Sunday, February 18, 2007

Animal Park
On Saturday we took the kids to the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Before I start my story, I would just like to give a few details and reminders.

1 - I have 3 kids... Red is 8, Little Bug is 6 and Baby Girl is 3

2 - Red brought along a friend for the day
3 - My kids LOVE animals - we have zoo passes for every animal exhibit within a 200 mile radius

4 - We are not made of money

Okay, on to our story. We were all quite excited to go to the Animal Park. We had been to the San Diego Zoo and had a fabulous time and we were sure this would be just as wonderful. If I had only looked into my crystal ball I would have seen that the Animal Park was not the place for us. First of all, and maybe this is just me, if you're going to call something an "Animal Park", I think there should be more animals. And they should be accessible. Not that I want to walk up and pet the rhino's, but we shouldn't have to go on a 2.5 mile hike to get a look at the rhino's(remember items #1 &2 from the list). May I also just say, that I have never seen so many gift shops in one area at one time? It was like a horrible shopping maze. I think they should send the Amazing Race teams in there sometime... seriously, they would never find their way out. But I digress... after seeing the gorillas, 100 birds, the lions, 100 more birds, elephants, some gigantic bugs and lots more birds, we finally figured out that there was a train that would take us to see all the animals. We went and got lunch ($8 for a nasty hamburger) and then headed to the train. They would let us cut in line for $12 per person. Remember, there are 6 of us. If I have done my math right, that's $72 to cut in line (please remember item #4 from the above list). So, we decided to just go get in the regular line, only to be greeted by a sign that said "Waiting time from this point: 1 hour and 15 minutes. No. That's all there is to it. I am not standing in line for more than an hour with these kids. They are tired, annoyed that they have seen every plant in the world (which probably makes them feel like they are on a horrid shopping trip to the Home Depot Nursery, where I just look but don't buy), but not many animals. They are cranky because they didn't eat much of the gross overpriced lunch, and overall frustrated that I don't have any reasonable solutions. So, we did the only reasonable thing we could do. Let the kids get the unlimited rides on the carousel.($4 per person) They rode for an hour. This was the happiest they were all day. But don't get me started on the bathroom locations! They were impossible to find and not well marked on the map... grrr... we did spend the last 45 minutes visiting while we had ice cream. That was kind of fun. Recap of the visit: we wandered around the gift shop maze, raced around searching for bathrooms, spent too much money, saw tons of birds and plants, very few animals, and were overall annoyed with the entire thing. The two happy moments are represented in the pictures - carousel and ice cream. Sorry to those of you out there who might love this park. But it is not on my list of places to visit again.


Shirlee said...

Hi ya Melissa, I've been missing out on blogland lately. Just no time. I see you changed your blog, does that mean you're staying with blogger?

What a bummer to plan what sounds like a great day only to be disappointed. It sounds like it's geared to gouge tourists. We had a similar but not quite as bad experience at the Vancouver Aquarium a couple years ago. I was so excited only to be let down by over crowding, over pricing and disappointing exhibits. Fortunately our visit to Science World made up for it. :)

Melissa said...

Shirlee - I think I am going to stay here at blogger... there was one that I found that I really liked the format, but it costs... I'm not ready to pay for my blog yet... :S
I'm glad you had a saving grace on your vacation! It is hard when you are ready for something fun and it ends up being disappointing.

eve said...

I recently moved from Southern Cali to Washington. Hate it up here! MISS IT DOWN THERE! I'm jealous. We had a good time at the animal park but we did wait in line for the train. At the time I was 8 months pregnant and had two kids, ages 19 months and 3ish, maybe 4. It's all a blur now since I had number three.
What county are you in? Orange? We lived in Lake Forest and Huntington Beach. Best 8 years of my life.

Jamie J said...

The WAP is definitely not my favorite place either. There are WAY too many hills with not a lot to see on the way up or down. You made the right decision by not waiting for the train. It's another hour long ride. Your kids would have been jumping off before the end!

The only really cool things I think about the WAP are the lions and the gorillas. BUT you have to see the gorillas first and then walk DOWN the huge hill to the lions. Oh and I totally agree with you on the too many birds thing. You can only see so many....