I Went to the Zoo

 It's been very many years since I have visited a zoo, and I couldn't even tell you which zoo it might have been, but I had heard anecdotal  information  that suggested the Santa Barbara Zoo had good landscaping with excellent plants  and was worthy of a visit . I'm always up for  some plant viewing so I  added the zoo  to my road trip agenda. A bit of googling revealed that this particular zoo is well regarded, is small, provides naturalistic settings for the animals and it was only ten minutes from my hotel .

  There were a lot, really a lot,  of children there, and the facility had numerous family-friendly features including a large park like play area , picnic areas, Giraffe feeding and a zoo train among other attractions.  Because I am notoriously child-phobic I spent quite a bit of time positioning myself  as far away as possible from the hordes. If I were to visit again , it would be very early spring, on a weekday, right at opening.

 This entire post will feature exactly 3 photos that include animals. I definitely had to take a pic of the Flamingos.





 Look at this cool container..I wondered if it was open at the bottom so that the large speciman cacti could root down into the soil beneath.


 A nice grouping , and typical of many garden areas at this zoo.



 Here we have Epiphyllums growing up the trunk of palms. I imagine this is quite a sight when the Epis bloom.

I'm always appreciative of a nice stand of Draceana Draco.



 Some really nice mature cactus and succulent plantings flanked one of the paths.




 Several of the palms were hosting large-very large- staghorn ferns (Platycerium) mounted on their trunks. I wish I had tried to see and photgraph the mechanics involved here, I'll be sure to do so if and when I return to this zoo.




 There were many palms , and  my palm ID skills are still lacking in spite of my pledge to improve. Maybe next year.


 Clivias were in peak bloom just about everywhere I went. The greenery above looked really fig-like to me but I found no tags.



 Cycads too !





Palms, Draceana draco , Clivia.


 Leucospermum is now a fixture in this region.


 Naturally there were Agaves.


 I had some regrets that I didn't spend more time in the areas that were designated for California native plants. I really appreciated that they featured our natives and though the area was relatively  small it was nicely designed , with informative signage for the non-plant savvy visitor.


 I'm always in awe of Aeonium plantings. Keeping them alive over the winter at my house is a challenge.

  If I was a giraffe and lived at a zoo, I would definitely appreciate an ocean view.


 If you look center left you might see a mammal swinging along a rope .  This looked to be a white Chimp or a white Baboon- I failed to get the ID and I can't find info on the SB zoos' website. However, this guy was swinging happily through mature Eucalyptus. I saw no screens, nets or fences of any kind-


 This was the scene below. I wish I had taken more photos of the environments that this small zoo has created for their animals.

 I guess my take-away from this visit was appreciation for the attempt to provide livable habitats for their animals in natural settings, including a Condor enclosure large enough  for them to fly in.  Certainly it's not like being free, but the study of these animals that is facilitated by their confinement in a zoo is important for their survival in the wild. 



Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing the visit! Even though I spent my undergrad years in SB and have visited the area too many time to count since, I've only visited this zoo once, decades ago now I think. The landscaping looks better than I remember so it probably warrants a return visit but I'll heed your warning on the child quotient - having spent this morning with a dozen 1st graders on a tour through my local botanic garden, I think I'm becoming more child-phobic too.

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    Replies
    1. a dozen 1st graders...you are a brave soul Kris !

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  2. Thanks for sharing your visit. If you're interested in another zoo with great plant-scaping, the Tacoma Zoo is worth a visit when you're up here. Both Loree and I have visited and written posts about it. Their main plants-person leads very informative monthly tours that you have to sign up for. I'm not child-phobic but I don't recall being particularly annoyed by any hordes on the weekday I was there.

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    1. I looked back on those posts Alison-looks definitely worth a visit.

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  3. Always take photos of the flamingos! I had no idea Santa Barbara had a zoo, let alone that it was a good one. Also that swinging mammal...wow! I second Alison's comment about the Pt Defiance zoo in Tacoma.

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    1. Not quite the scale of the vast Flamingo pond at the San Diego Zoo, but still gives one some tropical moments. I've been to the PDX zoo too ! Many many years ago during the hippie-esque era. Pretty sure altered states were involved.

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  4. White handed Gibbon, Hylobates lar? Very nice plantscaping. Santa Barbara has that wonderful climate--everything grows beautifully.

    I avoid zoos and most museums for the reason you stated.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe a Gibbon-he/she was chimp sized from what I could tell. Santa Barbara and Berkeley are my envy zones.

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