Pitcher Perfect; BASEBALL FANS WILL LAP UP SAN DIEGO Mail Travel Southern California

Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland), August 24, 2008 | Go to article overview

Pitcher Perfect; BASEBALL FANS WILL LAP UP SAN DIEGO Mail Travel Southern California


Byline: By NEIL MURRAY

There's nothing more American than baseball.

So I was really looking forward to seeing the San Diego Padres play the New York Mets at Petco Park in southern California - and I wasn't disappointed.

I don't know much about the game but Mike, a teacher visiting from Las Vegas for the weekend, was quite happy to answer my idiot questions so I soon became a Padres fan.

Of course, it's not just about baseball. There is so much else going on that at times I found it difficult to concentrate on the game. Popcorn and drinks sellers wander up the aisles while a dance competition, a guess-the-attendance contest and hilarious images of the crowd on a giant screen keep everyone entertained between innings.

Not that there is any shortage of fun in San Diego. From its world-famous zoo and SeaWorld to the huge USS Midway aircraft carrier and city trolley tour with accompanying music, it is a great place to visit - and the climate isn't too hot.

At the zoo, I jumped on board a double-decker bus for a 35-minute guided tour, which tells you where the animals are located and which ones are out and about so you can plan your visit.

From mandrill monkeys, clouded leopards and pygmy hippos to giant pandas, crocodiles, tree kangaroos and tortoises, this really is a must-see.

From the zoo, I followed a short path to Balboa Park, where lush gardens and Spanish Golden Age buildings are home to 15 museums and other attractions.

The Air & Space Museum is fascinating, the Hall of Champions Sports Museum is a must for all sports fans, the Reuben H Fleet Science Centre has an IMAX cinema and simulator ride while the Automotive Museum and the Model Railroad Museum are well worth a look.

Even if museums aren't your cup of tea, you will still enjoy the big park.

SeaWorld was my next stop, where I made a beeline for Believe, a show starring killer whales. Dolphin Discovery was fun but I was a bit taken aback to feel the rain - and bugs apparently rushing past my feet - at the indoor 4D show Sesame Street Presents Lights, Camera, Imagination.

I managed to catch Cirque De La Mer, featuring stunning acrobatics over water, before I headed off to San Diego Bay and a tour round USS Midway.

The largest ship in the world for 10 years after she was built in 1945, the 1000ft-long aircraft carrier is now an impressive museum.

The massive flight deck has 22 planes and helicopters, while the hangar below offers the chance to try your skills as a jet pilot on several motion simulators.

It was while I was sipping a drink in the ship's cafe that I saw the controversial 25ft tall, 6000lb sculpture called Unconditional Surrender. …

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