Arizona Daily Star from Tucson, Arizona on June 23, 1991 · Page 67
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Arizona Daily Star from Tucson, Arizona · Page 67

Tucson, Arizona
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 23, 1991
Page 67
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fjfre Affeana Bettlg Star Tucson, Sunday, June 23, 1991 Savvy traveler 3H Travel trivia 6H Millions find San Diego is irresistible By Andy Dabilis Boston Globe U 0 SAN DIEGO When we arrived in late August, it was about 82 degrees under a cloudless sky with a light breeze and low humidity. "Is it this way all the time?" a resident was asked. "Except for when it rains," he said. "When is that?" "Let's see," he paused. "Last time was in 1985 or 1986," and he smiled. It's only a slight exaggeration and a bit of a sore spot, ironically, because the city has been in a drought for four years. But San Diego advertises itself as the city with the most perfect weather in the country, and it just may have it. Tucked against the Pacific Ocean in the southernmost part of California, at the far end of the fastest-growing area in the country, butting up against Tijuana, Mexico, and a 90-minute coastal train ride from Los Angeles Anaheim, this is the place the brochures describe as "Just Another Beautiful Day." High temperatures average 64 to 77 with lows 45 to 65. And no rain. San Diego was the middle stop of a Still overshadowed by its northern neighbors, Los Angeles and San Francisco, San Diego has a different attitude, less rushed than even laid-back Hollywood. two-week trip to California with a 13-year-old daughter and her 12-year-old friend in tow, after the Disneyland-Los Angeles area and before San Francisco, and it was the most relaxing. You'd expect this for a city that was the locale for the lazy beach area where David Janssen, as the television private detective "Harry 0," worked endlessly on a drydocked sailboat named The Answer. More contemporary TV watchers might remember it was the home base for "Simon and Simon." Still overshadowed by its northern neighbors, Los Angeles and San Francisco, San Diego has a different attitude, less rushed than even laid-back Hollywood. It's also lovelier, less crowded and less polluted. And it's hard to keep people interested in work when there are 70 miles of beaches for swimming and surfing from the city up a lolling coast of rocks and sandy beaches such as Mission and Pacific, to La Jolla, the sweet small city where Raymond Chandler lived and wrote Philip Marlowe novels, to the roaring tide of Oceanside, past vest-pocket beaches where surfer dudes slipped between wrote Philip Marlowe novels, to the roaring tide of Oceanside, past vest-pocket beaches where surfer dudes pier posts and were hanging five and 10. The city sleeps against its harbor, which is home to thousands of pleasure boats with bobbing masts, and to huge ships of the U.S. Navy, a coastline that is -('ure-perfect and a place where you can stroll in shirt-sleeves and shorts, stopping in more trendy areas such as Seaport Village, a kind of Southern Californian version of Boston's Quincy Market area with shops, boutiques and restaurants. There are a lot of easy attractions and a Mexican flavor to the city, where you can take a trolley for $2 straight down to Tijuana, but be prepared for numbing poverty and big-league tawdry that makes the cheap shopping seem less worthwhile. But San Diego is an ideal spot for a family vacation because it is home to Sea World, where a killer whale leaps from a huge tank to splash (thoroughly) anyone in the first few rows. The famous San Diego Zoo has about 1,000 animals. Both Sea World and the zoo are places where you can spend a full day and not see everything. There is also the wild-animal park where you can ride through and see animals roaming instead of in cages. There is a slightly homogenized version of early San Diego in the area known as Old Town, but it's still a place where you can perambulate through some genuine buildings and homes that depict San Diego at its earliest days, and a place for real Mexican food that will have you spitting out some of the stuff you get at chain varieties in the Northeast At all places, it's best to arrive early, wear good walking shoes, bring suntan lotion and a hat because of that omnipresent sun, and take a few minutes to look over maps and plan your itinerary. Disneyland and the Los Angeles area's amusement park Six Flags, home of the 170-foot-high, 70-mile-per-hour upside down Viper rollercoaster, are better known, but San Diego, for the most part, really is as those chamber of commerce brochures describe. Missing is the kind of vitality you get at cities such as New York, Montreal, Toronto, See SAN DIEGO, Page 2H O - - - j--, city- v"- - . JT V s "Y ft. 