San Diego Zoo: Perfect For You; Aging Parents Too

While on vacation, my time is very limited and  access to wireless is ify at best.  Nevertheless, this week and next, I will try to post on schedule (Tuesdays and Saturdays) if possible.

Tonight I’m wondering: why do we see zillions (slight exaggeration) of adult children pushing all types of strollers at the San Diego Zoo, but very few aging parents (or adult children pushing wheelchairs with aging parents) enjoying the attractions that zoos offer?  Is it that an aging parent–or old parent–no longer enjoys this?

We’ve been invited to stay with friends at a beach in the San Diego area. Walking barefoot in the sand and putting feet in the water feels good!  So does breathing the  fresh air.  And sunsets on the Pacific ocean are magnificent.  (See photo and August 17th post.)

But I want to talk about Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo in Balboa park, which we visited today.  Just minutes from downtown San Diego by way of the freeway (if it isn’t loaded with traffic), this park is a visual treat: acres of amazing vegetation, wonderful gardens, and beautifully designed buildings (many are museums) from a bygone era.  Simply driving through the park’s many acres is a memorable experience.

The zoo, however, is the major attraction for us.  With top professional attention given to endangered species, conservation, natural habitats, the latest in animal care, and no doubt more animals than any other zoo in the US, it’s in a class by itself.  AND it’s user-friendly to every age group.   Wheelchairs, strollers, and some kind of little motorized vehicles–along with trams and gondolas–make the zoo easily accessible.

But be forewarned: if our goal is to help aging parents by giving them a fun outing, and because every animal from A-Z can be seen in its natural habitat, it’s important to know the limits of our parents’ energy.  Prioritize what’s of most interest. (There are plenty of workers and volunteers who can help you).  I’ve learned 3 hours is my max, but as little as an hour at the San Diego Zoo can be a highlight for young and old if it’s well planned.

Check weather, go early to beat the heat in summer, take handicapped parking permit and bring or buy water on a hot day. Remember: aging parents often don’t feel thirsty, but dehydration is dangerous.  If a trip to the San Diego Zoo is doable, it will help aging parents to have another outing they’ll never forget.

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