Traveling With Kids – San Diego Zoo Safari – Tour Guides

The Expected Tour Guide

IMG_0229We’d made the safari tour. I would have bet against it. I sat beside the tour guide, while the boys and the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world sat at the back. Like tailgunners.

I can’t report how the boys thought about what they saw, at least until I talked to them afterwards and, by then, it wasn’t their pure, immediate responses, which I so love.

We saw rhinos and zebras and camels and all manner of deer-like creatures, and birds and giraffes and wild horses like the Mongols tamed and cows with the hugest horns I’ve ever seen.

However, being beside the tour guide, I felt obligated to always respond to stuff she said. I dunno why I felt that need, but I did. “So, over here you’ll see two indian thing-deerie things peeing on the tree,” and I would say, “Cool.” “And by the side of the road, there’s a wagawagagnome licking its testicles.” “Wonderful.”

IMG_0232I even answered questions. “Can everyone hear me.” “Yes,” I said, sitting right next to her. “Has anyone seen a baby Rhino?” “Only on TV.”

However, after two stops where we got out in the rare rays of sun, the youngest decided he wanted to sit up front. And the fun began.

See, contrary to what his teachers may think, the youngest actually knows everything. At first he was a bit shy to share his expansive knowledge but all it took was one person in the back responding to a question and giving the wrong answer.

Tour guide, “The zipline is the longest zipline in the world.”

The other tourist, “When we were in Whistler, they said it was the longest.”

“Well, actually, there are several zip lines at Whistler,” says the youngest. “Only one was the longest.”

And off he went.

“Rhinos…” began the tour guide as we slowed to watch a pack of them lumber by…

The youngest turned to her. “Well, did you know that Rhinos are endangered?”

“Well, ah, yes, yes they are.”

“I know all about Rhinos.”


“I did a project at school,” he told her. What he forgot to mention was that he had to be hauled to do it kicking and screaming. “There are white rhinos and black rhinos and did you know that they can reach up to 35 miles per hour?”

“Yes, yes I did.”

“And did you know that they…” Well you get the idea.

I loved it. It was hilarious. But he really did know his rhino stuff. Who says school is a waste of time? He also knew a lot about horses, cows, lions and what’s the best popsicle.

We loved seeing all the animals. The youngest told the group all that we do to help save the animals and the environment. “Did you know that we recycle our plastic?”

Tour guide, “That’s great.”

“And did we don’t drink pop. Mom says we can’t.”

“Well, I’m, ah sure, yeah, that helps, too.”

“And we don’t throw things out of the car.”

“And at my dad’s, we bag up all the grass.”

“Also, good…. Ah, anyone else?”

Luckily he did not talk about his plan to use farts to power his cars.

But seeing the animals, once again, up close, in the open, either standing around, or eating or snuggling each other, gave us a much greater appreciation for all living things. Seeing them, made us all want to protect them and made us realize how valuable and amazing life can be on this planet.

IMG_2126The oldest vowed to do better. The youngest vowed to make sure he did.

For me, I loved that they told stories about the animals. These Malaysian deer were rescued from the Boxer rebellion and there were only a dozen in the world, but with careful breeding, we’ve brought them back from extinction and now there are thousands.”

The stories made a difference.

I thought it was a great way to start a day. Little did I know it was just the beginning of what would become the BESTEST DAY ever!

About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.
This entry was posted in Blogging, Parenting, San Diego, San Diego Safari, Travel, Traveling with kids, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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