'it it"-":' 1 m.:: 1 - Of L M ft r i 'jWViT s Vl, Photos courtesy of Sea World Shamu and his trainer thrill the nighttime crowd In Sea World's 6,500-seat stadium, the largest marine mammal facility in the world fr - rv4- ri - k (It, fill 'ft- A ' ,ss. ; i Brilliantly colored sea life abounds In the fish collection at the theme park's marine aquarium. Sea World is home to the world's largest captive collection of Antarctic birds fin iii i it Tki IP V- v 4' V"'.' h " - - -"V . 1 A x - -f. Moray eel, a variety of long, slippery snakelike fish, live in the caverns of the Forbidden Reef exhibit, which opened in 1990. The exhibit is one of the world's largest displays of eel and bat rays. By George Ridge The Arizona Daily Star At San Diego's theme park of the seven seas, the zoologically acclaimed Sea World, this summer marks the opening of a $5 million stadium dedicated to yet another endangered species: the polka-dot bikini. Yes, the historic '50s are being celebrated in the production of "Beach Blanket Ski Party," a half-hour display of water-ski virtuosity. Meanwhile hidden from public view behind the ski lagoon stands another multimillion-dollar complex made up of clinics and labs. Back here, the survival of the Alaskan sea otter, the Humboldt penguin and even the lowly harbor seal are taken equally as seriously as the '50s saga of Frankie and Annette. The twin facilities point up the widely separated worlds of Sea World, which is recognized and accredited on one hand by the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums and, on the other hand, prospers as the Disneyland of the Deep. Two major ecological success stories are currently being written with the Alaskan sea oners and the Humboldt penguins. The sea otters were brought to the sophisticated facilities of Sea World for intensive medical care and study following the 1989 oil spill in Prince William Sound. Slick, a pup born to victims of the spill, now frolics with her elders. On the other side of the 150-acre park, a 2-week-old Humboldt penguin chick incubated and hand-raised by skilled aviculturists has just received his daily milkshake of vitamins and herring. Sea World may be the last hope of the Humboldt species. These are warm-water penguins, thriving for centuries in the mild latitudes off Peru. The Humboldts major food source, anchovies, has been overfished. Guano, used for their nests, is harvested for fertilizer. While these skilled handlers work with offspring of other rescued species, out front, a '57 Chevy mounted on water skis "drives" around a floating stage to the cheers of 4,500 spectators. A slightly larger crowd will be on hand at Shamu Stadium, the largest single marine zoological display ever constructed. For 25 years, these killer whales have provided the theme for Sea World. They live in three main pools containing 5 million gallons of continually cleaned and filtered seawater. "Beach Blanket Ski Party" has been billed as an intimate show since most of the action takes place in a small arc directly in front of the crowd. The performance is choreographed around an island stage and has the semblance of a plot Don Ludwig, Sea World's vice president in charge of entertainment, has put together a package containing not only water-ski acrobatics but motorized surfboards, hydrofoil chairs, waverunners and three boats resembling cars (the '57 Chevy, a 1928 Ford and a dune buggy). Like all shows at Sea World, the water-skiers will perform several times daily. Another program to greet visitors this summer is the nocturnal package, which includes fireworks and a laser show along the banks of Mission Bay. The park will stay open until 11 p.m. through Labor Day. Nighttime entertainment includes figure skating and evening performances by killer whales and sea lions. There is little question that Baby Shamu, the young killer whale, has captured the imagination of Sea World visitors. Her progress has been followed with affection since a fall afternoon in 1988 when 1,500 people witnessed her history-making birth. Now the "Small Wonders" show draws attention to Sea World's growing reputation for breeding in captivity. "You might say this is a base camp for future environmental disasters," said Joop Kuhn while feeding a Magellanic penguin chick in the working labs behind the Penguin Encounter building. "It's been a good year with penguins," he adds. Among the endangered Humboldt species alone, 12 chicks have hatched since January and 1 1 eggs are incubating. Humboldt penguins typically lay two eggs, but the parents rarely are successful at raising both chicks. So one of the eggs is artifically incubated and the chick Is hand-raised. There are no penguins in the wild north of the equator, but the Humboldts seem to thrive in San Diego's climate and a colony is emerging on the Sea World shores of Mission Bay. Being less social than other penguins and also adapted to warmer weather, the Humboldts reside in a pen behind the main display building, where temperature and even the intensity of the lighting is controlled by See SEA WORLD, Page 2H t

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