San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

A couple of weekends ago we went back to San Diego, this time to spend the entire time at the zoo! The San Diego zoo is known for their pandas, so we were really excited to see those. So, we got into our car and drove two hours from Los Angeles to the iconic zoo.

The tickets are $52 for a day visit, which is a little overpriced, but the zoo is beautiful, so you can tell they use the money in a good way. First we saw the orangutans, one of our favorites. They are huge and look pretty friendly! We then made our way to the tigers, one of which looked very impatient and hungry, definitely waiting for his lunch to get there.

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We then made our way to the hippos and monkeys. We walked through the area where they keep the leopards, wondering what it would be like to cuddle with the white leopards. Finally we reached the Panda trek and walked along it, seeing various bears. Panda Canyon was under construction, so the pandas were relocated to a new enclosure. This didn’t much matter, because the two pandas were asleep when we got there, so, sadly, we couldn’t see them. We knew we wanted to see them better, so we decided to circle around later.

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Then we went to the Urban Jungle, where we saw giraffes, that absolutely loved us (at least we like to think so). They followed us wherever we went and posed for pictures! The rhinos seemed very cuddly, so when one of the caretakers came up to the fence, the rhinos came over, waiting for her to pet her. What we found interesting was the zebra and the donkey in one enclosure, with a sign saying they are best friends! What was even weirder, in another enclosure they had cheetahs and dogs, which are best friends. The dogs are called animal ambassadors, helping the zoo domesticate the cheetahs and make them friendlier towards humans. It’s such an odd concept and I’m not sure where it came from, but it seems to work.

Next we saw koalas, which are adorable! Most of them were sleeping and when they were sleeping, they were chewing or leaves. We moved on to meerkats (my personal favorites) and elephants. We paused at the Sabertooth Grill for lunch. I had the “incredible nachos” which were good and a refillable soda, which came in handy throughout our walk around the zoo. We then walked up to the lions, which were shockingly sleeping and then up to the arctic to see the polar bears. The polar bears were one of my favorite to see, because they were so active! They were splashing around in the water, cooling down from the warm weather!DSC_6337

We finally walked around to the gorillas, which we had been circling the entire day, but haven’t actually seen them. They were also very active and we ended up sitting there for a while, watching as the youngest one taunted the older males.

DSC_6403We decided to go around to the tigers and the pandas again before calling it a day. The tigers had obviously moved to a new spot to sleep, but continued to nap through the afternoon. The pandas were awake though, so we finally saw them at their most active time: meal time. They sat there, chewing on bamboo and leaves. We found out that when pandas are 18 months old, they have to be separated, because they start seeing each other as competition and start getting aggressive. A good time to see them is around 4:30pm, when they get fed, so plan around that!

DSC_6457Before leaving, we stopped by the giant turtles and the alligators. At the end of the day we had walked about 10km (6.5 miles) around the zoo, spending about 5-6 hours there. I definitely recommend this zoo, it is a beautiful zoo!


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Halloween!

It’s Halloween weekend! A pretty exciting time of the year if you are either a child or a college student. Halloween, as we know it today and as seen in pop culture, is something that used to be celebrated mostly in the US, but the holiday has started to make its way abroad. Here’s some background on the holiday.img_1632

All Hallow’s Eve is celebrated on October 31st, and it is the day of the dead. Lots of cultures have a variation of this, in the Czech Republic it’s Dušičky, celebrated in November, or in Mexico there’s Dia del Muertos, it is a holiday during which you remember the dead. It was originally a pagan holiday that carried over and is still celebrated in one way or another today.

The holiday was made up of 3 days: All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. In Europe, it became a somewhat mystical holiday, because it was believed that on the day when fall turned into winter, the boundaries between the world of the living and the world of the dead were very thin. That’s why some of the activities during the three day holiday included scrying, divination, dream interpretation and more other magical festivities. Apple bobbing and bonfires as well as playing tricks are all traditions that are still around today.

Eventually the magical activities were banned by the Church and the holiday, once again, became about honoring and remembering the dead. Families would go visit the graves of their loved ones and pray for their souls.

It wasn’t until late 19th century that the holiday made its way across the Atlantic Ocean to North America. Even though it faced some difficulty finding its place, it soon became popular and was celebrated across the entire country. Halloween is now more popular in North America than in Europe.

Now Halloween lost a lot of the mysticism around it. But it is a fun holiday during which people dress up in costumes and kids go trick-or-treating for candy, walking around neighborhoods in their costumes and getting more hyper as they fill their buckets or bags or pumpkins with candy. It’s the one time of the year that kids are actually encouraged to knock on strangers’ doors and take their candy.

College students take advantage of this holiday and dress up and party. This is the part of the holiday that has carried over to other countries, because who doesn’t love a halloween themed party!

It’s also the prime time to watch horror movies, if you don’t like partying that much. There’s countless horror movies if you like being scared and even more halloween themed kids’ movies that are always fun to watch.

Most popular movies include:

  • img_1579Halloweentown (1998)
  • Hocus Pocus (1993)
  • Poltergeist (1982)
  • Beetlejuice (1988)
  • Psycho (1960)
  • Halloween (1978)
  • Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  • Edward Scissorhands (1990)
  • Little Vampire (2000)
  • Friday the 13th (1980)
  • Scream (1996)
  • Teen Wolf (1985)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

Lots of TV shows also love making Halloween themed episodes, which are good to binge-watch during Halloween and the weeks before!

Whatever you might do, whether it is trick-or-treating, going to a party or doing a movie marathon, have fun this weekend and on Halloween!


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Apple Picking

Fall in Boston

 

Apple Picking

It’s the beginning of fall, which in America means it’s prime time for apple picking and other fun fall activities! I’ve never been apple picking and I was told I was definitely missing out on lots of fun. So, on the first fall weekend, we got up bright and early (about 6am) and headed to The Big Apple farm in Wrentham, Massachusetts.

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It was beautiful weather! It was chilly enough so that you could wear a cute plaid outfit (which we all did, of course), but it was also sunny and the orchard just looked gorgeous. We got to the farm a little before 10 and already there were lots of families with little kids running around, picking apples and taking lots and lots of pictures (as we soon did as well).

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We paid for a small bag, which cost $25, and started walking through, looking for our favorite apples. The Big Apple has a beautiful orchard on top  of a hill, so you are also rewarded with an amazing view.

We managed to fill up our bag fairly quickly (and even snacked on some apples there), so we got back into the car to drive down and visit their store. In the store they have ciders, donuts, caramel apples, honey sticks and, of course, other vegetables and more and more apples! I personally tried the caramel apples and the cider, both of which were absolutely delicious! I also heard the donuts are amazing, so I suggest you try those too!

 

That concluded our trip, but there is more you can do at the farm. I saw they offered hayrides, eventually pumpkin picking and maybe even more! My new American experience was a lot of fun and suggest you try it out as well!

 


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Fall in Boston

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