One of the finest in the world, the San Diego Zoo is a first-class experience. Home to one of the few Giant Panda exhibits the United States, the Zoo takes up 100 acres in Balboa Park. There are over 4,000 animals representing more than 800 species. Some exhibits include exciting interactive experiences! There are 10 restaurants plus snack kiosks, so you certainly won't go hungry. Spend all day-or two-exploring this fun and educational San Diego destination.
Open every day, even holidays.
Hours vary by season, but generally open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in fall and winter, and to 6 p.m. in the summer.
1-day pass is $46 for adults, $36 for children 3 to 11
Albert's Sunday Brunch
Dr. Zoolittle Show
Skyfari aerial tram
Guided bus tour
Ice Age 4D Experience
There are so many cool animal exhibits at the San Diego Zoo! Divided up into Animal Zones, visitors get a sense what sorts of creatures live on different areas of the planet, from Asia to Australia. By far, the most popular place to go is Panda Canyon, home to Chinese giant pandas, which are rare residents of U.S. zoos. Other great stops on your Zoo tour include Elephant Odyssey, the Lost Forest Gorillas, and the Children’s Zoo in Discovery Outpost.
The San Diego Zoo is located in Balboa Park, the country’s largest urban park that’s full of cultural destinations. In addition to the Zoo, there are 15 museums, performing arts venues, and gardens in the Park. The Visitor Center is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day, and is a good place to get started. Kids will love the Park’s Miniature Railroad and the Carousel. San Diegans spend their days playing in the Park’s playgrounds, tennis courts, and activity center, as well as exploring its hiking and biking trails. There are also lots of dining options in Balboa Park.
What should I bring?
It’s always a good idea to wear a hat and sunglasses in San Diego, especially if you’re mostly going to be outside all day as you will be at the Zoo. Apply sunscreen before you arrive and bring more to freshen up throughout the day. Wear comfortable walking shoes, as the Zoo grounds can be hilly. Visitors may carry backpacks and bring their own food-although no coolers, glass containers, alcohol, or straws are allowed. Straws, you say? Yes-sometimes animals get a hold of them, think they’re food, and get sick trying to digest them.
What are the best times to visit?
The Zoo is most busy on weekends, especially during the summer and holidays. If you can, try to get there early and visit during weekdays. Avoid delaying your experience by buying tickets online or at our front desk. Check the schedule in advance for special Zoo events like the Dr. Zoolittle Show and Camp Critters. As always, arrive well before the shows start to claim a good seat. To get a unique view of the Zoo, ride the Skyfari aerial tram or take a guided bus tour.