THE SAN DIEGO ZOO AND NEARBY SAFARI PARK OFFER SOME OF THE BEST ANIMAL EXPERIENCES IN THE CITY .
BY ASHLEY RYAN
The San Diego Zoo started with a roar more than 100 years ago , when Harry M . Wegeforth heard a lion that had been part of the Panama-California Exposition , an event held in honor of the opening of the Panama Canal . The encounter inspired him to form the Zoological Society of San Diego , rescue the exotic animals that had been left behind after the exposition and realize his dream of opening a zoo . Ever since , the San Diego Zoo has offered rare glimpses into the lives of a wide variety of species , which has led to the growth of an organization known for inspiring a passion for wildlife .
Some of the early animals included a brown bear , black bear and polar bear , as well as two lions and , later , elephants , koalas and a leopard . Today , the San Diego Zoo is home to more than 3,500 uncommon and endangered animals . Another 3,000 can be found in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park , the zoo ’ s second menagerie , which opened in the 1970s . Over time , the focus shifted from displaying animals to helping protect and increase populations of endangered species from around the world .
With extensive conservation efforts , research initiatives and special events , there is always something new to see and learn at the zoo . Whether you ’ ve been once , twice or a hundred times , you ’ re sure to spot something you never noticed before and expand your knowledge on
OPPOSITE PAGE : SAFARI PARK / COURTESY OF SAN DIEGO ZOO
The San Diego Zoo is home to more than 3,500 animals , including endangered and uncommon species . “ Africa Rocks ” includes six habitats with species like African penguins ( center ) and dwarf crocodiles ( bottom ).
each and every visit .
“ The zoo has great entertainment , regardless of what age you are ,” says Sydney Hyde , sales manager for Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa . “ Enjoy animal encounters up-close and personal with keeper talks where you can discover more about your favorite creatures .”
The San Diego Zoo , located in Balboa Park about 10 miles from both Catamaran Resort and Bahia Resort Hotel ( the safari park is about 40 miles away in Escondido ), is in a prime spot for guests to get wild and discover fauna from around the world .
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