San Diego Museum of Art, photo courtesy of The San Diego Tribune
The #1 rated zoo in the World by TripAdvisor and is consistently a Travelers Choice Award winner!
The world-famous San Diego Zoo is a must-see when traveling to Southern California. The large, 100-acre park is home to over 4,000 rare and endangered animals from around the world, including pandas, koalas, tigers, polar bears, and more. The park also boasts a botanical collection of more than 700,000 exotic plants.
Gorillas at the San Diego Zoo - photo courtesy Smart Destinations
Plan on going early and avoid the busiest times to increase your chances of seeing the animals when they’re most active, which is during the day before the temperature rises. So, plan on spending a full day at The San Diego Zoo. Stay hydrated by bringing a water bottle and filling up at the various water fountains. Wear sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes and maybe a picnic basket, as the park allows outside food to be brought in.
Below are just a few must-see exhibits at The San Diego Zoo:
Penguins in Africa Rocks at the San Diego Zoo - photo courtesy Smart Destinations
Africa Rocks has six new habitats that span 8 acres dedicated to African plants and animal species, including including African penguins, baboons, lemurs, and more.
- CAPE FYNBOS
- MADAGASCAR FOREST
- ETHIOPIAN HIGHLANDS
- WEST AFRICAN FOREST
- ACACIA WOODLAND
Polar Bear in Northern Frontier at the San Diego Zoo - photo courtesy Smart Destinations
If you love polar bears, the Northern Frontier exhibit is a must-see. You will also see a snow white fox frolicing and caribou meandering. Of course you will also see polar bears swimming or playing in the underwater viewing area. During the Keeper Talk (daily, 1:00 pm) you can learn about the unique maned wolf species and see the animals do enrichment exercises.
Guided Bus Tours
Guided Bus Tours at the San Diego Zoo - photo courtesy Smart Destinations
Go on the guided bus tour early in the day and follow along on your map and discover the zoo’s layout as you go. The double-decker bus is fun with a narrated tour of the zoo, see highlights and popular exhibits.
Elephant Odyssey at the San Diego Zoo - photo courtesy Smart Destinations
In the Elephant Odyssey, you will learn how the zoo cares for the elephants and watch them roam in their large landscapes, amongst other animals, like large birds, lions, meerkats, and more. As you'll see, this exhibit also features other California-native animals of the past and present. The Keeper Talk (daily, 2:30 pm) will conduct enrichment programs with lions or jaguars.
Get San Diego Zoo Tickets
San Diego Zoo admission is available with the below money saving options, so you choose the attraction pass that’s right for you:
1. All-Inclusive Pass: All you can do. Includes admission to the Zoo plus 40+ attractions.
2. Build Your Own Pass: Choose San Diego Zoo tickets + any other attractions you want to visit and save.
See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.
Start planning your zoo day today!
Don't forget to book your transportation. Request to book transportation >