The San Diego Zoo takes up 100 acres of Balboa Park, 6.5 of those acres are dedicated to the Elephant Odyssey exhibit. The first elephants to arrive in San Diego came by rail in 1923. After the boat ride from Asia to San Francisco followed by a train ride to San Diego they refused to move from their train car so the zoo’s founder and another zoo employee rode the Asian elephants from the Santa Fe train station all the way to Balboa Park. Since their arrival the elephant enclosure has had a lot of upgrades. Now it looks like something out of Jurassic Park. Maybe it is less to keep the elephants from getting out but to prevent people from getting in. Elephants range from critically endangered to endangered (depending on the species), yet they are still being poached for their tusks. These pachyderms need to be protected and the San Diego Zoo is doing their part, nationally and internationally.
The century old Balboa Park Botanic Building is undergoing a two year long renovation, but this doesn’t mean we need to be flora-less. The San Diego Zoo cares for thousands of plants on their grounds, many of which are rare. The San Diego Zoo maintains eight accredited plant collections throughout the property. Once a month they have a special event, Plant Day, where they open up two of their greenhouses which are usually closed to the public, and offer botanic bus tours. I have it on my calendar for September.