If you have a chance this weekend, head out to the World Famous San Diego Zoo for the final weekend of Nighttime Zoo. The Festival de las Caras ("of the masks") ends on September 3rd. Special zoo hours are currently 9am-8pm (stay on the grounds till 9:00 p.m.) but will go back to regular hours (open till 4) after Labor Day Weekend is over.
I had the chance to head over with my mom, my brother in law, my sister, and my niece.
Did you know the zoo serves bottled beer? While I didn't actually pay the $5 or so for a bottle of Corona, I've considered packing my own, though I like to feel I'm kinda one with nature as I walk the hills of the zoo. But I'm just saying, it wouldn't be a bad idea.
Nighttime zoo is such a different experience than the zoo by day. I mean, for one, it was a Thursday night, so the park was pretty empty. There are also festivities and bands playing. As I walked in, there was a band playing a merengue version of the chicken dance and there were about 20 toddlers all dancing along.
I also had never seen a flamingo sleep. I thought they were dead until they looked as us when Johanna started to cry. I always thought they slept on one leg. See, you can learn something new every day.
There's also a live painter doing "Splash" painting. He starts with a blank canvas and in about 15 minutes has a full painting of some animal, all the while dipping his hands in the paint and "splashing" it to the canvas for effects.
We made our way down monkey trails and through various aviaries. The animals are a little bit more alive at night when the air has cooled a bit. We brought flashlights and were able to see the cats stalking around their enclosures whereas usually they are just sleeping somewhere in a corner. We finished the night watching Talamasca, a show of how storytelling has been carried on through the ages with dancers, martial artists, and Cirque su Soleil type acrobats. The show had all the kids in the theatre wide eyed and engaged.
After the show the park is pretty much closed, so we made our way out having enjoyed San Diego's gem in the heart of our city. Try and catch it if you can before it is gone. It is also the final weekend of Park At Dark at the Wild Animal Park if you get a chance to head up that way. Membership is inexpensive and benefits the Zoological Society and their focus on breeding and conservation programs and are well worth the cost.