Hometown Animal Care | The San Diego alligator lizard is the color of clay and sand. The light-green anole lizard looks like a skinny, four-legged lime. One is a low-key native that can turn up anywhere from your favorite nature road to your kitchen sink. The other is an exotic interloper from the southeastern United States that has established colonies in Balboa Park and Temecula.
One belongs here and the other doesn't, which constructs both of them perfect for the Living Coast Discovery Center'snewest exhibit. It is called " Back to Nature ," but its real content "couldve been"," Welcome home, San Diego ."
" We are the most ecologically diverse county in the continental United States, and that gets overlooked ," mentioned Elizabeth Argyle, the center's education director." We get so sucked into our lives. We're going from work to school, we're on our phones or in our automobiles, and we really miss all that San Diego has to offer. We crave this exhibit to get people plugged back into nature ."
Whether it is" The Song of the Rackety Parrots" or" The Sea Turtles' Greatest Hits ," here is a guide to the Living Coast Discovery Center's unplugged suffer. Turn it up!
Back to Nature 101
Formerly known at the Chula Vista Nature Center, Living Coast is situated only off Interstate 5, at 1000 Gunpowder Point Drive. Park in the free plenty, take the free shuttle bus to the center, and you will find yourself on the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge , home to a host of native chicks, including the endangered light-footed clapper rail.
This wide-open space has been Living Coast's home for 30 times, and the" Back to Nature" exhibit is dedicated to celebrating the center's roots, which are planted in both the San Diego Bay and the urban sprawl that surrounds it.
In that intent, the new exhibit aspects such topics as "Urban Jungle"( animals and plants that have adapted to metropolitan life );" Bayfront Residents"( notable locals like the giant Pacific octopus and the Pacific seahorse ); and "Species Invaders"( permanent "visitors" like the red-crowned Amazon parrot ).
Some of the animals are on loan to Living Coast for this exhibit, while others are longtime residents whose meaning constructs them worth a closer gaze. Together, they make up the globe-trotting menagerie that is" Back to Nature ," which leads through Labor Day.
Meet the invaders
Cautionary narrations don't come any cuter than Living Coast's aquarium filled with red-eared slider turtle. These turtles with the distinctive ruby-red stripes are not native to California, but slew of them live here now. That's what happens when people buy the sliders as pets, then leave them in local ponds when the water-loving reptiles outlive their novelty. Now they are invasive species, contending native animals for meat and territory.
More interlopers await in the outdoor exhibits. There is a cage full of red-crowned Amazon parrots, which are native to Mexico but is capable of being spotted in all areas of the United States. San Diego is home to many of these noisy bands of chicks, and if you drop by the parrot cage at sundown, they will give you an earful.
And there is Verde, a majestic light-green iguana who enjoys hanging out in his enclosure's many sunny spots, shimmying up his clambering arrangements and acting as a living reminder that experimenting a pet before you buy it is one of "the worlds largest" humane things a human can do.
" A plenty of people get these at pet storages because they're small-minded, and then find out they can grow up to be huge animals that need big enclosures, heating lamps and clambering arrangements ," mentioned Rachel Harper, the center's marketing and communications director." Then you'll get people who don't take care of them well, or they just liberate them ."
Your urban jungle
In honor of its 30 th commemoration, Living Coast has a present for you. That would be the Mouse House, a popular exhibit from the center's early days that is back and more efficient than ever. The new version is organized around a see dome, where guests can go eye-to-whisker with the residents of this busy mouse village. The fact that mice might also lives in the walls of your Human House does not make this any less adorable.
Speaking of human-animal coexistence, make time to visit Poe the crow, a salvage bird and Living Coast resident which is available on exhibit for the first time. Poe had been hand-raised by her previous owner, but her solitary situation built her uncomfortable around people and other animals.
She is thriving now, which necessitates the staff members have their work cut out for them. Crows are very intelligent, and they have adapted to urban life by hearing how to open trash bin, realise human faces and transform wire and other scraps into food-hunting tools.
" We're doing a lot of enrichment with her ," Argyle mentioned." Crows get bored easily. And like infants, when they get bored, they get into difficulty ."
Thrills, big and small
No day at the Discovery Center is complete without stops at the giant Pacific octopus aquarium and Turtle Lagoon. The former is the home to Penelope, the latest in a line of Living Coast octopi to enthrall bunch by changing colouring and playing with liquid toy. The latter is dwelling to two imperiled Eastern Pacific light-green sea turtles, whose daily 2 p.m. feedings will render you the rare suffer of watching turtles bobbling for broccoli.
At some phase during your excursion, make sure to look up. And down. Look up, and you'll learn the cliff swallows, who are making their yearly return to build their dirt nests for the purposes of the eaves of the main building. Look down, and you'll learn baby lizards in the clay and intricately differentiated harlequin beetles on the bladderpod plant near the picnic area.
Keep an eye on the future at the under-construction Native Pollinator Garden, where the center hopes to give a boost to the rapidly slumping bee population. And before "theres going", take a moment for yourself. This is your home, too.
" We have all of these animals here, but you can just sit on our deck or go out to the refuge and only gaze and listen and let the natural environment surround you ," Harper mentioned." It's very meditative ."
If you go to the Living Coast Discovery Center ...
Where : 1000 Gunpowder Point Drive, Chula Vista
Hours : 10 a.m. to 5 p. m. daily
Admission : Adults and children 13 and older, $16; infants ages 3 to 12, $11; and child development ages 2 and under, free
Parking : Free, with free shuttles to the center
Knowledge: Call (619) 409-5900 or go online to thelivingcoast.org
Source : sandiegouniontribune.com