San Diego 
 Sea World 
 San Diego Zoo 

Long Weekend in San Diego

  The Ireland trip was due to Mark's work, and this San Diego trip was due to Melissa's work. Melissa was outside of LA for a week, and Mark flew out on Friday for the weekend. We had two whole days to explore, and since we both like animals, we spent one day at the Zoo and one day at Sea World. We were a little overwhelmed by the number of things to do in the area - as described by one of the Innkeepers at our bed and breakfast, but with only two days you try to make the most of it!

  Friday night we drove down to San Diego from LA which was not as bad as we expected. It was a beautiful day at the very least so we enjoyed it. We got into San Diego around 6:30 and located the B&B. The place is the Keating House on 2nd Ave. It's located within walking distance to Balboa Park which was one of the reasons we picked it. We would both recommend this place. The room we had the first night (Lilac room) was a bit small and had a double bed. It would be good for one person. The second and third nights we stayed in the Yellow Room which was really nice. It had a large room with a queen bed, plenty of light and a large bathroom with a towel warmer. Breakfasts here were also really good. I'd be curious to see how often their menu repeats but we had raisin bread french toast one day and a veggie quiche sort of thing the other. We got up WAY too early for breakfast on the last day. See the General page for pictures of the outside. I forgot to take pictures of the inside but you can go to their web page for pictures.

  On Saturday we got up and after breakfast, and meeting some of the other guests, walked to Balboa Park. It's amazing that the city set up that much land (1000+ acres) for the purpose. Kind of makes you wish Boston did something like that. Even more impressive than the amount of land was the buildings built in this part. They were mostly built for a World's Fair in the early 1900's but it's incredible to have such a large area of cultural establishments in one place. There are many museums as well as music and theatre. You have to wonder where they got the money for something like that. I can't help feeling that Boston's priorities must be really screwed up. Or maybe if you don't have to remove snow and repair the roads all the time, you can afford something like that. In any case, we walked through this area on our way to the zoo. We stopped at a botanical garden which is on the spot of an old Victorian style railroad station. The garden house is built in the same shape but is made out of wooden slats. The whole thing is open to the air but does have misters that go off every few minutes.

  Eventually we did make it to the Zoo. It was about a half hour walk or so from the B&B. Overall we were a little disappointed by the Zoo. I think partially we had really high expectations of it and partially we had had a really good experience at Animal Kingdom at Disney. Personally I think I felt that the San Diego Zoo must be better than a zoo that Disney could put together, but as it turns out, Disney has done a pretty good job. It probably allows Disney to spend more money on the visitor experience that they're not focused on programs to help the animals such as breeding. Which is too bad because it makes Disney feel better when in reality the San Diego Zoo is probably better for the animals. Having said that, we were a little disappointed with many of the enclosures there too. They were very small and not very natural. That's probably an artifact of the time the zoo was built. Disney did do a good job of giving a good amount of seemingly natural space to the animals. All in all though, it was an enjoyable day.

  On Sunday we went to Sea World. Mark leans towards land animals and Melissa towards Sea animals. So we got both into one weekend. We also felt like Sea World had better laid out exhibits. Of course the big draw at Sea World is the killer whales, and personally I'm a bit torn about that. The animals seem to be very happy and really enjoy the company of their trainers but they're still doing tricks for humans. Some other excellent areas of Sea World include the Ray tank. There was a large shallow tank that you could reach in and pet the rays. I think there are feeding times where you can hold fish underwater for them too. I seem to recall doing that at an aquarium somewhere when I was young. We spent a good amount of time there since one of them apparently decided it would prefer to be outside and constantly jumped about halfway out of the water up the side. It was fun to watch peoples reactions. The Arctic zone was another good area. They built it to be an arctic research station (well, in a Disney sort of way) and it had windows out on the polar bears, walrus and beluga whales. It was pretty well done. Well, there were many other good areas, but I won't bore you with the details - you can see some pictures!

  Then it was home VERY early Monday morning. We were up and out around 6:00 I believe. Who knows, my memory doesn't work that early in the morning. We had a relatively good flight home, and other than the three hours of jetlag, are living happily ever after. We'd both highly recommend a visit to San Diego if you've never been. Great climate, lots to do, and lots to eat!

  Click the links to the left to see pictures from that area.