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Wild Animal Park Roar & Snore

Children's Zoo

The sleep over at the San Diego Wild Animal Park came about because Patty and Craig wanted to get as many of the family children together as possible. Daughter Danielle was not able to make the event, but the picture above covers all the family who were able to participate. Listed are Craig, Holly, nephew brothers Paul, Chris, and Jay with Jay's sons Trevor and Sean, Patty, Julie's step-son Alex, Julie, Olivia, Julie's step-daughter Paige, and C.J.

First we visited the Children's Zoo where, as you can see, all the youngsters got to pet their favorite deer.

Craig sitting on his dad's benchOn our way to our campsite, we visited the lion area and Craig sat down on the bench dedicated to his dad (Herbert George Weightman) after his death. The park was one of dad's favorite charities, specifically the new lion area, and we thought this would be a good way to remember him. At his request, dad's ashes were spread at sea and this is effectively a memorial to his life.

young pride of lions

Of course the lion pride was resting - something they do 18 to 20 hours a day - but, Chris did manage a close up shot through the glass in one area of the enclosure.Chris taking a picture of a lion

View of our overnight tents and the viewWe all climbed up the hill to our camping area. Here you can see our three tents, with Trevor, Sean, Paul, Jennifer, and Jay milling around. The other part of the picture is the view of the park we could see from the tents. Notice the viewpoint where people are gathered. This is next to the group eating area and you can see the people beginning to gather to watch the evening feeding that goes on for the park animals. This is usually handled after the park closes and only the sleep over guests remain.

Olivia & C.J.The next morning Olivia & C.J. posed before breakfast and leaving for an early tour of the Heart of Africa region of the park.

Heart of Africa vultureStrange birds were normal in this area, but we started with an African Vulture. We saw the park personnel feeding the vultures smaller, dead animals, but the pictures were a bit too gruesome and not very clear.

mystery bird in Heart of AfricaWe have absolutely no idea what this guy is, but he may be equally puzzled by us; judging by the position of his head - completely cocked over to one side.

flamingos in Heart of AfricaThe flamingos were in several different places - birds can move easily between many parts of the park - but this was the largest flock. We found them after crossing a complex series of wooden bridges across the shallow marsh area in Heart of Africa.

feeding cheetahs

After leaving the flamingos, we walked up a slight rise and were able to see an animal attendant feeding a pack of cheetahs. These incredibly quick animals were used to the attendants, but the rest of us were kept far enough away that we weren't a danger to the cats or ourselves.

Olivia & C.J. at bird aviary and Lorrys

We wound our way through the park and back to the bird aviary near the entrance. Here Olivia & C.J. left the group to head home. The rest of us entered the aviary to see the wide variety of birds. There were quite a few Lorry's in evidence in a particularly shaded area.

Of course no trip to the park would be complete without a visit to the gorilla compound - this picture is what drew you into this page in the first place, isn't it? One gorilla looks to be showing off while the silverback (dominant male over 12 years old) sits back in his cave looking out over the much smaller females in his group

gorillas showoff and silverback family in front of flamingos

In yet another bird area we see first Alex, Julie, and Paige, then Sean, Trevor, and Jay standing in front of yet more flamingos.

elephant sanctuary

Finally we made our way to the Asian Elephant sanctuary, which was quite extensive and viewable from several sides at different places in the park. We saw some feeding going on and even a couple of quite young elephants ambling across the grass at the center of the area.

Leaving the park, we all had an unforgettable adventure - visiting the park when it was closed, seeing animals being fed, sleeping under the stars (sort of) in the area with the animals, and finally seeing the early morning rituals that most people can't get there soon enough to be able to share.