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San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

Zoo, Park, and Botanical Garden
Balboa Park, San Diego
511 Tips and reviews
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  • Afnan O.
    Afnan OJuly 29, 2016
    A very active and big zoo. You will need water and try walking in the shade. Whenever you do the bus tours make sure you are on the right side of the bus to see most of the animals. My son enjoyed it.
    Upvoted 2 weeks ago
  • ohechoho
    ohechohoJuly 26, 2016
    Impressive conservation efforts. Super knowledgeable staff (be sure to take advantage of the bus tour, sit right upper deck). And of course PANDAS (1 of 4 zoos in US exhibiting pandas) and BIG CATS!
    Upvoted 2 weeks ago
  • Aleso
    AlesoJune 14, 2016
    The zoo design is wonderful you can feel you are actually in the enviorement of the animals you are looking, has several spots to have snacks or even a beer, souvenir shops, kids will love it
    Upvoted 4 weeks ago
  • Jeff S.
    Jeff S.2 weeks ago
    I would put this zoo on my bucket list. I keep going back even though I crossed it off many years ago. You will be amazed at how close you'll see the animals in their surroundings. It's well worth it.
  • Peter C.
    Peter CsanadiOctober 11, 2014
    Been here 50+ times
    Very clean and has the friendliest keepers to answer your questions. Together with the Safari Park it is the best Zoo in the US, if not the world. Wear comfortable shoes. Check the map ahead of time.
  • Natalie S.
    Natalie S.December 22, 2013
    If you can, do the inside look tour. Worth every penny. You get to feed the camels, giraffes and skip the 45 min. Panda line. Staci was our tour guide and she was awesome. You learn a lot.
  • Noel C.
    Noel ClarkeJuly 26, 2016
    I'm not a fan of Zoo's but this one seems to care about the animals and is definitely a zoo where educating the children that visit is something they take seriously. Check it out.
    Upvoted 4 weeks ago
  • Hannah C.
    Hannah CorriveauJanuary 23, 2015
    The animals here are loved and cared for by the best zookeepers in the country. It's a place to go to spend all day or just relax quietly in one of the aviaries after a long day.
  • Konstantin🔒
    Konstantin🔒January 7
    Been here 5+ times
    Your first visit admission ticket may be counted towards your annual pass, which makes sense if you plan to visit at least once again.
    Upvoted 4 weeks ago
  • Dwight Y.
    Dwight YoungDecember 29, 2014
    Best zoo in the world. Nothing else comes close. Well-designed exhibits present animals as they would be in nature. Research and education mission is evident in the information given.
  • Çağrı Mert B.
    Çağrı Mert BakırcıSeptember 7, 2012
    San Diego Zoo is a "must-see" attraction not only in San Diego, but also in the world. It is amazing! The zoo is more than a "zoo". It is also a park that you can have fun and find many things to do!
  • Timmy L.
    Timmy LarsonJuly 14, 2014
    Great zoo! The Kangaroo Bus is to get around faster. The actual tour bus you board near the entrance. If the hippos are sleeping, wait 5 minutes. They'll have to take a breath.
  • Peter C.
    Peter ChinFebruary 21, 2015
    Awesome! Hands down one of the best Zoo's one the west coast (maybe the best). Great layout to get around to see everything and several options for transportation in the park (buses and sky tram).
  • Jenny V M.
    Jenny V Martinez RJanuary 19, 2015
    Excellent park for families to enjoy. The animals healthy and well fed. Recommendation for the bus ride sitting on the right side as the animals look better. Recommended
  • Rachel M.
    Rachel MercerJanuary 30, 2013
    Go on a Monday for the lightest crowds and easiest viewing of the Baby Panda. Many of the animals are most active between 10am and 1pm. Hippo Pool, Panda Canyon, Polar Bears and Gorillas are a must.
  • Mohammed
    MohammedMarch 25, 2016
    Amazing Zoo, take day pass and enjoy unlimited skyfari Aerial tram, guided bus tour, and kangaroo bus.
