San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo
4.5
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
About
The San Diego Zoo pioneered cageless exhibits and offers travelers a fun and informative experience. Featuring over 4000 animals, the park gives you a peek into the wildlife of several ecosystems, from deserts to rainforests. Ride the tour bus, which crosses three quarters of the zoo’s area, and learn more about the animals from the guide as you view them in their natural habitats. You can also hop on the Skyfari gondola lift to see the entire park from above. Tickets to the San Diego Zoo that also cover the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido are available for a discount. – Tripadvisor
Duration: 2-3 hours
Meets animal welfare guidelines
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Admission tickets
from $72.00
All you need to step foot in the door.
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  • Rebecca Z
    Mukwonago, Wisconsin143 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing!
    My teenage daughter and I were so impressed with the San Diego Zoo! We did walk it ALL in one day (which we didn't think we'd be able to) but we went on a day it was open until 9pm. I was shocked to find this zoo has so many levels! You were on one level and could see exhibits above and beneath you that you hadn't seen yet! The number of volunteers and workers was astonishing!! My daughter was afraid to cross a very high bridge at one point, and a worker offered to take her by the arm while I took the other and help her cross with her eyes shut if needed. We walked her across together, and they worker talked to my daughter the entire way to help keep her mind off of the height. Simply astounding level of commitment and helpfulness. The animals were great, and the zoo was so well maintained and clean. We loved our day!
    Visited June 2023
    Written June 22, 2023
  • Adam
    World38 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Expensive but always worth the visit
    Be prepare to spend money. The price for access is pricey. For a year pass for the family was about $500.00, but that'll be paid for in just a few visits and grants you access to the Wild Animal Safari Park in Escondido, CA. If you're hitting the zoo on foot I recommend packing a lunch unless you don't mind paying for what the zoo offers, which is pricey but good. Also if you're walking, don't try to see the whole park in one day. See a section one day and another section the other day. San Diego has so much to offer, don't burn yourself out on a day visit to the zoo. Spend a couple hours seeing one part of the zoo, go to Balboa Park and see the sights there and see another part of the Zoo the next day. You can get a good look at 90% of the zoo by arriving at opening time and taking the bus tours. I highly recommend this at opening because the line moves quicker and most of the animals are out and about. For gifts the zoo has plenty of knick-knack stands, but the primary shops are by the gates. There's at least one inside the main entry and a kids gift shop and general gift shop by the exit. They have some neat stuff, but I recommend setting a spending limit especially if you have kids. I found this works best for kids that way they actually pick one or two things they really like instead of blowing their money on candy and "dollar store" toys by the registers.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 10, 2023
  • WiltshireLass
    South West England, United Kingdom104 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing!!
    We visit San Diego as often as we can, it was our honeymoon destination & we've returned 3 times, & have a trip planned for the future, we have been to SD Zoo twice & both times were fantastic. 1st time we got to see the 2 pandas that were there only for a short period of time & that was so special, the 2nd time we did the bus tour & the skyline aerial view that takes you from one end of the zoo to the other, it was sooo fun! My husband is scared of heights and was dubious about its safety BUT it was absolutely fine, very enjoyable & he would have done it again he said afterwards. A great zoo that is a million percent worth visiting. I'm sure we'll be visiting for a third time when we return to SD :) x
    Visited September 2022
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 29, 2023
  • metswin
    Wethersfield, Connecticut199 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great zoo
    We love the zoo that’s what we’ve been to when we’ve been to a lot of them. Lots of animals almost every cage had active animals in it. Leopards, lions, giraffes, rhinos, pandas, reptiles, and on, and on, and on. The zoo was very clean. Lots of food choices. Very helpful, volunteers skyway trim, which is pretty neat. What’s included highly recommend the zoo
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 28, 2023
  • Mary Ann D
    Avon Lake, Ohio119 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Don’t miss it!
    We did a 1 day pass which is plenty and were able to see nearly all of the animals that were actively moving. We also did an Inside Look Tour focusing on giraffes with Kevin. Excellent time slot at 2pm as we had the tour bus to ourselves and Kevin the guide did an excellent job! Would highly recommend the Inside Look which is in addition to the 1 day pass but well worth it!!
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 3, 2023
  • mary z
    5 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Love this zoo! Do Inside Look tour, for sure!
