San Diego is full of amazing things to do with families, but my kids favorite things to do there besides the beach…. was go to the San Diego Zoo. This zoo has more than 3,500 different animals. This post contains all the tips and tricks we have learned about the zoo and what to do at the zoo with families.
We recently visited San Diego and the zoo was one of our highest priorities. We were blown away by this zoo. As a family we have visited many zoos. This one was by far one of our favorites. It was one of the largest zoos we have been to.
This zoo is focused on animal conservation, the reproduction of those animals that are on the brink of being extinct, and the investigation of why diseases occur.
Ticket Prices, and Zoo Hours
There are a few different options when purchasing tickets. A standard one day zoo pass includes the entrance into the zoo, a guided bus tour around the park, aerial tram ride, and scheduled zoo shows. A two day zoo pass includes the ability to visit the zoo two days in a row or one day at the zoo and one day at the safari park.
One Day Pass
- Adult 12+ $56
- Child 3-11 $46
Two Day Pass
- Adults 12+ $89.60
- Child 3-11 $79.60
An annual pass includes unlimited admission the Safari Park or the San Diego Zoo. If you live in California this pass is offered at a lower rate.
- Adults 18+ $112
- Child 3-17 $56
The San Diego Zoo hours are 9a-6pm. A few weekend nights or holidays the zoo has extended hours of 9a-9pm.
If you are an active duty member in the U.S. military the zoo and the safari park offer free admission, all you have to do is show your military ID when entering the park.
- Guided Bus Tour– This two decker bus provides a guided tour of the zoo.
- Botanical Tours– Stroll through beautiful gardens full of endangered plant collections known throughout the world.
- Kangaroo Bus– This two decker bus has four different spots throughout the park that you can get on and off the bus. This is perfect for those that need a break from walking.
- Skyfari Aerial Tram– My kids loved this ride. This air tram takes you as high as a bird across the zoo.
- Shows– There are a few shows offered at the zoo. Wild About Animals is a show featuring animal ambassadors and their trainers. The next show is Dr.Zoolittle Explores Africa. This show is full of entertainment and fun.
- 4-D Theater– This theater has only the joys and thrills of a 4-D theater. Shows run daily starting at 1030a.
- Animal Encounters– You can have many encounters with animals at the zoo. Starting with the front street stage ambassador animals will be featured there all day long. There are also opportunities for the zoo keepers throughout the park to talk about how and what they do to care for the animals.
- Play Areas– There are numerous areas located in the zoo for kids to play and climb on things. Some areas includes fossils to dig up, riddles to solve, and life-size story books.
Any animal that you have been dreaming to see can be found at this zoo. The San Diego Zoo offers the largest number of koala bears that are housed in a zoo. This was one of our favorite things to see at the zoo because not very many zoos have koala bears.
Another great feature of this zoo is how close you can get to the animals. Each enclosure is so close you can almost touch the animals. This way you can get an unclose and personal look at each species.
Each animals is placed in their own habitat unlike some zoos in which you feel like the animals are just behind cages. This zoo is unique in that you never feel like the animals are in “cages”.
For an extra charge you can experience more in-depth experiences at the zoo. These experiences range from being able to touch animals, watch them in action, tours of the back areas where the trainers and zoo keepers care for the animals, and private guided tours.
I don’t know about you but I am always on the hunt for good. This zoo offers great food choices and I have a few tips for you. First of all if you purchase the large drink that comes in a reusable plastic cup, don’t throw the cup away after you are done. You can refill the cup during for stay at the zoo and every time you come back to the zoo for $1.09. You can also take your cup to any drink stand and they will fill it with ice cold water for free.
The San Diego Zoo offers a large selection of different types of food. You will find everything from sandwiches, tacos and burritos, hamburgers, fresh salads, Asian inspired cuisine, and so much more.
If you have a gluten intolerance they offer gluten free selections at every location. There is also a great selection of coffees, beers, alcoholic drinks and quick eats. My kids favorite treat was the unicorn snow cone.
I hope this helps you plan your next trip, and it includes the San Diego Zoo. The weather is also great and most of all the zoo is full of trees, flowers, and lots of places for shade.