  • Kimberly Q.
    Kimberly QJune 21, 2015
    Been here 5+ times
    If you're a San Diegan, it's definitely worth getting a season pass! You can bring a guest (with Diamond Level) every time you visit! Great place to bring visitors with no extra expense to you.
  • Gilbert H.
    Gilbert HernandezJuly 28, 2015
    Nice zoo. They have transportation inside the zoo, which is good to move inside. Not recommended in high temperatures in the summer, as animals stay in shades and you can't see them.
  • Ignis Dalini E.
    Ignis Dalini EcheverriSeptember 30, 2013
    Huge, beautiful, one of my greatest places! Hippos, Rhinos, Bears, Elephants, Gorillas, uff!.. Arrive early, don't buy during your visit (to walk free), you can buy yours presents in the exit store.
  • Social N.
    Social News NetworkAugust 14, 2013
    Beautiful, beautiful zoo, but it's gigantic. To fully enjoy the experience, get a two-day pass. Otherwise, you'll end up dragging your feet four or five hours into it. The pandas are a must-see.
  • Kelly M.
    Kelly McQuienNovember 12, 2013
    Go early, soon as the zoo opens. See the pandas, polar bears, koalas, whatever you like most as early as possible. Loved the sky tram, great views!
  • Patricia L.
    Most beautiful place in San Diego, no doubt of that. Go straight to the Polar Bear Plunge and the Panda Trek because they get too crowded.
  • Julia
    JuliaAugust 15, 2013
    You'd better spend the whole day there! There are so many things to do and see. Too many animals, shops, and the summer festival performances. Amazing!!
  • Abdulaziz A.
    Abdulaziz AbdulbaqiAugust 31, 2016
    The best zoo have ever visited, very clean, organized & well managed. Animals looks relaxed and well served. A wonderful place to visit👍🏼
  • Julie C.
    Julie CummingsJanuary 27, 2015
    Head to the Panda exhibit early to miss a long line & to see their morning feeding. Parking is free. Pace yourself because there's lots of walking.... its huge. Best zoo we've ever seen!
  • Lloyd A.
    Lloyd AustinApril 6, 2014
    Always purchase the bus tour that gives you all day access to "Express Buses". Worth every penny, but you still have to do a lot of walking. Strollers ARE allowed on Express Busses. :-)
  • Kacey Dillman C.
    San Diego's Nighttime Zoo China Celebration from 2-9 until September 3 is a really neat experience. It really feels like you are in the jungle and you get to see the animals act differently. Read more
  • Shelley S.
    Shelley SykesOctober 17, 2015
    The month of October, kids are free. This in turn creates lack of parking and hundreds of people. We have come during regulars months and had more enjoyment, less crowds and plenty of parking.
  • Allison S.
    Allison SpivackDecember 24, 2015
    Amazing animals, take the sky tram! So much fun to walk around with friends or on your own and see the animal kingdom.
  • SAAD
    SAADApril 11, 2014
    Welcome to San Diego Zoo! One of the world's most popular zoos. The zoo has Skyfari and offers a guided tour double-decked bus and I highly recommend you to start with it. Enjoy! 🐯👍 Read more
  • Benjamin S.
    Benjamin SzwedaApril 23, 2015
    Pay extra for a behind the scenes tour. Early access panda tour gives access during feeding time before zoo opens. Includes access to parts of zoo normally off limits and golf cart tour of whole zoo.
  • Maina K.
    Maina KhojaJuly 6, 2015
    If you can go in a cool cloudy day you'll see animals in full action. You need a pass for riding the cable cars, hop on/off bus and for feeding giraffes
  • Alyssa G.
    Alyssa GalellaJune 15, 2012
    Take the guided bus tour, it's free with your ticket and you'll see practically the whole place. (Sit on the upper level.) Then you can go back to visit the most interesting parts up close.
