Red panda lying on brown log in San Diego Zoo, USA
Red panda lying on brown log in San Diego Zoo, USA

San Diego Zoo

2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego, California, 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 San Diego Zoo tickets 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, explore the zoo’s bioclimatic zones and animal habitats independently or take a guided bus tour for an overview of the space. For a bird’s-eye view of the San Diego Zoo’s wildlife, hop aboard the Skyfari Aerial Tram. Those with kids can head to the Children’s Zoo to spend time at the Petting Paddock.

San Diego Zoo tours are a good way to deepen your knowledge of the animals in the park. For a good overview, sign up for one of the zoos. "Discovery Cart Tours,” which involve riding around in a large cart with a guide. Animal encounters and special experiences are ideal if you want exclusive access to parts of the zoo most people don’t get to see. Free shows and presentations are offered throughout the day, while other experiences, including the 4-D theater and carousel, cost extra.

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San Diego Zoo 1-Day Pass Any Day Ticket
San Diego Zoo 1-Day Pass Any Day Ticket
$72.00 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Loved San Diego Zoo
The number of species there, the bus around the park commentar and Ariel tram ride. The organization of it. The habitats were so large and natural. The focus on saving endangered species.
Kyle_A, Jan 2024

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Children younger than 3 visit free with a paid adult and you can buy discounted tickets for those ages 3–11.

  • The zoo is wheelchair accessible, and wheelchairs are available to rent. Mobility scooters are allowed (just check in advance for details on safety restrictions). There’s also a 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.

  • Many visitors combine a visit to the zoo with the San Diego Safari Park, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) away.

  • You can rent strollers and lockers at the zoo.

  • Wi-Fi is free throughout the zoo and 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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Trip ideas

When to Get There

The zoo is open daily, typically from morning until early evening, though timings depend 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

Zoo highlights include the Tiger River bioclimatic exhibit, which realistically re-creates an Asian rainforest environment, and Gorilla Tropics, which does the same with an African rainforest. 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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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to San Diego Zoo?
What else should I know about attractions in San Diego?
As well as visiting the San Diego Zoo, check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: