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New Places : Animal Faces
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New Places : Animal Faces

We found a lovely hotel right next to Balboa Park in San Diego.  With a touch of jet lag, Kris and I woke up before dawn and got out into the Park for a nice long walk with the sunrise.  Our arrival in the city coincided with the big Race for the Cure event, and we watched hundreds of people wearing pink preparing for the big race.

We also were able to see the lovely trees in the park and the museum-lined streets of El Prado in the early morning light…

Balboa Park


El Prado

We planned to spend the day at the world-renowned San Diego Zoo.  Once they opened, we headed that way.  It was a very auspicious beginning to the day:  a woman was standing near the entrance gate and gave us a free ticket inside.  She said “Remember how nice the people of San Diego are!”  and so I do :)

…Once inside…the cameras were clicking all day!

Pink Flamingo - 58:365


Bactrian Camel

Sleeping Koala


Zebra Stripes

[More animals here... and more to come in the coming days]

Photographing animals is an absolute joy, but also a challenge;  for each photo you get, you miss about a dozen more funny faces.  It was such a beautiful clear day in San Diego, so the factors were right for great photos.  The San Diego Zoo was truly a beautiful spot!

We calculated our walking distances, and it was over 13 miles… no wonder we were so dead tired when we walked out of the zoo.  It was late afternoon, and we were in a bit of a haze, but as we walked back to our hotel through the beauty of Balboa Park, we stopped a few times to rest our feet.  That was when I recognized a familiar group… it started with the sighting of an adorable dachshund… then a very cute baby boy… and then a beautiful familiar face from blogland.  It was one of those funny moments when I was thinking, “Is this real?”

The serendipitous meeting between Disentangled Jenifer and Lolly in the Park!  Millions of people live in San Diego, but what are the chances that 2 knitters who met online years ago  would be in the same area of the Park at the same exact time?  The probability just blew my mind.

…perhaps it blew my mind too much to even take a photo with the camera that hung around my neck…

Either way, I was so happy to meet Jenifer, her husband, her adorable son, and her sweet pup!  I am still shaking my head at the serendipity of that :)

… We spent two days in San Diego and didn’t even scratch the surface, unfortunately.  It is a lovely city and I truly hope to have the chance to go there again. We totally lucked out when we found one of the pinnacle restaurants of our whole trip on our very first night in the city:

Enjoying the Spread

Here I am enjoying the delicious veggie delights of Spread restaurant.  Local produce, prepared in the most delicious and savory way (the chef came out and discussed with us beforehand)  It was sort of a tapas-style, where you order several plates and share.  So memorable.  Now I want to try to figure out what we ate so I can re-create!

Next stop on the SoCal Roadtrip: Mojave and Sonoran desert – Joshua Tree – Palm Springs

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21 Responses

  1. Annette

    Welcome to California! Beautiful animal photos! I especially love the elephant, and the koala, and the zebra, and… Enjoy your trip!

  2. Chandler

    Beautiful photos—and I can’t wait to read about Joshua Tree! It’s at the tippy-top of my California list.

  3. Yarndude

    No way, I LOVE San Diego! Balboa Park is so beautiful, and I remember spending 7 and 1/2 hours at the zoo because I insisted on seeing every single animal when I went. Such an experience.

  4. ccr in MA

    What great photos! Thanks for bringing them into my rainy day.

  5. Preeti

    What a great way to spend a day in California. I’m always amazed by the beauty of animals and you’ve captured this so well. That Koala is sooo huggable!!!

  6. Toby

    It looks like you had a wonderful time out in CA. Those are some wonderful animal photos and I can’t help but wonder if it was my Aunt who provided the free zoo ticket. I know she goes to the zoo often and gives a ticket away each time (though I thought she had to show a card or something, so the free wouldn’t be a paper ticket, but a “come along with me and I’ll get you in”.

  7. Meg

    Just chiming in to compliment your animal photos – gorgeous. The elephant is my favorite.

  8. Toot Sweet

    I love the animal photos. I checked out your flickr page and my favorite is the panda. I took a photography class in college and I chose taking photos at the zoo for my final project.

  9. Kirsten

    It looks like an amazing trip Lolly.
    So many fabulous photos. I particularly like the morning sun behind the trees (and the elephant and the zebra. . .)

  10. Anne

    I love the animal photos – they brought a smile to my face.

    Happy birthday, BTW! Hope you are having a great day!

  11. Disentangled

    Yay! Your photos are fabulous and capture the park and zoo so beautifully. I still can’t believe we bumped into each other, either. Such a crazy stacking of events…good thing those port-a-potties where parked so close to our normal park spot! Ha! Can’t wait to see Joshua Tree!

  12. Jennifer

    Oh – I love the pictures and the story. Zoo pictures are some of my favorites and yours are fantastic. I have 2 friends who take zoo photos – http://www.thezooseen.com/ and http://judithwolfe.com/photos.html. When I lived in the High Desert (your next stop), San Diego was one of my favorite spots! Have a great trip.

  13. mai

    lolly, those photos are so gorgeous! wow! and 13 miles? holy cow! such great exercise :) it looks like you’re having a fantastic trip and i can’t wait to see more photos!

  14. Meghan

    You really do take the most amazing photos!

  15. Jodie

    I love balboa park. My grandfather lawn bowls there so I always go to roll a few bowls when I visit.

  16. Jenna

    I’m glad to get the report back from this trip! I knew it was coming in the fall, and I’m sure was a welcome respite for you and Kris both. Your animal shots are spectacular!!! You should go on safari and take more :) I hope you enjoyed some sun and fun in San Diego. I can’t wait to read about the rest of the journey and the meeting of your niece-y! xoxox, thinking of you, missing you.

  17. caroline

    Your photos are such an inspiration to me– I recently took up photography and I’ll be spending about three weeks in San Diego next February. One week of the trip will be spent on a Navy vessel and the rest will be consumed by 14+ hour work days, but I’m hoping I can carve out a pocket of time to take a few photos.

  18. chris

    Fantastic pictures!! And if I didn’t know that the sky could be that blue, I would call shenanigans on you . . . makes me nostalgic for my New Mexico year.

  19. Stacey

    Those are some great pics Lolly :)

    A friend of mine used to live in Hillcrest in SD, great little area, no?

  20. Erin

    Ooh, Spread, yay! If you want suggestions for next time you’re out here on other local/sustainable/tasty restaurants with veggie/vegan food in San Diego, I know of a couple also in uptown (i.e. not far from Balboa Park). :)

    Fantastic photos! We live walking distance from Balboa Park, so we go there a lot, but I’ve never been there in the early morning like you did. What a difference it makes for the light!

    (Neighborhood nitpick: Spread is in North Park.)

  21. Dina

    I’m so glad you like San Diego. My parent’s house is just on the other side of the zoo, so I like to say I grew up at its back door. Besides going there at least once or twice a week, the best part of growing up so close to the zoo was once in a while you could hear the spider monkeys in the morning which I thought was the coolest thing ever. Or maybe it was when the peacocks would get loose and roam our neighborhood. While I could never live in SD again I love visiting and can’t wait to get back for some sunshine and warmth.

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