  • Hollie B.
    Hollie BenincosaMarch 31, 2013
    Back stage pass is definitely worth it! Pictures with the animals, feeding, education... Not to mention cutsies in the guided tour and express bus lines! And discounts on purchases!
  • Christine B.
    Christine BAugust 7, 2011
    Be sure to feed the giraffes! You need to buy your tickets early at the little hut near the exhibit. $5 gets your 3 biscuits. Spend some extra money to get more's worth it!!!
  • Olga D.
    Olga DinizMarch 10, 2013
    Hop on the bus tour and the skyfari to see most pf the zoo. Use a map to see the animals you like the most, because it's impossible to ser everything in one day!
  • Dawn A.
    Dawn AbbottFebruary 11, 2011
    The Zoo is a wonderful place to take a hike! My husband and I go to either zoo or the wild animal park every weekend for our two hour hike and we always see something unique and amazing!!
  • Bofus T.
    Bofus TeefusOctober 2, 2012
    This guy was a character. Whenever someone would come up with a stroller, he'd take interest. When the stroller would leave, he'd go toward the back of his habitat.
  • S_J L.
    S_J LOctober 8, 2014
    Skyfari tram was great!!!! I've been wanting to come here for a long time :D best zoo ever! Love this place♥ (guided bus tour was also great!!!!!)
  • Tiffany W.
    Tiffany WinmanJuly 1, 2013
    When you get lost in the zoo, don't think that just because the path is leading downhill that you are headed toward the entrance. We ended up at the top of the park near the polar bear exhibit
  • Kelsey W.
    Kelsey WilliamsAugust 4, 2013
    If you take the bus tour sit on the passenger side. Whether seated on the top or the bottom most if not ALL of the exhibits are on the passenger side of the bus Uuuggh!
  • San Diego
    San DiegoJuly 17, 2012
    Take the Skyfari Aerial Tram and give your feet a rest! Ride to the other side of the zoo while taking in views of the zoo and surrounding Balboa Park area.
  • Rosaura R.
    Rosaura RomeroSeptember 13, 2015
    Loved it! So much to see, beautiful place to spend the day. The polar bears made my day :) must see
  • Merve G.
    Merve GoysariSeptember 19, 2014
    The most beautiful zoo i have ever seen! Its huge! You def need the whole day to explore this place! The bus tour and the sky tram thing is a must! ♡
  • Antonia W.
    Antonia WolfJune 14, 2012
    Take the skyride to top of the park and work your way down the hills! It's a great way to save some energy and avoid uphills. Also, the top of the park contains a lot of the most important exhibits.
  • Shermans Travel
    Shermans TravelAugust 9, 2012
    Watch polar bears swim at the Polar Rim exhibit; meet the zoo’s newest panda, or experience an “eye-to-nostril encounter” with massive hippos through the underwater-viewing window in the Lost Forest. Read more
  • Laureen P.
    Laureen PrvFebruary 22, 2013
    Awesome!!! Best zoo I've ever visited. The pandas are worth it. Plus: free parking!!! Go go go!!
  • Shawn W.
    Shawn WhitakerApril 15, 2013
    Take the bus tour after you've walked around for s little- to see all the animals you missed- then you can use the rest of your energy to double back to your favorites
  • Aleksander P.
    Aleksander POctober 25, 2014
    Great too see but don't take the bus tour-it just consumes your time and you do not see anything from it
  • Kailin V.
    Kailin VillamarAugust 13, 2015
    Such a fun place even for an adult. Did one half of the zoo walking and the other half on the trolley, took us about 3.5 hours. So many monkeys!!!
  • Ninja C.
    Ninja CentralAugust 19, 2014
    The best zoo in the world! Bring your own food and drink coz it's expensive here and the food sucks! It's only worth paying for a soft serve ice cream. ;)
  • Richard R.
    Richard RevillaMay 19, 2015
    Free parking. Simply the best zoo and amazing botanical collection throughout the park.
