It might be a stretch to call this a road trip since it was not even 15 miles round trip, but the zoo is a place we have had limited access to over the last 18 months, and we were able to grab tickets (free, since we’re members, but required nonetheless as they control numbers) for Sunday afternoon. So, our road trip for the weekend was perhaps the shortest we’ll ever do, to the Oakland Zoo!
We did not really have any plan, and since it was after lunchtime, we had no reason to eat there, although both the cafe near the entrance at the new one at the top gondola station were open and serving food. Both had outdoor dining locations as well.
Our initial plan had been to head up to the California Trail, the section of the zoo at the top of the gondola. When we reached the entrance to the lower station though the line wrapped all the way around to the camel exhibit. A quick change of plan, lead us around the camels, lions, elephants, zebras, hyenas and meerkats for the first loop.
Back at the lower gondola station, the line was still almost as long, so we turned right at the African savannah (giraffes, elands and geese) and walked down towards the children’s zoo via the warthogs and baboons. Entering the children’s zoo via the dirt trail alongside the rabbits, we quickly decided that the bug house was too crowded for us to feel comfortable with two young children (not eligible for the COVD vaccine yet), and opted for only outdoor spaces.
Heading out of the children’s zoo via the alligators, otters, lemurs and tortoises, we stopped on the large grass picnic area for snacks. Then on past the macaws, squirrel monkeys, chimpanzees, white handed gibbons, siamangs and the sun bears, back up to the main entrance and flamingo exhibit.
Finally, with the line a little shorter, we waited for a gondola to take us to the California Trail. This is the zoo’s newest area, and is home to animals primarily from the western US, like black and brown bears, wolves and the mighty condor.
First up on the wooden trail are the eagles, then the previously secretive wolves who seem much happier being out and about in their enclosure now and were clearly visible from the walkway, although still quite distant. The condor, jaguar, and mountain lion are also along the path. The two large exhibits belong to the bears. The first, and easily the largest, is home to the four grizzly bears. Cubs when they arrived, they have certainly grown a lot in the time since we last saw them. The black bears, a pair of cubs and their mother, do not seem to have grown so much, but they were also more distant in their space so perhaps that is not fair.
It wouldn’t be a road trip report without the car stats, but the main reason I included this one the series was because the trip was so short. More typical perhaps of a commute distance, although one look at the average speed we achieved will tell you it certainly was not representative of the typical commute traffic.
The zoo is located near the top of the Oakland hills, so the outbound journey was a net gain in altitude of some 350 feet according to Google Earth (to the exact spot we parked in). Of course, on the way home we zeroed that back out. That consumption average of 3.1 miles per kWh is similar to the number we get on much longer trips; better than we’ve had on some, but the air conditioning was not working as hard this weekend.
On errands around Alameda, I rarely get close to that number, but the freeway segment of the trip allowed the car to stretch its legs and, as I have noted before, the Taycan really seems to be happier (and more efficient) at higher speeds. Also notable, we used Sport mode for the return trip this time, and as I have previously observed with Normal vs Range mode, it seems to have little, if any, impact on the efficiency. It did make joining the freeway just after we left the zoo a lot more fun for the kids 😀.