San Diego, CA

San Diego Zoo

Yes, of course we visited THE ZOO but we did so much more! When heading to San Diego this is the one question that people ask.

Did you know the California state flag has a Grizzly Bear on it and there are no more Grizzly Bears in the State of California… well except here at the San Diego Zoo. Seeing two Grizzly Bears up close was my favorite part of our visit.

We arrived early so we could be in the park without the crowds and so we could see the bears at their most active time of the day. As we entered we were greeted by the pink flamingos, just like the Atlanta Zoo (where our home base is located). We haven’t visited any other zoos on our trip so far because I wanted to save that experience for THE ZOO. We went straight to the bear exhibit after we chatted with the flamingos. Highlights include all the types of bears, the llama,  the 6 week old giraffe, orangutans, and African penguins. We loved learning about and watching a cheetah and dog interact together because of a program they started that helps the cheetah relax. The prehistoric animal statues were fun to learn about and play on.  Included in our ticket price was a 30 minute double-decker open air tour bus. We saved this until the last activity and it provided a great review of the day.

YouTube Video below… it’s a long 15 minute one but worth it:)

 

 

 

The flora was beautiful as well.

Old Town San Diego

This little historic area reminds me of Williamsburg, VA. You park on the outside of the town and walk down the streets. You can visit the historic buildings for free. There are plaques in the buildings to read about the history. The day we visited the park ranger that gives the guided tours was sick so they canceled it.

For lunch we ate at Fred’s Mexican restaurant, walking distance outside the small district. Read Abby’s post about that, she LOVED it! Then we visited the most haunted house in America, The Whaley House. The docent spent a lot of time sharing the history and ghost stories with us. The girls loved the ‘energy’ they felt here.

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El Camino Real

The El Camino Real is a 600 mile road connecting the 21 Spanish missions in California. We are going to visit a few of these on our trip. This one, Mission San Diego de Alcala, is the first and southern most one.

 

Dr. Suess Library

The Audrey and Theodor Suess Geisel, better know as Dr. Suess, library is located in the center of the UC San Diego campus. It is the main campus library. We made a plan to visit after learning  that the library houses the Dr. Suess collection of original drawings, sketches, books and memorabilia. The girls have always loved Dr. Suess and have had many teachers that fueled that love. Dr. Suess lived in La Jolla, was inspired by may things in the area for his writing. You’ll see, in the pictures in the next section, the Borax tree that he could look down on from his house in the La Jolla hills.

The girls were enthralled by the energy of this library. They are literature lovers and wanted to explore the whole library. I hadn’t planned on this, which is one of the reasons I love this trip and homeschooling, things pop up that they want to learn more about and we can do it right then and there! We spent over an hour visiting each floor, examining the shelving system and book titles. There was an entire floor of Asian books, the lettering was impressive and the girls learned they read right to left. I told them this years ago but now they will remember it after opening several books to see for themselves. Mackenzie wanted to visit the medical books floor in the basement and they found out how you can fit so many books in a small space by having moving book shelves.

 

 

Erin Brown Scripps Park , Lorax tree

Truffula Tree is a species of tree featured in The Lorax.

 

La Jolla Beach

We had a wonderful time visiting the coast of San Diego. This is the first thing we did as after we parked the RV in San Diego. We drove to La Jolla to show the girls the Pacific Ocean for the first time. The temperature was high 60’s that day and the water was cold so we didn’t get to swim but we had fun jumping in the waves, walking in tide pools and watching the harbor seals and California sea lions.

You tube video below.

Sea Lions

 

Seals

 

Gas light quarter

Chris has been to San Diego before for conference so he told us about the Gas Light Quarter in downtown and wanted to show us the cool section of the city. We walked around and ended up eating dinner al fresco.

 

Cabrillo National Monument

This park was at the end of Point Loma Peninsula where we read might be a good place to see a Kelp forest and humpback whales migrating. We toured the visitors center where we learned more about baleen (toothless) whales , Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo (the guy credited with discovering San Diego in 1542), the importance of the light house,  role this area played in the war and the girls completed their Junior Ranger books. There is a 360 degree view where you can see the city, bay, ocean, Mexico and Coronado islands. We enjoyed a picnic lunch at the point while looking for whales. We didn’t see any but we could see the Kelp Forest from above and had a wonderful relaxing lunch. We climbed the lighthouse and saw how the keepers lived in the tiny house. Of course it’s larger than our current living situation so the girls loved it and thought it would be so snuggly to live here. The tide was too high the whole week we were here so we didn’t get to go down to the tide pools. If you are visiting the area, I highly recommend checking the tide calendar or calling the park before you visit and plan to visit during low tide. The last picture in this series is the location of the new lighthouse (relocated because fog observed the light) and the most importantly was used in the movie Top Gun. Are you a big Top Gun fan, where are some other movie site locations to visit?

 

 

Our spot

We stayed at Chula Vista RV park,  on a Marina, this time. Our parking spot was tight and we didn’t have much room to park the Jeep but it was quiet and pleasant. We had lovely neighbors. We did see a guy turn the corner across from us too tight with his 5th wheel and a branch caught on his ladder which pulled down the coral tree. No one was injured and the park came out and cut it up and moved it the next day.

Have you ever seen the cement checkers/chess tables and chairs in parks featured in movies? They had them all over here. This was where we had school this week.

 

 

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