The San Diego Zoo is easily among our top ten list of regular outings. We've paid for the annual membership for a couple years in a row. It's an absolute steal if your family wants to get out on a regular basis but do something a bit more educational than some of the theme park options in our area. And there is a ride! The boys love the Skyfari Aerial Tram (which they call the “trampoline” just to cause confusion). During the park's summer night zoo when the place is open later, we time our visit to skip the afternoon heat and crazy crowds and see the animals when they're re-energized after a mid-day nap.

View from the night zoo skyfari

It makes for some killer sunset views.

Happy Hour at Albert's night zoo

And of course, happy hour!

Happy Hour at Albert's night zoo

I've always wanted to try Albert's, the somewhat upscale sit-down restaurant in the treetop canopies at the heart of the park. Last Friday we hit up their night zoo happy hour menu for some $6 artichoke hearts, sweet potato fries and cocktails.

Kelly Moore camera bag

I made reservations but the place was dead and we were able to score the highly-coveted corner spot by the waterfall. It was such a perfect, quiet dining experience in a nice location – something that isn't often accomplished with three kids!

Kelly Moore camera bag

Kelly Moore sent me their Augusta bag awhile ago and a few people have asked about it since it's been popping up in pictures left-and-right. I am obsessed. It's basically a very nice purse with all sorts of compartments for my phone and necessities (this one's durable vegan material, but they have all-leather options available) with a padded camera insert for shutterbugs. It perfectly fits my Nikon D810, and it's so much more stylish and accessible than camera bags I've used in the past. Thanks to this bad boy, I've been toting my camera with me everywhere without any fuss, nabbing day-to-day out-and-about photos that used to be a hassle to get. As they say, you just need the right tool for the job.

Animals at the San Diego Night Zoo

Game-changer.

Activities at the San Diego Night Zoo

After our late afternoon snack, we meandered our way back to the main entrance by way of the peaceful aviary, tiger walk and monkey trail.

Activities at the San Diego Night Zoo

It's quiet over here, usually uncrowded so the kids have lots of space to get up-close and personal with the animals. Most important, the trail's easy on this pregnant mama. We're trying very, very hard to avoid any more early labor scares and my doctor says that strenuous walks or hikes are a BIG no-no this time around or I could wind up on bed rest.

Must. Resist. Physical activity.

Activities at the San Diego Night Zoo

Making our way back to the entrance area, we discovered that Front Street Stage has a ton of fun stuff going on like “Zoolahoops” and boisterous dancing festivities back-to-back starting at about 6pm.

Activities at the San Diego Night Zoo

The boys, honestly, are SO NOT having it with any of that. They put on their skeptical faces and insist that there will be zero public dancing. Next time we come, though, I think I'm going to have us grab some bites over at Sidney's Grill so they can take in the acrobatics during night zoo's Bouncing Birthday Bash show. The kids are okay with being spectators, and that side of the zoo is really fascinating with the Koalifornia Boardwalk (Dr. Zoolittle puts on a zany show) and the Urban Jungle/Outback area. It's also a heck of a lot easier hike than trying to trek down to the pandas.

Artists at the San Diego Night Zoo

I like to double-check the schedule online before we head out, too. Sometimes they showcase cool artists in the zoo stores. That kind of stuff is admittedly a snoozefest for the boys, but utterly thrilling for an art-lover like myself.

San Diego Zoo Map

What's on your list for this summer? Have you ever experienced night zoo in San Diego or another park?