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San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

star-4.5
1,023 Reviews
Open daily 9am - 5pm, hours extended in some months
2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA, 92101

The Basics

The San Diego Zoo is nestled in Balboa Park, a 1,200-acre (486-hectare) urban park filled with loads of cultural and other attractions. Purchase admission tickets to San Diego Zoo in advance and in conjunction with other Balboa Park sights to avoid lines, or with transportation within San Diego or nearby parts of Southern California. Once inside, travelers typically explore the zoo’s bioclimatic zones and exhibits independently or take the 35-minute guided bus tour for an overview of the space. Free shows and presentations are offered throughout the day, while other experiences, including the 4-D theater and carousel, have additional fees to access. Many visitors combine a visit to the zoo with a trip to the San Diego Safari Park, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) away.

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Recent reviews from experiences in San Diego

star-5
Awesome Hop On Trolley
Rita, May 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
The whole experience was great. Clean trolleys, great knowledgeable tour guides and lots of stops at historical points of interest. Loved it!
star-5
Excellent!
Hope_R, May 2021
San Diego Zoo and Safari Park 2-Visit Pass Ticket
The San Diego Zoo was the best zoo trip I have ever experienced! The only downside was we didn’t get to see the Penguins..
star-5
Great time
Mike_M, May 2021
San Diego Zoo and Safari Park 2-Visit Pass Ticket
The zoo was very clean and the staff friendly and very helpful. Animals seemed to be healthy and content in they're habitats
star-5
Best experience
Christina, Apr 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
It was such a beautiful tour of the city. Runs every 30min due to Covid-19. The conductor was so energetic and that made the experience much more worthwhile.
star-5
Fun day!
Moena_A, Apr 2021
San Diego Zoo and Safari Park 2-Visit Pass Ticket
Weather and service was great. Cleanliness of the zoo was very good. Felt very comfortable with mask requirement. The food was very good.
star-5
Fun time
Carl_A, Jun 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
Loved everything about it . Great way to see San Diego. Loved our tour guide Gumby. He was friendly and fun.
star-4
Great!
Elisabeth_F, Jun 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
The people were very nice and have a wonderful overview of everything. Only complaint I have is there was nothing that I found that gave you instructions where to catch the trolley. So at the first place you board its very difficult to find where you need to catch the trolley. Took us a bit to get everything figured out and find someone that knew where we needed to go. Otherwise excellent.
star-5
See San Diego
WmDan_M, May 2021
San Diego GPS Talking GoCar: Best Value - All Day for the Price of 5 Hours
Take your time, relax, and see San Diego. Well done and stress free Fun Day it wants me to type more so now I’m changing this to everything was awesome but the review process.
star-5
Excellent tour!!
Mechelle_K, Jun 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
Rodney was excellent and the tour was excellent! Very interesting information and great route. So many great places to see.
star-4
Informative but doesn’t stop at the zoo.
vicki, Jun 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
Love the tour except we wrongly assumed the trolley would at least get us close to the entrance of the zoo. We are older and has to walk a long way to get to the zoo. The buses weren’t operating at the zoo either so we ended up walking 5 miles. When we got to the trolley stop at Balboa Park, we had to wait an hour for an empty trolley to pick us up, only after I called to complain.
star-5
Fun experience
Darsy_G, Jun 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
Loved everything about this experience. The tour guides were very knowledgeable, friendly and entertaining. Would definitely do it all over again. Highly recommend. You won’t regret it.
star-4
Good way to spend a day
Amy_B, Jun 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
Enjoyed getting to know more about San Diego. Tour guides were knowledgeable and entertaining. Liked getting in and off when we wanted.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Most visitors spend three to four hours at the zoo.

  • The zoo offers services such as fee-based wheelchair rentals and free shuttle bus service for travelers with limited mobility.

  • As the San Diego sun is typically shining, it’s best to wear sunscreen if you plan to be outdoors for most of the day.

  • Fee-based stroller and locker rentals are offered.

  • Those with kids can head to the Children’s Zoo to spend time at the Petting Paddock.

  • Free Wi-Fi is available in the zoo and throughout Balboa Park.

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How to Get There

The San Diego Zoo is located in the northwestern corner of Balboa Park, near the San Diego Museum of Art. Parking is plentiful and free, but note that lots can fill on weekends. Once inside, you can walk, take a bus, or take the Skyfari cable car to easily get around the zoo.

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When to Get There

The zoo is open daily, typically from 9am to 5 or 6pm depending on the season. The best time to visit is in the morning, when the animals are most active. Feedings often also take place at this time. To avoid crowds, try to visit on a weekday.

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Can’t-Miss Sights at the San Diego Zoo

Highlights include the Tiger River bioclimatic exhibit, which realistically re-creates an Asian rain forest environment, and Gorilla Tropics, which does the same with an African rain forest. The koalas are some of the most popular animals to see—and the zoo says theirs is the largest colony outside of Australia. Polar bears and rare giant pandas are other favorites, as is the Absolutely Apes habitat, which has orangutans and siamangs climbing in lush forests. Finally, don’t miss the African Rock Kopje, where klipspringers (small antelopes) dash around the rocky landscape.

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