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From Pandas to Primates, This Zoo Leads the Pack
Psychiatric News
Volume 42 Number 4 page 28-28

What can't you see at the San Diego zoo? Like the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty in New york, San Diego's world-famous zoo is a must-see for families visiting San Diego— but even local residents go to the zoo.

Home to more than 4,000 rare and endangered animals representing approximately 800 species and subspecies, the San Diego zoo, which celebrated its 90th anniversary last year, has garnered a reputation as one of the most spectacular and progressive zoos in the world.

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The San Diego Zoo's 2007 Spring Garden Celebration begins this year on May 19, just as APA members will be arriving in San Diego for this year's annual meeting. The zoo, which celebrated its 90th anniversary last year, has garnered a reputation as one of the world's most exciting zoos. 

Photo courtesy of San Diego Zoo

From the graceful flamingoes that greet visitors inside the gates, to the two-acre Polar Bear Plunge—a summer tundra habitat featuring polar bears, Siberian reindeer, Pallas' cats, lesser pandas, and diving ducks—a visit to San Diego's zoo is a visit to another world.

Psychiatrists and their families attending this year's APA annual meeting who have been to the zoo before will want to return to see the newest attractions, a Giant Panda Research Station and the Monkey Trails, which were unveiled in 2005.

The San Diego zoo is one of only four facilities in the United States to house critically endangered giant pandas, and it has the largest population of giant pandas in the United States. The zoo has four pandas: the young female, Su Lin; adult female Bai yun; adult male Gao Gao; and Mei Sheng, a 3-year-old male panda.

Monkey Trails, located in the heart of the zoo, takes guests on an excursion into Asian and African forests flourishing with some of nature's most imperiled wild-life, including mandrills, the largest and one of the most colorful of African monkeys; Asia's beautiful and elusive clouded leopard; the secretive and extremely rare pygmy hippopotamus; highly prized and endangered mahogany trees; venomous snakes; and rare crocodilians (the general species name that encompasses crocodiles, alligators, caiman, and gharial).

First-time visitors will want to see such popular features as the Polar Bear Plunge, Gorilla Tropics, and Absolutely Apes. In the Polar Bear Plunge, a 130,000-gallon, 12-foot-deep chilled pool allows polar bears to practice their breast-strokes and paddles while visitors watch from an underwater viewing area. Home to two troops of Western lowland gorillas, Gorilla Tropics simulates a lush African rainforest, and Absolutely Apes is an 8,000 square foot habitat featuring two charismatic and critically endangered ape species—orangutans and siamangs (small acrobatic primates).

Orchid Odyssey is a regular feature at the zoo on the third Friday of every month. The Orchid House is open to the public on this day, featuring orchids from Papua New Guinea, Central and South America, and China.

And on May 19, when APA members are arriving in the city for the annual meeting, the zoo's 2007 Spring Garden Celebration begins. This year's annual party celebrates trees and the importance they play in our environment and everyday life. With vendors and displays, horticultural bus tours and walking tours, all things trees will be celebrated.

Information about the zoo is available by phone at (619) 231-1515 or online at<www.sandiegozoo.com>.

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The San Diego Zoo's 2007 Spring Garden Celebration begins this year on May 19, just as APA members will be arriving in San Diego for this year's annual meeting. The zoo, which celebrated its 90th anniversary last year, has garnered a reputation as one of the world's most exciting zoos. 

Photo courtesy of San Diego Zoo

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