San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo photos

General Information

San Diego Zoo peacock

The San Diego Zoo is world famous and rightly so. It has 250,000 members and is managed by the non profit organization, the Zoological Society of San Diego. The zoo is 100-acres in size and houses over 4000 rare & endangered animals.

The large size of the zoo allows each enclosure to be relatively large so the animals have more space. As well, the size of the zoo allows for more space in between each exhibit. This means that the deer are not immediately adjacent to the tigers; and the chirping birds are not right beside the squawking monkeys. Indeed, the San Diego zoo is organized based on habitat and most enclosures are open-air or "cageless" displays. [Photo: peacocks roam freely at the zoo. Bottom image by R Kennison]

San Diego Zoo flamingo nest The success of the zoo can be measured by the happiness of the animals: happy animals mate, have babies, and the babies survive. This is exactly what happens in the San Diego Zoo. Each spring, you can expect to see many baby animals. In fact, one of the reasons why the San Diego zoo is world renown is because it has the largest number of giant pandas in the USA: four of them were born in the zoo. [Photo: Hua Mei, first giant panda born & survived in USA. Flamingo attends nest mounds.]

A large zoo means that you will have to walk a lot: be sure to wear sensible shoes. If the weather is hot (as it often is, in San Diego), be sure to wear sun screen, a hat, and drink plenty of fluids.

San Diego Zoo bus tour

If you want to get an over view of the zoo, take the guided bus tour. This bus takes you around 75% of the zoo. The driver will point out areas of interest and provide you with plenty of information so you can make efficient use of your time at the zoo.

You can also take the SkyRide. This is a suspended gondola which will bring you from one side of the park to the other. It's a fun ride and you can look down and see all the people and buildings. You can't really see the animals from the SkyRide, but it's a fun way to traverse the zoo quickly.

There's a lot to see at the San Diego zoo - so much that after 10 years in San Diego, I still can't say that I've seen everything. However, I can tell you some of the highlights:

During fall and winter months, the zoo is open everyday from 9 am to 5 pm. During the spring & fall months, the zoo is open until 6 pm. During the summer months, the zoo is open until 9 pm: this is called "nighttime" zoo. Nighttime zoo is an exciting way to spend the hot, summer evenings. The zoo is alive with dancing, music bands, jugglers, entertainers, shows, story telling, hula hoop competitions, and a variety of wacky stuff. It's not about seeing animals at night: it's about extending your day into an evening of fun at the zoo.

Hours of Operation (see details)

Spring through June 15
June 16 only
June 17-21
9 am - 6 pm
9 am - 5 pm
9 am - 6 pm
Summer June 22-September 3 9 am - 9 pm
Fall September 4-21
September 22
September 23-October 7
October 8-December 13
9 am - 6 pm
9 am - 5 pm
9 am - 6 pm
9 am - 5 pm
Winter December 14-23
December 24
December 25-31
9 am - 8 pm
9 am - 5 pm
9 am - 8 pm

Prices (see details)
Ticket Adult Child
1-Day Ticket $42 $32
2-Day Ticket
use within a five-day period.
$76 $56
Year Membership $88 (one)
$109 (two)
$39 (under 11)
$43 (over 11)

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