Located 45 minutes north of our current location, it's also a good 30 degrees cooler on certain days. Without a doubt this is something you should be aware of before heading out there for the first time. The scallywag and I would have dressed quite differently had we known. Seersucker and shorts were not the way to go. Brrr!
This icy fog surrounded us during our entire visit, but was at its most eerie while on a train ride around the park. It was funny how at home it was approaching the 90's, yet in Santa Barbara it barely broke above 60 that particular day.
The Santa Barbara Zoo is on the small side, only 30 acres in size, but it's really pretty and easy to navigate. This is wonderful to know~especially if you have young children. It's possible to see all 500 of the animals within a 2 hour period. Not only that, but each display allows you and your child to get very close to the animals. And I do mean close.
We had the opportunity to touch this sweet girl and feed her. The children thought her blue tongue was the coolest thing ever!
Only five pictures taken that day were from a distance, and that was because those animals were of the dangerous or endangered variety. You know, lions, condors, snakes. We were all okay with being kept at a safe distance! The rest, however, were pretty much face to face.
This silverback gorilla was a real cheeky monkey! He would face forward, coming up to the glass for people to see, but if anyone tried to take a picture he'd immediately turn and show his bottom. I can only wonder where he picked up this little trick. Perhaps he thought it was his best side?
This past Friday we made our inaugural trip with friends from down the street. They may be a year apart in age, but Aaron and the scallywag get along very well. They had a blast together!
As most friendhips do, there is one large common interest that the boy share: trains. We took a nice ride around the perimeter of the park in a red one, waving to visitors as we passed. The boys were in heaven and we adults enjoyed a behind the scenes look at the zoo.
We stopped for a small (and chilly) lunch afterwards, walking by an interesting sight~something of an accidental playground. It seems when the zoo was under construction, one area continued to rise and rise, forming itself into the shape of a hill. Unsure of what to do, they decided to take off the rough edges and put grass on top. It became a place where children would bring pieces of cardboard and slide down the hill for hours upon hours of play.
I've never seen anything like it! Coming from New Orleans I know all about the draw of playgrounds in a zoo. I have many memories of climbing Monkey Hill and swaying in the giant spider web. This one was completely unintentional, though, and is simple, time-consuming entertainment. We didn't spend much time on the hill since there was a bit of a time crunch, but it is at the top of our list for next time!
We left once the boys grew tired, knowing it was sure sign they'd thoroughly enjoyed running around. There were some things I would have changed about our visit~in some instances I felt unprepared for the day. But overall it was a wonderful place to take my son and spend time with friends. There weren't any lines, it was easy to get up close to see the animals, and the size of the zoo made it ideal for an outing with little ones.
I cannot wait to go back with my entire family!
A lovely day to you all and take care. I'll be back soon with more birthday plans for Eldest and a few other treats. Cheers!