  • Michele D.
    Michele DavidsonOctober 7, 2016
    Staff friendly clean well kept loved bears gorillas the most but everything was great!meed the whole day! Bring water & snacks is expensive
  • Shannon D.
    Shannon DonnellyJanuary 20, 2015
    Went on a weekday morning, the zoo was totally empty, the animals were very lively. Great time
  • Marie S.
    Marie SOctober 16, 2012
    Best zoo ever! Go spend some time watching the Zebras!! They are my favorites. Pandas are also super cute!!
  • House of Blues San Diego
    House of Blues San DiegoOctober 28, 2011
    Are in from out of town and checking out those adorable Pandas? Come to House of Blues San Diego for lunch or dinner! Just 5 minutes away in Downtown San Diego.
  • The Weather Channel M.
    For an African safari experience, try the Safari Park (www.sdzsafaripark), the zoo’s sister attraction located in Escondido (about 25 miles from the zoo): Lion Camp, Elephant Overlook, Hidden Jungle
  • Jordana U.
    Jordana UmannFebruary 20, 2012
    that is a good place for you know before you leave SD. Have a lot of animals, have a place for you eat and enjoy with yours friends and family!!
  • Rob V.
    Rob VernonJuly 12, 2015
    If you can find Julio, one of the caricature artists, he is the best! Very nice and did a great drawing!
  • Christine H.
    Christine HaJune 4, 2016
    See wildlife in their near natural habitat. Take guided bus tour: sit on upper right for best view. $50 adult day pass. 🐅🐪🐘
  • Staff Picks
    Staff PicksDecember 6, 2016
    San Diego Zoo was one of the more wished for places throughout 2015’s I Want Somewhere holiday campaign. Where’s your somewhere? Enter to win a bucket list experience. Read more
  • Joe B.
    Joe BalesApril 6, 2016
    Use the Kangeroo Bus to go from section to section, it has 4 stops, you can jump on and off as often as you would like.
  • Fallon
    FallonAugust 26, 2013
    Night zoo is great especially on a school night. Wait until 7 to see pandas...not much of a wait. You will be here all day even without kids so pack water and snacks.
    meniscuszine.comOctober 22, 2011
    Cannot say enough about this zoo, which rivals (so far) only Singapore in terms of zoos visited across the world. We would, however, like to know more about those diabetic monkeys.
  • Hollie S.
    Hollie SickJanuary 26, 2016
    One of the best zoos in the country, come early and you'll have more freedom to see the animals up close
  • Wim V.
    Wim Van GrunderbeekNovember 30, 2012
    Buy your softdrink for 9.99$ in a re-usable San Diego Zoo cup and get free refills througout the park all day long!
    HISTORYApril 20, 2010
    This zoo opened in 1915 & covers over 100 acres with more than 4000 animals. In the 80s an orangutan named Ken Allen became famous for repeatedly escaping from the 'escape-proof' orangutan enclosure.
    Upvoted 2 weeks ago
  • Luis R.
    Luis RuizAugust 20, 2014
    This place is ginormous. It was so much fun for the whole family. Also they have a bunch of local brews at almost every stand.
  • Social News Network
    Social News NetworkAugust 14, 2013
    This zoo really is all its cracked up to be. If you're ever in the San Diego area, it is definitely a must do!
  • Kaylee
    KayleeSeptember 7, 2015
    The single best zoo in the world hands down. Pay attention to the rate underlooked animals like the Ornate Hawk Eagle
  • Daniella C.
    Daniella ChaverriJanuary 10, 2014
    All the animals you want to see! Love it, don't use the guide bus or the kangaroo express, you can walk it with no problem.
  • Pat K.
    Pat K.December 15, 2014
    If you're going to more than one main attraction in San Diego, consider the 3 day city pass which you can get at the zoo.
  • Chris M.
