Animals Figure Big in San Diego's Travel Industry
(San Diego, California) – As whale watch season approaches, the California city by the sea is finding new ways to enjoy the spectacle, while other zoos and marine attractions in the area are boasting new features.
Whale watching season traditionally takes place from mid-December to mid-April in San Diego County as over 15,000 California gray whales make the trek from the chilly Alaskan seas to the warm water breeding lagoons of Baja California. Many boating excursion companies offer whale-watching tours throughout the season. For more information, visit www.sandiego.org.
During San Diego’s whale watching season - from December through March - San Diego’s Hornblower Cruises & Events will offer two, daily Whale and Dolphin Watching Adventure cruises with a new “green” twist.
As part of the company’s Respect Our Planet program, each 3.5-hour cruise will feature new initiatives and offerings designed to reduce Hornblower’s environmental impact as well as educate the public about the environment. The “green” features include new eco-interest sights included in the cruise’s narrative, onboard exhibits and the use of onboard sustainable products. For more information, visit www.hornblower.com.
In May 2010, SeaWorld San Diego will debut a new theatrical dolphin show, titled Blue Horizons, which will feature energetic bottlenose dolphins, powerful pilot whales, a colorful array of exotic birds and amazing acrobatic performers. The show will blend the amazing grace of animals with the lavish splendor of a Broadway production and tell the tale of Marina, a young girl whose vivid imagination sets the stage for a spectacular Blue Horizons extravaganza.
Visitors will also see bundles of action above and below the water, as a cast of divers and aerialists plunge off elaborate set pieces in and out of the water while the birds and marine animals perform amazing stunts.
In preparation, Dolphin Stadium will be closed while the new stage, sound system, high-tech water features and 700 additional guest seats are constructed. For more information, visit www.seaworld.com.
In August 2009, the San Diego Zoo’s 17-year-old giant panda, Bai Yun, gave birth to a male cub. The newborn panda is the fifth giant panda to be born at the Zoo, which is home to five of these endangered species. Following Chinese tradition, the male cub is not named until he is 100 days old; visitors can watch a video feed of the baby panda 24 hours a day via the Panda Cam on the Zoo’s website. For more information, visit www.sandiegozoo.org.
The September 2009 issue of “Dog Fancy” magazine recognized San Diego as “America’s best big city for dogs.” Based on reader nominations, San Diego was awarded this recognition for the presence of dog-friendly activities, restaurants, businesses, dog parks, medical specialists, pro-dog legislation and other criteria. For more information, visit www.dogchannel.com.
In other travel news out of San Diego, the 14-story, 240-room Residence Inn San Diego Downtown/Gaslamp Quarter opens this month in downtown San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. Providing a residential feel with a strong sense of comfort, guestrooms will feature all the amenities of home including a fully-equipped kitchen and pantry with a refrigerator, microwave, stovetop, dishwasher, cleaning supplies, dining and cooking sets and grocery shopping service.
Other hotel features will include 1,305-sq. ft. of meeting space, complimentary breakfast daily, pet-friendly guestrooms, a rooftop pool, fitness center, full-service lounge, complimentary high-speed internet and Bar Vie, a full-service bar with a dinner menu.
For more information, visit www.marriott.com.
Coming in April, the Cosmopolitan Hotel will open in Old Town State Historic Park in a historic building dating back to 1827. www.fiestadereyes.com.