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Romantic Getaways in San Diego – Animal Parks Mar 16

My wife and I find romance in many different places. There is a lot to be said for going away to someplace very private and intimate but we also find that places that make you feel young can also be romantic. It is a lot of fun to walk around with your sweetheart and hold hands and experience again the things that you enjoyed when you were young. One of the places that we truly enjoy going to experience this “return to our youth” are zoos or animal parks and we tend to look for those any place that we visit. There probably is no place in the United States that has the quality and variety of animal parks as the San Diego area.

The most well known of the animal parks in the San Diego Area is probably the San Diego Zoo. It has been at the forefront of the zoo experience and breeding capabilities for almost 100 years. There are over 4000 animals at the zoo and the habitats housing these wondrous animals contribute to a very engaging experience. The zoo was the first to use barless, moated enclosures that allow you to view these animals in environments closer to their natural environment. There are animals of all kinds from all over the world including some very rare species. Most people have their favorite animals and you can be assured that your favorite is here somewhere and you will probably find some new interesting ones along the way.

What once started out as a breeding facility for the San Diego Zoo, the Wild Animal Park (about 34 miles North of San Diego outside of Escondido) is favored by some people over the Zoo. There are over 3500 animals and 430 species in the park. The interesting thing about this park is its openness. Animals run together in large areas and it is common to see giraffes interacting with zebras and antelopes (don’t worry, they don’t mix “meat-eaters” with “plant eaters” here) much as they would in Africa. There is an open-air tram ride called “Journey to Africa” which brings you a little closer to the animals. If you want to spend a little more, you can take the “Savanna Safari” to take you even closer and to some places the tram doesn’t cover. If you want to get really close, you can go on a Photo Caravan to visit parts of the park that no one else gets to see but you need reservations. There are also several self-guided walking tours in the park that lets you visit various animals in interesting habitats.

For those of you that love marine life, San Diego has a Sea World. The highlight of Sea World is its shows. The have a show featuring Shamu, the Killer Whale, which is enlightening and inspiring. They also have a nighttime version with lights and rock music called Shamu Rocks. My wife and I enjoy the Clyde & Seamore’s Risky Rescue show which features sea lions and otters which is really funny. There is also a Dolphin Discovery show for those of you who love dolphins.   Additionally, there are exhibits featuring beluga whales, polar bears, penguins, sharks, and manatees which allow you to learn about these animals while you watch them up close. There are new shows and exhibits being added all the time so check your program or the website when you go. For those of you who enjoy amusement parks, you can take a break from the animal watching and take your sweetheart on a rollercoaster, down a lazy river, or in a simulated helicopter ride.

You may be wondering how being in a crowded zoo could be romantic but you can always create your own intimate space wherever you are. I really enjoy “sneaking up” on my sweetheart while she is watching the animals. I come up behind her, put my arms around her, and whisper “I love you” in her ear and give her a kiss on the cheek. She usually returns the favor with a quick kiss. We tend to do this all day and take turns “sneaking up” on one another. At the end of the day, we usually will talk about the enjoyment we had watching the animals and the kids in the parks, but we also talk about who had the best sneaky kiss of the day. Although you may not think of it at first, I encourage you to think of the San Diego Animal Parks or your local zoo for your next romantic getaway.