There really isn’t a best time to go to the San Diego Zoo since it depends on what you want to see. If you go early in the morning when the opening bell rings you can see many of the wildlife eating. Such is the case with the big cats and the bears, basically all the bigger animals. If you want to see them sleeping, afternoon is best. Many of them then became active again as dusk arrives. The middle of the day is best for shows and to see Zoo ambassadors walking around with their handlers.
I enjoy going in the morning, usually 9:00 a.m. to noon. I find that it is less crowded, the animals are up and about wondering why their food is late, and the red-cheeked gibbons in Monkey Trails can be heard all the way to the Zoo entrance.
Although the San Diego Zoo says that these are red-cheeked gibbons, apparently that name as fallen out of favor as geneticists explore the genomes of wildlife throughout the world. They more properly are known as yellow-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus gabriellae) and are native to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
Female yellow-cheeked gibbons are blonde in color while the males are black. Baby yellow-cheeked gibbons, boy or girl, are yellow or blonde to match the mother. The color changes to black like the adult males within a few months although females turn back to the blonde coloration when they mature.
Gibbons are lesser apes, as opposed to monkeys and the great apes like gorillas and orangutans. Monkeys have tails whereas all apes are tailless. All gibbons display pair-bonding, unlike most great apes, and are masters of brachiation, i.e., swinging from branch to branch for distances of up to 50 feet at speeds as high as 34 mph. They also make leaps of up to 26 feet and can walk bipedally, with their arms raised for balance.
Just for you, I spent time with our two yellow-cheeked gibbons and got nine videos. I then edited them into one great 54-second video so you can hear and see these amazing apes. Gotta turn the sound up on your speakers.
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