My granddaughter was born in San Diego County, and although she has not lived there for 16 years, it was Jen’s wish to celebrate her 18th birthday in the city of her birth. So the family gathered to spend a week together, and of course a trip to the San Diego Zoo was on the agenda! The Zoo is very wheelchair friendly. Accessible parking was plentiful near the entrance, and because we had picked up an “Access San Diego” coupon at our hotel, Carrieanna and I received a 2-for-1 discount available for “qualified persons with disabilities and their helper/attendant.”
We arrived soon after the gates opened, and after consulting our map to make sure we could locate the accessible walks and restrooms, we headed over to the Wegeforth Bowl to watch the Camp Critters Sea Lion Show. The top row of the amphitheater-style seating was marked for handicap access; we found a little patch of shade and enjoyed this entertaining 20-minute show. Determining that the Big Cat Trail would allow us to see many of our favorite animals, we followed Front Street, stopping along the way to view one of Jen’s favorites, the koalas. Although we could have remained on the easier route, Carrieanna wanted to zoom down the steep grade of Park Way, so the rest of us followed behind. (Sometimes having wheels provides a little extra fun!)
The Big Cat Trail was accessible, albeit somewhat bumpy in places. Most of the big cats were enjoying the warm sun, ignoring the zoo visitors. That was not the case with the mountain lion, however. She took a fierce interest in Carrieanna, startling us all as she growled and bound toward her. Perhaps it was Carrieanna’s light-colored and wispy hat, which was at the cat’s eye level, that piqued her interest. Or perhaps not; even after Carrieanna removed the hat the mountain lion maintained eye contact with her for quite a while. This adrenaline-filled excitement made us realize that we, too, were hungry, so we stopped at the Hu Mei Café for a yummy lunch. (There’s an accessible restroom behind the café.)
As you can see the Eagle Trail was not independently accessible, but Carrieanna has two strong brothers who made sure she could get to the top. And the polar bear made the trek worthwhile! By this time it was late afternoon and our feet grew weary so we headed toward the exit, enjoying the Elephant Odyssey and a brief detour through the Urban Jungle along the way. We all loved the San Diego Zoo!