I am of two minds about zoos – one – how great it is for people to see animals they could not normally see/have access to  and – two – it’s unfortunate  the animals are locked in. That thought ran through my mind several times while we walked through the San Diego Zoo last Saturday with extended family. (We were in San Diego to celebrate my sister-in-law’s 50th birthday.)

San Diego Zoo is the largest zoological membership zoo in the world, spans 100 acres and is home to 4000 rare and endangered animals. They are committed to conservation – yet, it was difficult for all of us who visited that day to see the lone jaguar behind the clear glass cage pacing back and forth, back and forth, agitated. Mishy kept on asking me, “Why is the jaguar alone?” When I told her some animals like to be alone because they have a need for space, it didn’t satisfy her until I asked her to tell me about the jaguar and she said, “He looks unhappy.”

The giraffe’s, on the other hand looked very happy. Everyday, they are fed biscuits by visitors who each pay $3 for the privilege and get a souvenir photograph.

Mishy also loved the sky tram.

I don’t know if we would re-visit the San Diego Zoo. I am told the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is where you can see animals roaming freely. I do think it was important for us to go since San Diego Zoo is one of the leading zoos in the world. It just makes me sad that animals are saved by being put on public display. Yet, at the same time – it is so important for Mishy to see animals alive instead of just in books – to see how animals move. When we were in Thailand, we visited an elephant conservation where we were able to feed and bath the elephants. That is an experience worth flying to Thailand for and being at the zoo makes me appreciate the experience more and more, especially when we saw the elephants at the San Diego Zoo being locked in a large metal cage, continuously fed, while they had their feet cleaned. (We will be visiting other zoos because visiting zoos/being around animals is important for my daughter.)

Elephant keeper cleaning an elephant while another elephant keeper feeds it.


San Diego Zoo


I am told if you buy a year membership, it is the same price as two adult single day admission.