Experiencing The Lunar New Year At The San Diego Zoo

Last month my friends and I took a train down to San Diego in anticipation of the lunar New Year festivities at the San Diego Zoo. We arrived at opening time and stayed all day. There were a number of rare events and we made memories we won’t soon forget. I’d advise anyone who has any interest in the environment and its wildlife to mark their calendars next year, because this was a once in a lifetime experience.

We visited the Asian Passage, where a zookeeper invited guests to write down a wildlife wish and hang it from their wall. There were dozens of kids in the area, crafting their own lantern designs to celebrate the Year of the Tiger.

Later, we were taught all about rare species, some in the zoo and some not. We learned interesting facts about red pandas, takin, and snow leopards. We had fun chatting with the zookeepers, who were there to answer the many questions we asked. We also visited the Tiger River to learn more about horticulture, which is the art of cultivating a garden. Who knew the “art” could be so complex?

We had previously reserved a 60-minute cart tour of the zoo with an expert guide. This ended up being the highlight of the trip. This is where you see all the animals you might expect, but learn more about them in person. It’s a popular tour, so the reservation is required.

The zoo also offered a “Flavors of Asia” feast, complete with egg rolls, pot stickers, and even a few unexpected treats. It turned out to be a filling lunch.

Last on the itinerary was meeting Bamboo Panda, a costumed worker who was there for photo opportunities. We photo bombed a bunch of teens who were only taking the picture to joke around with their friends. We made faces. They made faces. It was great fun. Will we do this again next year? Probably!