Wildlife Explorers Base Camp at the San Diego Zoo

 The Wildlife Explorers Base Camp is a new section of the San Diego Zoo, located where the Children’s Zoo used to be.  This is an amazing addition to the Zoo.  It is very child friendly.  Most of the exhibits are placed so the stroller community and other young children can get a good view.  It also offers an overview of the terrestrial animal kingdom with insects, snakes, lizards, salamanders, turtles, reptiles and mammals representing.  There are outdoor play spaces, a cafe, water features and climbing structures.  

The lay-out is very clever.  Many exhibit spaces are on two levels.  You can see many animals in a small area without a lot of walking.  There are indoor and outdoor exhibits.  The indoor spaces are nice, because San Diego can be hot in the summer, so it is a nice break to be out of the sun.  (Today, December 10th, was a chilly day and we welcomed the heated indoors!).

One of the most interesting areas was a peek into the incubator room.  There were containers with snake, lizard and other eggs kept warm for hatching.  There were crocodile eggs in the process of hatching!  There were also casts of snake, turtle and other skeletons.

Although it is designed especially for children, there are many interesting animals for adults.  It is a must-seen for anyone interested in insects.  I was very excited by the Chinese giant salamander (he is a small giant) and the lungfish.  I also thought the exhibit of leaf-cutter ants was  fascinating.  The crowd-pleasing mammals included coatis, squirrel monkeys and prairie dogs.

Just outside the entrance are the hummingbirds and the Komodo dragons.  Just seeing this section of the Zoo would probably make for a very successful outing for younger children.



                                                        It looks like speckled rock, but it is the giant salamander.  

                                                        Molten aluminum casts of ant nests

                                                        One of the cool-off features

                                                The leaf-cutter ants with their fungus farms

                                                        Hissing cockroaches
                                                Actual eggs

                                                           Napping caracals
                                                Skeleton cast


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