right behind the restaurant. One of my goals on my 101 in 1001 list was to swim in the Pacific Ocean. However, we didn’t have plans to lay around on the beach at all for the rest of the trip, so I decided sticking my feet in would count :) The water was a little warmer than it is in Maine during the summer. I tried to take a picture but it was way too dark out by that point. We checked out a couple shops and then drove back to the hotel since we were both pretty tired. It was a great Day 2 – I was already impressed by how much San Diego had to offer.