Saturday, October 08, 2005

How to eat lunch at the San Diego Zoo

Yesterday was my day off. It was also the day before a semi-big tournament for my husband. So, in an effort to get out of the house, not spend much money and give B a break before the tournament, we headed to the San Diego Zoo. We have a membership there, but hadn't had a chance to go since they opened their new primate exhibit - Monkey Trails.

that was left over from the early days. It was at the front of the zoo and housed the majority of the non-ape primates. The monkey houses were a series of cement compounds behind chain-link-type fencing. It put the monkeys face to face with the obnoxious visitors who insisted on staring at them in the eye (something primates take as a threat) and make loud hooting sounds. As the zoo has been expanding their animal-friendly exhibits (first with the big-ticket animals - gorillas, polar bears, hippos, etc. - and then the smaller draw animals, like the otters) they have gradually mixed the monkeys from the monkey houses in with these other animals. (One of the most entertaining exhibits in the whole zoo is the joint enclosure with otters and monkeys. Since both species like to have fun, they like to mess with each other and you usually see a monkey or an otter teasing the other while you are their). However, there were still quite a few monkeys in the old enclosures, the most heartbreaking of which were the Mandrills. These monkeys are closest to baboons. They spend most of their time on the ground and are very, very sensitive to agression. Needless to say, the up-close human harassment caused a great deal of stress for this particular species. So, I had been very excited when I heard they were taking out all those old enclosures and making a whole new entrance area to the zoo. Overall it exceeded my expectations, although there doesn't seem to be as many monkeys in the area anymore and I'm not sure were some of them went - I didn't see the pygmy marmosets anywhere. Primates are my thing. And this new section of the zoo was especially exciting for me because it was one of the last remaining areas of the zooThey also had some fun things to play with as you can tell by the picture. (p.s. I love these things - I also have a picture of me as a jelly fish from the Seattle Aquarium.) (p.s.s. I am also sporting my new Sigur Ros t-shirt from the show Monday night - it was all I could do to get through the week at work before I could wear it.)

In case you are wondering what's the connection between monkeys and lunch at the zoo...I'm getting to that. As usual, we didn't plan the timing of our day all that much. We got there about 1:30 without eating lunch yet. And fairly quickly, I knew I needed to eat in order to avoid the evil troll that is I on an empty stomach. We also quickly realized that the zoo accepts your first-born as a form of payment for your lunch. Since we don't have a first-born, we knew we were in trouble. We started scouring the menu for something reasonably priced to hold us over until we could eat elsewhere. That's when we discovered the beauty of the kids meal. A hotdog or corndog costs $4.75 (and we all know how I feel about overpriced hotdogs - I mean, really, they should be paying you to eat those things). A hotdog or corndog kids meal costs $5.95 and comes with the same hotdog item, but is supplemented with a drink, a bag of potato chips, a bag of animal crackers, a box of raisens and a bucket. Not a super healthy lunch, but at least their was plenty of food. So, we happily ordered our kids meals and proceeded to eat our bargain priced lunch out of our new sand buckets while all the other fools looked on.

1 comment:

Nonnahs said...

Don't even get me started about overpriced hot dogs. Disneyland might have that one covered! All I can say is, what a racket! But way to work the system...AND you got sand buckets out of it! It is clear who the winners were there! ;)