San Diego Zoo

Visit one of the most popular San Diego Attractions – The San Diego Zoo

The world-famous San Diego Zoo is a must for any Southern California adventure! The Zoo is located in Balboa Park in beautiful San Diego. The Zoo is 100 acres and is home to 4,000 animals and has a botanical collection with more than 700,000 exotic plants.

In August 1999 the first giant panda was born in North America to survive to adulthood. She has since been returned to China (all pandas are only on loan to zoos and must be sent home after a period of time) but the Zoo currently has five giant pandas in residence. But, in October of 2009 Mei Sheng needs to go back to China so come and see him before he heads back to China. The zoo has a Giant Panda Team stay here in order to observe the actions for research purposes. The Giant Panda Discovery Center is located nearby. This area includes a climb-in panda den, interactive exhibits, and a chance to find out what a panda sounds and smells like.

The Polar Bear exhibit, Polar Bear Plunge, is one of the largest polar bear exhibits in the world. These are just a couple of the amazing exhibits available at the Zoo.

Zoo Tour

You can take a two-hour tour to get a view of how the animals are taken care of by their keepers. The group will be small (maximum 7) which will take you in a VIP cart and visit off-exhibit areas. There is a cost of $70 per person plus Zoo admission for this tour (children under 3 are free). Another opportunity for a tour is the Discovery Tour which lasts about an hour. It has a guide that will tell you about the plans and animals at the Zoo as you ride in the shuttle cart. This tour has no more than 10 people per tour. The tour covers 70 percent of the zoo and drops you off at one of the show areas where you will have preferred seating. The cost for this tour is $39 per person plus the admission to the Zoo. (Children under 3 riding on the lap of a paid adult are free – one child per paid adult).

You can visit the Lion and Jaguar Habitat and see the king of beasts and next door see the jaguar as it prowls a marshy wetland habitat with rocks, trees, large branches, and a stream that flows into a pond. The Elephant Habitate has been enlarged to encompass 2.4 acres which is home to the seven elephants that live at the Zoo. Six are Asian and one is African. They have several pools and several specially designed “utilitrees” which provide shade, food and treats for them. Regular live trees wouldn’t survive long, the elephants would mow them right over.

About the San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is one of the San Diego Things to Do that most tourists consider a must-visit. The Zoo is renowned across the country as a premier facility for education and entertainment and offers opportunities to view rare animals and beautiful flora. The San Diego Zoo sits in San Diego’s Balboa Park, which is one of the top San Diego Attractions in its own right. You’ll be able to spy beautiful animals from all over the world at the San Diego Zoo.

Why Visit San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is a place where San Diego visitors of all ages can have fun, learn, and enjoy the beautiful San Diego weather. The Zoo is located in downtown San Diego,  and near other popular San Diego Attractions like Museums in San Diego and stunning botanical gardens in Balboa Park.

At the San Diego Zoo, you’ll be able to view animals representing Africa, Australia, North America, and other parts of the globe – more than 3,700 creatures in total! There are more than 650 species that call the Zoo home, all roaming in habitats that are very close to their natural environments in the wild.

The San Diego Zoo is one of the only San Diego Attractions where you’ll get to spy rare specimens. Of course, the biggest San Diego Museums offer opportunities to view rare art. But, when you want to see animals, you’ll need to head to the San Diego Zoo. Get ready to discover exciting mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, and so much more.

Tips for Visiting San Diego Zoo

  • The San Diego Zoo presents animals in cageless exhibits, with expansive areas for them to roam. Bring your camera and enjoy taking pictures in the natural settings that the elephants, buffaloes, otters, tigers, mountain lions, clouded leopards, and wombats call home.
  • The animals at the San Diego Zoo live in habitats that are typically designed for species common to a certain geographical area. It’s often effective to work your way from habitat to habitat, in a well-planned out manner, to make sure that you spot all of the animals from the Arctic to Malaysia.
  • Take the gondola lift at the San Diego Zoo up and over the grounds of the Zoo, and experience an aerial view of the animals and their habitats. You can also ride a tour bus around 75% of the Zoo, past monkeys, forest animals, and more.

Interesting Facts About San Diego Zoo

  • The San Diego Zoo is one of the only zoos to keep a giant panda.
  • The Zoo recently added its popular Koalafornia Adventure exhibit, which is an Australian habitat of native animals and birds.
  • Some of the biggest free-flight aviaries in the world are housed at the San Diego Zoo.

San Diego Zoo Location and Contact Information

Admission: $35 adults $26kids (3-11) Zoo only (Includes unlimited use of Guided Bus Tour, Express Bus, and Skyfari Aerial Tram.) Prices vary according to packages sought. Admission to both Zoo & Wild Animal Park is available.   If you want the 3-1 Pass to see the Zoo, Wild Animal Park, and SeaWorld you can purchase the 3-for-1 pass which is good for unlimited entry for 5 days from first use.

The Zoo is open daily, including all holidays.
Hours: Summer Hours through September 7): 9 a.m.–9 p.m.

Summer/Fall Hours (September 8–October 4): 9 a.m.–6 p.m.

Fall Hours (October 5–December 18): 9 a.m.–5 p.m

Located at 2920 Zoo Drive in Balboa Park, just north of downtown San Diego. Mailing address: P.O. Box 120551, San Diego, CA 92112-0551.

General information: (619) 231-1515


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