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San Diego Zoo

Great news if you are planning a trip to San Diego Zoo. Reservations are no longer needed. Visitors that have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 do not have to wear face coverings any more. Those who are not fully vaccinated can still visit but will be asked to wear a face covering when entering any of the zoo’s indoor spaces.


Sand Diego Zoo is situated in Balboa Park at 2920 Zoo Drive in San Diego, CA. Zip code is 92101. The Zoo is owned and run by the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. This is a non-profit making organization dedicated to preserving wildlife and educating the public about animals, their needs, and the risks they face in the wild.

In addition to the Zoo itself, the Alliance also owns the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The Safari Park is at 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, CA 92027-7017. It is about 35 minutes by road from the main Zoo.

Brief History

San Diego Zoo grew out of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The Exposition had some animals on show, and when the event closed, the animals had to be found a new home. The Zoological Society of San Diego was founded in 1916 and a site for the new zoo was earmarked in Balboa Park.

Since then the Zoo has grown to be one of the best known and most-visited zoos in the USA. It is well known for a large collection of koala bears and for having bred giant pandas in captivity. The giant pandas were all returned to China in 2019.

Sand Diego Zoo was the first to introduce cageless enclosures that allowed animals to live as close as possible to their natural environment.

What to do at the Zoo

The Zoo covers 100 acres and houses more than 12,000 animals. Many visitors choose to walk around the site, viewing the hundreds of different species to be found in the enclosures and buildings.
Different animals that would normally be found living together in the wild are to be found sharing the same enclosure here at the Zoo. Habitats include the African Rain Forest, the Arctic tundra and the Australian outback.

Don’t miss the superb range of species-specific exhibits. Gorilla Tropics where you can see six gorillas is based on the rainforest of central Africa. Sun Bear Forest houses a variety of monkeys and also has a series of aviaries.

Absolutely Apes is home to four orangutans from Sumatra and three siamangs. Three tigers from Malaya live on the Tiger Trail and 5 elephants live in Elephant Odyssey. The Lost Forest is another African-themed attraction with hippos, buffalo and monkeys.

If you have children with you on your visit don’t forget to call into the Discovery Outpost which is situated close to the entrance. Here there is the Petting Paddock with sheep and goats to meet and touch. The Children’s Zoo has a lot of cute – and not so cute – animals like naked mole rats, mice, ocelots and porcupines. Nearby is the Reptile House with snakes, lizards, frogs, tortoises, and even crocodiles!

The Zoo is a big place, and a good way to see everything on offer is to take a Guided Bus Tour. This is a 35-minute trip on a double-decker bus with a guide and is an ideal way to spot attractions you want to go back and see later. The boarding point is near the entrance and you don’t need to make a reservation. Just climb aboard!

The Kangaroo Bus is a hop-on-hop-off service that follows a route through the zoo grounds. There is no guide, as this is a service that gets you around the site and allows you to see all the attractions on offer during your visit.

Do you have a good head for heights? Then take the Skyfari Aerial Tram for a trip over the treetops. Great views and an exciting adventure for all the family.

The San Diego Zoo also boasts a 4D Movie Theater! Currently, Mowgli’s 4D Jungle Adventure is showing each day. A 3D movie with extra special effects!


Adults (that’s anyone over 12) can get a day pass for $62.
Children between 3 and 11 can get a day pass for $52.

Multi-Day passes are also available. All-inclusive passes that include San Diego Zoo Safari Park are also available.

The 4D Movie Theater costs $7 per person.

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