    Chris MayfieldJuly 31, 2012
    All I wanted was a Panda Steak! Even stopped at Ralph's and grabbed some baby spinach, asparagus, butter, and was going to make a Pepper Merlot reduction ... BUT NOOO! FASCISTS.
  • Danelle P.
    Danelle PittsMarch 5, 2016
    Been here 25+ times
    I love coming to the zoo. If you live in San Diego or near by definitely get a year pass
  • Matthew S.
    Matthew SupertJuly 23, 2015
    The souvenir sipper is $11, but with free refills and iced tea 2-3 people can stay hydrated without all the sugar.
  • Rubeee
    RubeeeNovember 21, 2011
    The zoo is awesome…the park allows you to bring snacks and water, great for large families with kinds. Be prepared to walk =)
  • Han
    HanSeptember 1, 2012
    The animals are all napping around noon. Expect pictures of only animal butts around this time. Take a nice lunch break instead and wait until the animals wake up and move about.
  • Kevlar
    KevlarAugust 3, 2012
    Been here 5+ times
    Membership used to get you discounts at the restaurants, but now I'm told the only one that honors membership discounts is the Hua Mei Café
  • Scott
    ScottAugust 10, 2012
    If you can get there by 9:00 am, they have a half dozen colorful parrots who "open" the park. Have your camera ready.
  • Melba S.
    Melba SmithAugust 4, 2015
    Awesome zoo! I save $ 5.00 off admission with coupons from the 101 Things To Do in San Diego magazine. Check your hotel lobby for free copies .
  • Fernando F.
    Fernando FigueroaSeptember 14, 2014
    The biggest zoo ever! You can actually walk the whole thing in 5-6 hours but you have to be smart, and ready for sleeping the rest of your afternoon.
  • Chris O.
    Chris OSeptember 16, 2014
    The zoo is massive. Having been to many large zoos I will say that this is one of the more confusing we've been to & isn't very well marked at all. Coloured pathways and signs would be an improvement.
  • Alfa S.
    Alfa SantosAugust 22, 2015
    In terms of food related items, you can bring anything you want into the zoo, like containers for free water refills.
  • Jeff G.
    Jeff GwynnApril 7, 2012
    Eat at Albert's if you want some good food and escape the children. This restaurant grows some of its herbs and veggies around the zoo.
  • Jo :.
    Jo :)February 23, 2014
    Make sure to get there early because there is a lot to see! The park is really fun!
  • Julie
    JulieAugust 22, 2015
    Save a lot of time because this zoo is big and needs time to walk around. The only zoo I've bee to and the pandas are actually awake and moving/eating.
  • Jiexi C.
    Jiexi CaoJanuary 18, 2016
    Bring your own snacks and drinks. Come early. Panda wait is long and they may be sleeping :( the gorilla is entertaining though
  • Annullo
    AnnulloFebruary 27, 2012
    Great place for a walk with your family, loved ones, or friends and conveniently located next to Balboa Park!
  • Dillon C.
    Dillon CarpenterNovember 8, 2014
    First thing: take the bus tour and get the top right seats! Find out where you want to go and then make use of the Kangaroo bus and the Skyfari!
  • K12 Inc
    K12 IncJuly 6, 2011
    Did you know? Dr. Harry Wegeworth founded the zoo after hearing the roar of a lion that had been left behind, along with other exotic animals, after the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Read more
  • Mark C.
    Mark ChaseNovember 21, 2011
    Absolutely the best zoo in the country and the experience is different every time! A must see venue to be sure~!
  • Mayara 🍀 F.
    Mayara 🍀 FudissakuAugust 27, 2013
    Don't miss the Polar Bear and Hippo!! And of course, the giant panda! If you wanna take the bus tour take a seat at right side.
    MattersOfGrey.comFebruary 24, 2012
    Been here 10+ times
    Want to see the animals active and not fight a bunch of crowds? Come early in the morning when the first open, usually at 9am.
  • Ryan K.
