23 Nov'06 :
Viswanath & Geetha joined us for the visit to San Diego Wild Animal Park - Rohit,Bhavana & Mira had gone ahead in their Camry followed by Viswanath in his red Corolla. Shobha & I were in the Corolla. We munched sandwiches as we travelled. Directions to the park from the NORTH (southbound) : From Interstate 5 (Orange County, Los Angeles), take the State Route 78 East exit at Oceanside, proceed east to Interstate 15 South, exit at Via Rancho Parkway and follow the signs to the Park. Viswanath took a wrong exit at Oceanside and lost his bearings.We meandered around for a while before returning to the highway & taking the correct exit at 78. In the US you must have your mapping & navigation perfect - otherwise you lose valuable time.
We reached the Park to some bright & sunny weather. We successfully managed to smuggle our lunch into the park smartly hidden in Mira's stroller.
We soon got hold of an interactive park map to plan our activity for the day. We started with the Wgasa Bush Line Railway a 3 mile tour lasting 45 minutes. A ride aboard the electric monorail Railway, included with Park admission, takes you on an incredible guided tour of the Wild Animal Park's major Field Exhibits of Asia and Africa -lions,rhinos,elephants, zebras, antelopes.
We took a break to enjoy some nice home cooked food. We then took a walking tour to see flamingoes, mirkats, several species of water birds, bonobos, gorillas, till we reached the lion camp. This was close to the balloon safari which is one of the star attractions -this quiet, tethered helium-filled balloon can carry up to 30 people and rises up to 400 feet (121 meters), giving riders a panoramic view of lions, rhinos, giraffes, wildebeest, and gazelle, as well as the beautiful San Pasqual Valley.
We ended the day witnessing a magnificent bird show. You get to see spectular flying birds from around the world. Other shows include animal encounters & the elephant show. In the former you get to meet a variety of critters & their trainers up close.
We bid good bye to Vish & Geetha who returned to Orange County while we motored on to San Diego & checked into a nice spacious Holiday Inn room. Rohit & Bhavana went out to pick up some dinner from a sardarji joint-we had some delicious Punjabi food : Nan, pulao, paneer,dal,raita.