TRAVEL TALES : IT'S A PARTY AT THE ANIMAL HOUSE.Byline: Carol Bidwell Daily News Staff Writer
You belong in the zoo, the San Diego Zoo San Diego Zoo
One of the world's largest collections of mammals, birds, and reptiles, located in San Diego, Calif., and administered by the Zoological Society of San Diego. The 100-acre (40. - especially now, as the famed animal collection celebrates its 80th anniversary.
To mark the milestone, the U.S. Postal Service The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) processes and delivers mail to individuals and businesses within the United States. The service seeks to improve its performance through the development of efficient mail-handling systems and operates its own planning and engineering programs. will unveil 15 endangered species endangered species, any plant or animal species whose ability to survive and reproduce has been jeopardized by human activities. In 1999 the U.S. government, in accordance with the U.S. stamps in a first day of issue ceremony at the zoo Oct. 2, the founding date of the Zoological Society in 1916. The stamp series features North American North American
named after North America.
North American blastomycosis
see North American blastomycosis.
North American cattle tick
see boophilusannulatus. endangered species, including the California condor, Florida panther The Florida panther is a critically endangered representative of Cougar (Puma concolor) that lives in the low pinelands, palm forests and swamps of southern Florida in the United States. , American crocodile The American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) is one of the four species of New World crocodile and the most wide-spread in range. It occurs from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of southern Mexico through Central America and in South America as far as Peru and Venezuela. , thick-billed parrot The Thick-billed Parrot, Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha is a medium-sized, up to 38cm long, bright green parrot with a large black bill and a red forecrown, shoulder and thighs. Adult eyes are amber, while juveniles have brown eyes. The rest of the bird is bright green. and black-footed ferret black-footed ferret
see ferret. .
And the San Diego San Diego (săn dēā`gō), city (1990 pop. 1,110,549), seat of San Diego co., S Calif., on San Diego Bay; inc. 1850. San Diego includes the unincorporated communities of La Jolla and Spring Valley. Coronado is across the bay. Zoo's sister collection - the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, founded five days after the San Diego institution - will help celebrate.
``We're going to have an animal exchange and staff exchange over the next few years to share all we've learned,'' said Georgeanne Irvine, zoo spokeswoman.
But the real fun at the zoo is watching the animals, especially Shi Shi and Bai Yun, a male and a female giant panda on loan from China. The two arrived earlier this month and, after a settling-in period, will go on display in about two weeks in an expanded, $3 million exhibit area, zoo officials say.
The pandas are expected to be in San Diego 12 years for a breeding research project monitored by a Sino-American scientific research team.
The zoo is also still showing off its two newest exhibits: Polar Bear Plunge, a new polar bear habitat that premiered this summer, and Hippo Beach, which debuted last year. Both habitats allow zoogoers to see the animals in near-natural habitats - and to watch their underwater antics through thick sheets of glass that form one side of their swimming tanks.
``The animals can swim underwater or walk halfway in and halfway out of the water and act like submarines,'' Irvine said. ``They interact with the people watching them, and it's hilarious.''
After one of the zoo's polar bears died a few weeks ago, zoo officials worried that the animals' new habitat - where bears can catch their own fish to eat - may have contributed to the death, Irvine said.
But tests showed that the bear died of acute liver disease Liver Disease Definition
Liver disease is a general term for any damage that reduces the functioning of the liver.
The liver is a large, solid organ located in the upper right-hand side of the abdomen. and lung cancer lung cancer, cancer that originates in the tissues of the lungs. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States in both men and women. Like other cancers, lung cancer occurs after repeated insults to the genetic material of the cell. , both previously undetected and both complicated by the bear's old age, she said.
Both exhibits are among the most popular for zoo visitors, Irvine said.
For first-time visitors, the best way to see the zoo, which sprawls over more than 100 acres, is on a guided tour, zoo officials say. A 35-minute bus tour meanders through miles of winding roads, through canyons and up mesas, while driver guides relate interesting facts about the animals seen along the route. The open-sided, double-decker buses leave the zoo station every few minutes for the three-mile trip.
New at the zoo are Kangaroo bus tours, which follow the regular bus route, but allow visitors to hop on and off the bus all day long at eight different stops.
The zoo also offers Spanish-language bus tours at noon daily.
For an aerial perspective, visitors can take the Skyfari cable lifts from one side of the zoo to the other on a one-third-of-a-mile ride across the treetops from the Reptile House to Horn and Hoof hoof, horny epidermal casing at the end of the digits of an ungulate (hoofed) mammal. In the even-toed ungulates, such as swine, deer, and cattle, the hoof is cloven; in the odd-toed ungulates, such as the horse and the rhinoceros, it is solid. Mesa. From the air, zoogoers can get panoramic views of Balboa Park, downtown San Diego and its harbor, as well as zoo exhibits that include Hippo Beach and Monkey Mesa, with its Scripps Flight Aviary aviary
Structure for keeping captive birds, usually spacious enough for the aviculturist to enter. Aviaries range from small enclosures to large flight cages 100 ft (30 m) or more long and up to 50 ft (15 m) high. Enclosures for birds that fly only little or weakly (e.g. and Gorilla Tropics.
For the kids, the Children's Zoo features open-moated enclosures, walk-through bird aviaries, two baby animal nurseries and a petting paddock where kids can meet and pet sheep, goats and potbellied pigs. Zookeepers also do animal shows throughout the day featuring meerkats, anteaters, macaws, falcons and desert tortoises.
The zoo now has more than 4,000 animals from more than 800 species. But it originated with a handful of animals left in Balboa Park at the close of the 1915-16 Panama-California International Exposition. The zoo has been at its present site since 1922.
Lions, tigers, bears for free
The San Diego Zoo is off Park Boulevard in Balboa Park; visitors are admitted 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, with the park closing at 6 p.m.
During October, all children age 11 and younger will be admitted to the zoo free. On Oct. 7, adults and children will be admitted free to mark the zoo's Founder's Day.
All other times, admission is $15 for adults, $6 for children ages 3-11; kids under 2 are free. Admission plus a bus tour costs $19 for adults, $9 for kids. Admission plus a 35-minute bus tour and a ride on the Skyfari tramway costs $21 for adults, $11 for kids. Thirty-five minute bus tours given in Spanish cost $4 for adults, $3 for kids.
Kangaroo tours, which let visitors hop off and on zoo bus tours throughout the day, cost $8 for adults, $5 for kids.
Zoogoers also can explore on self-guided tours with hand-held listening devices that provide more information about zoo animals. Rental is $4 per person.
For more information on the zoo, call (619) 231-1515. For updated tour and admission information, call (619) 685-3264.
2 Photos, Box
Photo: (1) Bears swim and catch their own fish in P olar Bear Plunge, one of the San Diego Zoo's newest attractions.
(2) Furry-faced Bai Yun is one of the zoo's most popular residents.
Box: Lions, tigers, bears for free (See Text)