    Ryan KozielAugust 21, 2010
    Bring a pen so you can track your path through the park on the map. Also bring plenty of cash, the b of a ATM is near the tour bus if you forget cash.
  • Visit San Diego
    Visit San DiegoJuly 20, 2010
    Take the Skyfari Aerial Tram and give your feet a rest! Ride to the other side of the zoo while taking in views of the zoo and surrounding Balboa Park area. Read more
  • Kenyatta J.
    Kenyatta Jones-AriettaAugust 14, 2012
    An absolute must do if in the San Diego area. The habitats and botanicals are some of the best I've ever seen.
  • Kevin M.
    Kevin McCallJune 15, 2013
    Take the Skyfari to the other side of the zoo and hit up the areas you want to see the most on the way back to the main entrance.
  • Carlos D.
    Carlos De LeonJanuary 29, 2015
    Get the delicious and very filling Carne Asada Fries at the Front Street Cafe & Cantina
  • Sasha T.
    Sasha TkachenkoMarch 19, 2015
    2-3 hours minimum. Don't waste time on bus tour. Just walk and keep your tickets.
  • Laura D.
    Laura DNovember 30, 2009
    Best zoo in the country! See the pandas, elephants, gorillas, and polar bears. If you have time, you absolutely must drive up to the wild animal park (~20 miles) for an amazing safari experience. Read more
  • Serkan
    SerkanSeptember 28, 2014
    Taronga Zoo Sydney den sonra gördüğüm en iyi hayvanat bahçesi , tum gününüzü ayırın doga ile ic ice gezin bol bol fotograf cekin ve gitmeden kaplan beslemek icin netten rezervasyon yapın :)
  • Laetitia D.
    Laetitia DelbartJuly 20, 2016
    Un zoo très bien entretenu et géré. Malgré les travaux en cours, le visiteur n'est pas gêné. Le restaurant Albert propose de bons plats pour des prix corrects.
  • Ahmed A.
    Ahmed AlharbyMarch 15, 2013
    من أشهر وأفضل حدائق الحيوان في العالم. تستحق الزياره. أفضل الموجود: الباندا, الدب القطبي, الفيل, وحيد القرن, الزرافه. التيليفريك وباص المعلومات جميله جدا.
    Upvoted Feb 24
  • rasi_ffm
    rasi_ffmJune 17, 2013
    Guided Tour ist empfehlenswert, im sich einen ersten Überblick zu verschaffen. Der Zoo ist sehr groß. Um längere Strecken zurückzulegen, empfiehlt sich der Expressbus.
  • Ksenia S.
    Ksenia SlavnikovaJune 1, 2015
    Лучше запланировать весь день на зоопарк. Много животных, которых нет в других зоопарках. Красивые фламинго, веселые овечки. Овечек вообще можно погладить)
  • Luis S.
    Luis S.December 17, 2015
    Been here 5+ times
    El arca de Noé, una diversidad de animales impresionante, posiblemente el Zoológico con más especies en un mismo lugar. La colección de Primates muy interesante.
  • Natalia P.
    Natalia PoliMay 15, 2016
    Um zoológico imenso, animais bem tratados e em espaços grandes e bem montados. Vale a pena aproveitar o bus tour gratuito.
  • Дмитрий Ю.
    Многие едут в Сан Диего только для того, чтобы посетить этот зоопарк. Это стоит того! Огромная территория, куча редких животных и, конечно же, панда!!!
  • Rasputin V.
    Rasputin ViktorFebruary 14, 2016
    На кассе билеты оказались дешевле, чем в инете. А парк очень душевный, хочется сюда возвращаться. Есть время когда можно покормить жирафов.
  • Marco T.
    Marco TMMarch 14, 2014
    ¡El mejor zoo de todos!. Pero es mejor llegar temprano para poder ver más. Imposible recorrerlo todo en un día. Les recomiendo que lleven comida no compren adentro, es cara y mala.
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