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San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

star-4.5
1,039 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-4
Great tour to introduce San Diego
Nancy_O, Jun 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
Scooter was a great tour guide. I enjoyed the sites of San Diego. Be prepared to wait longer to get back on the trolly when you get off if it is a weekend day in summer. Bring Umbrella while waiting for trolly so you don’t get a sunburn. Bring water so you don’t dehydrate.
star-5
Great day in San Diego!
Elena_G, Jun 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
Tour guides were very knowledgeable and entertaining. Drop off spots were in great locations. A good way to spend the day.
star-5
Excellent
Richard_H, Jun 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
The drivers were great. Informative & funny. We got to a couple of stops the trolley was full & no one was getting off. The driver called dispatch and there was a empty trolley there in 5 minutes. Great service. Highly recommend the Hop On Hop Off.
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
View From a Trolly
Yvonne_G, Jun 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
Very informative. Tour guide knew about things that were not just part of the tour. Great insight to the area. Recommend this as part of your San Diego Journey.
star-5
Nice ride
Robin_H, Jun 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
First time visiting San Diego and wanted to make the most of our short time here. This tour will get you to numerous stops in one day. Highly recommend. You can stay on the trolly and not get off - just listen to the guide. I do recommend getting off for the full experience; just catch another - they come along every 30 minutes.
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.

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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