Getting on/off a bus; traveling about 8 miles, approximately 1/2 hour roundtrip. Walking up to 1.5 miles at zoo; moving sidewalks; steep grades. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal interest.
We will board our private motorcoach and ride to the San Diego Zoo at Balboa Park — the nation's largest urban cultural park. Upon arriving at the Zoo, we’ll set out on an expert-led, Road Scholar exclusive field trip. We’ll learn from zoo staff about the various aspects that go into responsibly caring for a zoo and its animal residents. These may include learning about the fundamentals of creating a green environment at the zoo, animal health care, exhibit design, feeding, breeding, and more. We’ll observe some of the most popular exhibits, such as the Elephant Care Center or the giraffe enclosure, and then have some independent time to explore what interests us most. The Zoo exhibits animals in the most natural way possible and around a particular habitat. The same exhibit features many different animals that can be found side-by-side in the wild, along with their native horticulture. Exhibits range from Africa Rocks that reveals animal and plant inhabitants of six iconic African habitats to the Tiger Trail that highlights the tigers and other animals that share the tropical Asian rain forests. In addition to the extensive collection of birds, reptiles, and mammals, the zoo maintains its grounds as an arboretum with a rare plant collection. As part of its gardening effort, it raises some rare animal foods such as the 18 varieties of eucalyptus trees for its koalas. The Zoo is active in conservation and species-preservation efforts.
On your own to enjoy what you like in Balboa Park.
Free Time. You are welcome to continue exploring in the Zoo or walk to another part of Balboa Park and visit one of the 15 major museums showcasing art treasures, San Diego history, photography, anthropology, sports, automotive history, and the story of flight. You might like to walk through the lush landscaping and beautiful gardens at the Botanical Building, Rose Garden, Japanese Friendship Garden, or any of the other gardens. The architecture and landscaping in Balboa Park are the legacy of two Expositions: the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition commemorating the opening of the Panama Canal and the 1935-36 California Pacific International Exposition that was held to boost the local economy during the Great Depression. A small menagerie left from the Panama-California International Exposition of 1915-16 was taken over by Dr. Harry Wegeforth and developed into what is now one of the world’s rarest wild animal collections. The Zoo has grown to 100 acres in size and is home to more than 4,000 animals representing 900 species from around the world. We will regroup at a place determined by the Group Leader at 3:30 p.m., board our bus, and return to the hotel.
At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with choice of entrée plus a non-alcoholic beverage.