Yesterday we went to San Diego Wild Animal Park, and these are some quick sketches I did of some gibbons. Because they were in motion most of the time, there was not much opportunity for detail. A suggestion of posture and behavior was about all I got.

I’ll write more later when I scan some other sketches, but overall the place was a disappointment. A realistic habitat is fantastic for the animals and important for conservation, but when many of the animals are so far away that you can’t see them, it leaves a little bit to be desired. These gibbons were among the few that were close enough to a viewing area to be seen. If you wanted to get see the giraffes closer than the distance of a few football fields from a moving tram, you had to purchase a special pricey photo safari on top of your park admission. If you’d like to see a cheetah run (or see the cheetah at all, in fact) sorry, that’s another special event.

I know that the costs of admission go toward caring for the animals, but I felt that the park overpromised and under delivered. The commercial that showed how close you could get to see the lions only applied if the lions deigned to go up next to the plexiglass window. There were only two lions on display, perched on a hillside quite a distance away. I’ll try some drawing from photo references we took.

I’ll have more to say about the good parts later.


  1. Sioux
    July 4, 2006

    Cool sketches. Yep, all the parks are going up in price…here, too. Even our state parks…and no more senior citizen stuff, either!!

  2. Ann Fortenberry
    July 5, 2006

    It’s too bad that parks–which BELONG to US, the taxpayer– are getting so pricey. I understand that our furry friends need their space, but why don’t they put in those observation telescope thingys that they have in some scenic spots to bring in stuff closer? Free ones, I mean. The lines at them would be long, but just the same…..

  3. Jana Bouc
    July 6, 2006

    Nice gibbon sketches. When I went to the zoo last week I didn’t even try to draw the primates since they were too far away and constantly moving. You did a good job capturing them, even with the challenges they presented. At the Oakland zoo the giraffes were very close to us and were a treat to watch and draw, though the two babies were pretty active. I’m sorry you didn’t get to see the San Diego giraffes close up, they’re such special creatures.

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