For a nature loving person, being in the United States means America-size dreams of exploring America’s natural resources and national parks. That’s why during my first break from school, which was Thanksgiving, my husband and I set off to San Diego, California. California is home to a lot of tourist attractions, and it has beautiful mild weather which made for an amazing trip. One of my most enjoyable memories there was the time we spent in Balboa Park.
Balboa Park is a unique blend of nature, ancient architecture, museums, theaters, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. It is one of the largest and oldest parks in the United States. The San Diego Zoo felt like all of the world’s forests in one place but with an aquarium! There are endless views of greenery, huge trees, curving pathways, and rock stairs to get you through, upwards, and downwards in the jungle, not to mention an Aerial Skyfari Tram offering breathtaking views from above the zoo and a fast way to go back and forth across.
Aside from the views, we very much admired how every place and every activity took into consideration the elderly, the physically disabled, and the children. There were special pathways for wheelchairs and parking for strollers; everything seemed to be modified to be able to fit their needs so that everyone has fun, and enjoys the experience. I also loved how cooperative and cheerful all the staff were, always smiling and showing real interest in the park and in its visitors. The bus tour guide in San Diego showed us around and shared the history of the zoo, the story of each of the animals, and how the zoo is helping a lot of the endangered animal and plant species. Her lively demonstrations, along with the fun facts and curious excerpts of information scattered around, made the visit a sweet mix of education and entertainment. There is a research center as well, the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, which we learned has excellent contributions in leading the fight against extinction.
Decorated for the holidays, Balboa was a very delightful walk. We enjoyed listening to a Christmas themed musical band, and even witnessed a wedding taking place in the pretty park. I especially liked the Japanese Friendship Garden, which felt like a magic door to a piece of Japan, with its beautiful out-of-a-painting gardens and Japanese-style houses.
Short on time, and transportation means, we couldn’t visit the famous Yosemite National Park, but. Hopefully we’ll be able to visit next time!
MennatAllah is a student at University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston where she is studying towards a Master’s in Biomedical Sciences. She is from Egypt.