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Video Series - Embark on an Elephant Odyssey at the San Diego Zoo

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  • Elephant Odyssey Video
  • Elephant Odyssey
  • Elephant Odyssey
  • Elephant Odyssey
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There are no two days alike at the San Diego Zoo, and with the Elephant Odyssey, there’s even more to explore this summer. Put on the sunscreen, grab the camera, and make your way to the San Diego Zoo’s newest exhibit.

Opened in 2009, the Elephant Odyssey spans more than seven acres within the San Diego Zoo. There are more than just elephants to view in this exhibit; the Elephant Odyssey is home to animals or relatives of animals that roamed this area 12,000 years ago -- before the days of San Diego or Los Angeles. "There are species from all over the world that represent the animals that used to live in Southern California," said San Diego Zoo Ambassador Rick Schwartz.

This corner of the world was ruled by animals such as the Columbian mammoth, the giant ground sloth, American lion, and others. Beginning with the fossil portal, a learning exhibit about tar pits and extinction, the Elephant Odyssey transports visitors back 12,000 years in time to view these animals and learn more about them.

View the Zoo's six Asian and one African elephants at Mammoth Plaza, which is also home to a life-sized statue of the Columbian mammoth, a local ancient cousin of the elephant that grew up to 13 feet tall. The giant sloth, saber-toothed cat and the American lion statues are also nearby, watching over their cousins, the two-toed sloth and the jaguar. Continue your journey through the exhibit to discover even more animal statues, such as Daggett's eagle, that represent what animals used to be found right where the Zoo stands today.

As visitors make their way through the Elephant Odyssey, they'll see subtle interactive learning opportunities scattered throughout the animal habitats. The elephant care center is the most prominent educational spot; watch the keepers give the elephants baths and pedicures, or listen to a keeper speak about the foods the elephants like to eat. Farther along the path, the tunnel passage allows visitors an opportunity to rest in the shade and watch a film of elephants on the move in their natural habitats. At the Pleistocene Playground, children can participate in a playful fossil dig or learn some conservation tips from a zoo staff member. Keep your eyes peeled for animals out and about with their keepers; daily walks and learning sessions abound throughout Elephant Odyssey.

"By the time you walk through to the other end, you'll have learned something," said Schwartz.

To see more of the San Diego Zoo's Elephant Odyssey, view the video above.


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  • City: San Diego
  • Venue: Balboa Park, San Diego