Post o’ Panda – San Diego Zoo 2009

Many people wondered why Joe and I got married so quickly; we were engaged in August and married in November. Luckily, this isn’t the 50’s — people weren’t huddling in corners, and whispering in hushed voices, “Is she pregnant?” – no I just got straight forward questions – are you knocked up? The answer to that would be – no.


The real answer is that we already had a vacation planned in November – a trip to San Diego to see the Eagles v. the Chargers at Qualcom Stadium, and we planned around what turned out to be a lovely preplanned honeymoon. The answer to why Eagles v. Chargers is a more complicated question, actually. My dear husband, even though a lifelong PA resident, somehow emerged a Chargers fan. Something to do with Dan Fouts, something to do with the West Coast offense – I don’t know.


So, over the next week, while I will not attempt to explain my husband’s Charger nature, I will try to blog about our trip. Today’s post is my favorite part of our trip – besides being with my new hubby, of course.


Joe’s not really a zoo enthusiast, but after seeing his team win on their home field, it wasn’t too hard to get him to go to the San Diego Zoo, and spend some quality time with their Pandas.


The San Diego Zoo has been home to at least 2 Pandas since 1987. Now, they have a whole family of Pandas. The women in the family are not camera shy, and can be viewed sleeping and eating – it’s nice to be a Panda. The new baby Panda can be observed on a monitor, and you can watch him coo and wriggle all day long – and if Joe hadn’t pushed me along, we probably would have been there all day long.  503

When we were there, this new little guy didn’t have a name, but on Tuesday, he had his naming ceremony, and he is now Yun Zi, “son of cloud,” which is appropriate since his mommy’s name is Bai Yun, “white cloud.”



 Yun Zi’s daddy, unlike his mommy, is camera shy, and I got the impression he is never available for viewing.  Apparently, Pandas are not the little sweethearts that they appear to be, but rather are creatures who have little patience, and do not, under any circumstance, want to be interrupted when eating.  Lemon will not be playing with any Pandas any time soon.


The other somewhat disappointing Panda fact I learned is that their fur is not soft at all – in fact, it’s coarse, and much like steel wool.  Now, I’ll never wonder why we don’t knit from Pandas, like we do from Alpacas, or LLamas, or sheep.  No Panda sweater for me.


So, here are the pictures I took of the two lady Pandas – Su Lin and Zhen Zhen.



I probably took a gazillion pictures of the pandas, and I don’t even know if these are the best ones. But, here’s a video Joe shot – I think this is Zhen Zhen-

Of course, Pandas are not the only highlight at the zoo. While I think Philadelphia can go toe to toe with San Diego as far as variety of animals, and attempting to create the most natural environment for the creatures, San Diego definitely has the upper hand when it comes to surroundings and layout – the zoo is, after all, in the middle of Balboa Park, surrounded by a harbor town and neighboring foothills.  There’s a 30 minute guided tour bus, and the footpaths glide easily up and down sloping hills, adjacent to animal habitats.  The newest exhibit is called tIMG_1230he Elephant Odyssey, and while the main attraction is the elephants, its supposed to be an archeological stroll through California’s indigenous animal population.  Within this exhibit, there are not only elephants, but a few lions, and a jaguar – so close behind the glass you can almost smell the carcasses they’re chowing down on. 


Anyway, I won’t post all 30 billion pictures I took at the zoo – but you can see some of them here


And, of course, I did come home with my Panda t-shirt.  But, riddle me this – why, in this new world of souvenir t-shirts, am I a size large child or an size x-large woman?


  • Lisa

    November 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Wendy, if I had been there with you rather than Joe, we’d probably still be watching the baby panda 🙂

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