Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The San Diego Zoo: Perfect For You; Aging Parents Too!

While on vacation, my writing time is very limited and access to wireless is ify at best.  Never-the-less, 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 even adult children pushing wheelchairs with seated aging parents) enjoying the attractions that zoos offer? Is it that an aging or old parent no longer enjoys this?

We've been invited to stay with friends at the beach in the San Diego area. Walking barefoot in the sand and putting feet in the ocean feels good!  So does breathing the fresh air.  And sunsets on the Pacific ocean are magnificent (see  photo in August 17th's 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, with acres of amazing vegetation, wonderful landscaping and beautifully designed buildings (many housing exhibits) from a bygone era. Simply driving through the acres of park 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.  Wheel chairs, strollers and some kind of little motorized vehicles, along with trams and gondolas make the entire zoo accessible.

But be forewarned: because every animal from A-Z can be seen in its natural habitat, if our goal is to  help aging parents by giving them a fun outing, it's important to know the limits of parents' energy.  Thus, it's necessary to prioritize what's of most interest (there are plenty of friendly, 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.

To help aging parents, who like nature and animals, have an outing they'll always remember, plan a trip to the San Diego Zoo if it's doable.

Help! Aging Parents will soon move to its new site: http://helpparentsagewell.com  Check it out.

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