Vacation Day 1 - San Diego Zoo

After our quick walk through Balboa Park we spent the day at the San Diego Zoo. As I walked through the entrance gate, the first thing I noticed was that there were several resident peacocks and peahens roaming around the campus. I was determined - no, obsessed - with getting some pictures of some gorgeous plumage.

At first this guy was being stubborn, strutting his stuff up on the roof. As you can see, this isn't exactly the best angle for taking pictures.

Because the hubby was getting frustrated with my peacock stalking, we went on our merry way. As we looped back past the flamingo exhibit...

... I spotted him chilling out with these long legged shrimp-eaters. I stuck my camera through the rails to get some close-ups.
I may have gotten in his face and pissed him off, because then he did this:
Ok, ok, point taken. I backed off a bit and after waiting a few minutes he turned around and showed me something quite lovely.

I have to say his face looks quite striking with his face framed by that luscious green plumage. Once I had my precious peacock photos we wandered off to enjoy other parts of the zoo.

One of my favorites was this little guy keeping watch in the meercat exhibit. Something about his expression reminded me of my kitties back home.

Next up we walked to the Australian section. I had never seen a live koala before and this gal didn't disappoint. The exhibit keeper told us that koalas sleep 22 hours a day and so to see her awake was quite rare. She was just so cute sitting up there in her tree perch!
We were starting to get tired but we persevered and trekked to the panda exhibit. San Diego is one of the few zoos that have giant pandas and we didn't want to miss the experience! We were asked to be very quiet because pandas are sensitive to noise and, since these pandas are part of a research program, it was very important to keep their behaviors relaxed and natural.
We got to see something quite special - one of the females had recently birthed a cub and he was just being introduced to life in the exhibit. We were told he and his mother only came out a few hours a day so we were lucky to see him. He was very lively and playful while his mother laid still and tried to rest - this seems to be a common theme with all members of the animal kingdom. He spent much of his time behind her, but I was able to get this quick shot of him squirming around her bottom.

Obviously we saw many more interesting animals that day, but I was trying to enjoy the moment and not have the camera out every second of the day. I think the hubby has a lot more fun when I'm less of a shutter-bug and more of a chill person to hang out with.
Stay tuned for Santa Fe (the bus stop, not the town)!

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