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.
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
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