My Mom was in town last weekend so we decided to head over to Escondido to check out the Wild Animal Park. It was a really cool experience. The main purpose of the park is to give the animals a natural habitat to live and reproduce outside of the San Diego Zoo. The parks existence has helped many animals from becoming extinct and has served as an excellent resource for animal research.
You have several options once inside the park depending on the experience you are looking for and the amount of money you want to spend. We opted for the best value tickets which included a Journey into Africa tour ride. The tour was an amazing expedition into some of the field exhibits, allowing us the chance to see the animals on a closer level. I was surprised to see such diverse animals living side by side in the same exhibits. Furthermore, I was even more surprised to see their predators lurking in exhibits adjacent to them. The tour guide explained to us that many of the animals are released back into the wild so in order to keep them alert, they have their predators just close enough to smell. In the slide show you can see the different animals co-existing, which is unlike what you see at the majority of zoos.
The Wild Animal Park was a wonderful experience and I would definitely recommend it. For more information about the park visit San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park.
In between graduation and moving out to San Diego I ran numerous clinics with my former coach from the University of Richmond, Sue Murphy, and several of my teammates. As Ive said before, my summer was jam packed with lacrosse mostly because of these clinics. We held clinics in Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut and New York and every stop was a great time. After spending my entire summer on the road, I let Sue know my time as Assistant Camp Director was done until I received a call a couple months ago and what do you know, Im back on board for one more clinic with Premier Lacrosse but this time Sue was coming to me. I am the youngest of a Richmond lax crew that lives and coaches lacrosse in San Diego so we rounded up the troops and planned a big reunion weekend.
On Thursday, Sue and her assistant coach, Allison Nuzzi, who also serves as one of my best friends, were welcomed to San Diego by six former Spiders and the fun started from there. My teammates and I are like sisters and when you put two of us, let alone seven of us, in one place you are destined for a good time and lots of trips down memory lane. So the seven of us and our former coach took San Diego by storm. We went hiking, shopping, site seeing, dabbled in the night life a bit, and of course ran a coaches and players clinic.
Both clinics were a huge success despite the buckets of rain that poured down on us from the minute we stepped on the field. I, of course, confidently told our east coast visitors that it never rains in San Diego and boy was I wrong. A little rain never hurt anybody though and thankfully both the coaches and players were troopers through it all. I was hoping to get some pictures and footage of the clinic, but being that I was ringing out my clothing I am pretty sure my camera would not have survived, so I apologize for that.
We had about 15 coaches for the 90 players that signed up for the clinic, which was great. The coaches clinic ran from 9-12 a.m. filled with discussion on drills, philosophies and strategies. The players clinic ran from 1-5 p.m., four hours filled with instruction, play and demos by the staff. Each Richmond alumni was in charge of a group of about 15 girls for station work. We taught the girls everything we could in the amount of time we were allotted and from the response we received it seemed as though every player learned a lot. It was helpful that we had so many staff members on the same page seeing as though we played for the same coach at the same program for years. In between coaching sessions we brought everyone to one cage where the staff would put on a demo showing what we were going to teach next. Needless to say, we all loved playing together again, so much so that Sue had to pretty much drag us out of the demo and force us back to our stations. As much as we enjoyed doing demos though, it was also really helpful for the players to watch the skills we were teaching before attempting them for themselves.
All in all, a lot was learned without fun being spared by the players, coaches, and staff involved in Sue Murphys Premier Lacrosse Clinic. It was a wonderful weekend and Im already pondering when and where the next clinic will be. Good times!
Here are some pictures a friend of mine took from Black's Beach Wednesday. This weeks breakers were the result of a storm center thousands of miles away in the Pacific Ocean and West Coast beaches have been crowded ever since.
Everything was normal about Wednesday until I found myself sitting in the dark with my eyes fixated on a black screen and my hands frozen on the keyboard. I turned around to find Toby and Geoff with similar looks of, Did I do that? written on their faces. So we waited, as if God was going to tell us what happened, but instead Bob, who runs the building, came around announcing that the power was out and wouldnt be back on until after 5 p.m. It just so happens that Wednesday also brought the biggest waves San Diego had seen in a while. So I said goodbye to my dark office and high-tailed it over to Torrey Pines State Reserve to check out the waves and go hiking.
I hadnt been to Torrey Pines State Reserve in two years, so I was excited about my excursion. After parking the car in the crowded lot, which was full of people checking out the waves themselves, I trekked up the hill into the park. I decided to venture through the North Grove Guy Fleming Trail, a 2/3-mile loop with ocean vistas, sandstone formations and great scenery. The trail wound around to the ocean where I took lots of pictures of the crashing waves from an aerial view. I finished up my hike and headed back down to the beach and, luckily, was in time for a gorgeous sunset. I sat on a bench and snapped some pictures as the sun went down. This is why I love San Diego.
Check out the video of my Wednesday afternoon excursion.
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Last Saturday I kicked off my return to an active lifestyle by heading over to the San Diego Zoo for the Walk on the Wild Side 5k walk. I had yet to visit the world-renowned zoo so it was a great opportunity to experience a new place and kick off my active lifestyle, all in one day.
I was excited to start my new training and rehabilitation plan, but didnt realize how excited until the weekend of the Walk on the Wild Side. The night before the walk felt similar to a night before a game --maybe not to the same level, but I was definitely feeling the anticipation and energy. Saturday morning I woke up before my alarm and jumped out of bed, just like I did on game days in college. This is worth noting because I am the farthest thing from a morning person. I stretched and did some physical therapy exercises for my back for about 30 minutes. I never thought I would have to prepare my body for 30 minutes to walk three miles, but thats life. I left the house mentally and physically prepared to take on the days events.
The walk started on Zoo Drive, and took us on a unique trip before the zoo opened to the public. At the start, I laughed to myself thinking about how mentally focused and psyched up I was standing at the starting line. For the past five years Id been preparing myself that way and apparently I approached the walk in the same manner. No harm done, but definitely amusing considering the difference between a Division I college lacrosse game and a 5k walk around the zoo.
We walked past several different animal exhibits on our route, but my favorite was the panda bear exhibit. The San Diego Zoo has four pandas on-site, the largest population of pandas in the United States. Its hard to believe that these beautiful pandas are the most endangered bear species in the world. I was glad to hear that the Zoological Society continues to do its best to help the pandas and many other animals on the verge of extinction.
It was a great day and Im thrilled I had the chance to experience the San Diego Zoo by exercising and raising money for the Zoological Society. I am not sure what my next event will be at this point, but I am sure Ill treat it like a game day just like this one.
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