Scripps Aviary: Free flight fun
Scripps Aviary is a lush African rain forest, complete with rushing waterfalls and exotic plants. Look up and you might spot some of the more than 130 colorful African native birds representing about 35 different species. These include bearded barbets, openbill storks, and gold-breasted starlings. A local philanthropist named Ellen Browning Scripps provided the funds to build the “world’s greatest flying cage,” the Scripps Aviary, in 1923. It was remodeled in 1958 and again in 1991.
In the Scripps Aviary, the birds’ free flight is easily accommodated. As you amble through this free-flight enclosure, be sure to stop now and then to sit on the pathway benches. You’ll get a good feel for the flora and fauna you’d see in an African forest—without the man-eating carnivores and poisonous snakes!
The birds here have their own territories and special places within this aviary, with some more comfortable hanging out near the ponds and waterfalls and others preferring to spend their time high up in the trees.
The best time to view the birds is in the morning when they’re most active. If you’re a true bird fancier and plan to spend some time in this aviary, be sure to wear a broad-brimmed hat to protect you from any “deposits” from above!