    Ive always wanted to come to this zoo but finally made it at nearly 70 y/o and uncomfortable with a lot of walking. But, pleasant surprise, there are so many helpful ways to get around to see lots of animals! We loved the double decker bus tour of the zoo perimeter, the aerial tram just for the fun of it and the view. The best part was the Inside Look tour! Definitely do this add on- it’s worth the price. We signed up for “giraffes and friends” but had no idea how many behind the scenes opportunities we’d have so close to so many animals .. and then we hand fed the giraffes! Our guide, Lindsay, was knowledgeable and friendly and funny. Great zoo visit!!
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 14, 2023
  • kjoe16
    Rochester Hills, Michigan87 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wow!
    For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to visit the San Diego Zoo. It’s been a bucket list item for me. I was finally able to take my family and it was amazing!!! The layout with all of the various layers was quite confusing or it would have been 5 stars. The amount of times we went waaay out of our was frustrating. The map needs to describe what level of the zoo you are on because the ramps/elevation got us turned around several times. I wish more animals were active, but I know that’s to be expected. The bus was awesome and so was the skyfari! The orange chicken at Hua Mei Cafe was really good. We were there 9am-9pm and we still weren’t able to see everything, which was frustrating since we walked nearly 18,000 steps. We hardly saw any animals after sundown and the Halloween decor/events weren’t very exciting, some cute touches. Overall an amazing experience, loved the vibes and seeing so many animals/plants I’ve never seen before!
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 22, 2023
  • Grady F
    Oxford, United Kingdom12 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    America's Finest Zoo
    San Diego Zoo is one of the best. There are double- decked bus tours, and even a cable car. At San Diego Zoo, there are several animals spread throughout an easily navigable site.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written November 4, 2023
  • Allan M
    1 contribution
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    An Amaazzing!! Zoo
    I went to the zoo with my family, I had a great experience. I especially liked the Elephant Odyssey because its a unique and creative exhibit and the Wildlife Explorers Base camp (a huge upgrade to the old children's zoo). The one complaint I have is the old style bear habitats in the Asian Passage exhibit (zookeepers, if you're reading this please update those habitats as bears need a lot of space.
    Visited December 2022
    Traveled with family
    Written November 13, 2023
  • Daniel P
    Vancouver, Canada152 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful butt expensive
    It is quite a beautiful zoo to start with. They care about the "look and feel" of their zoo. I did the bus tour, and the gondola, both included in your ticket purchase. Pretty interesting to get good overall view of what's at the zoo. Did a lot of walking to see various areas of the zoo, and getting around on the paths was straightforward. The have an elevator to bring you back up after the trail brings you down a pth if you don't want to walk up hill much. Friendly for seniors and handicapped pretty much all over the zoo. The exhibits were all very positive for the animals to keep things as they would like in natural habitat. Now for a few not so positive things. Too commercial for a non profit. Stores everywhere selling things that were way overpriced. That is for merchandise and food. $10 for a soft drink (with $2 refills) or $14.50 for medium sized collectible plastic cup with free refills. The good thing is you can bring your own food and drink into the zoo and save money if you can plan that far ahead and don't care if things are warm. I enjoyed my visit but I really only stayed maybe three and a half hours as I was getting hungry and I didn't want to pay them what they wanted for their food.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written November 20, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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MarkDr777
Omaha, NE224 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020 • Family
A very distinguished, large zoo that is well known in the United States and world. And this zoo is VERY large and contains a large variety of species. However, I actually found the habitats to be quite small for the individual animals or groups of animals and believe the space available actually limits the expansion of these habitats. The zoo, 30 years ago, was “drop your socks” the best zoo I had ever seen. But the zoo has become dated and in many cases the animals are in areas that are only slightly better than cages. A group of seven giraffes were in a relatively tiny enclosure. The one zebra and burro were in a ridiculously small area. The one rhino hardly had any area in which to roam! Now with that said, the cat areas (Jaguar, snow leopards) were nicely displayed with walk ways and huge hanging haunches of goats for the cats to eat when not being watched by the crowds. Many other zoos have moved to newer ways of housing animals to include allowing far larger areas for animals to roam with more realistic environments or features that the animal would experience in their natural habitats ie large watering holes for rhinos, sculpted hills for animals to climb, and the inclusion of multiple animals in the same enclosure as they would be found in the wild (rhinos with elephants with giraffes in the same enclosure). Unfortunately the San Diego Zoo reminded me of a first or second generation facility that was only slightly better than when animals were placed in very small cages. In many cases there was only a single animal or maybe at most a pair representing the species which was disappointing.

Highlights: the koala area which housed 20 koalas in separate areas, the cat enclosures, the baboon area.
Disappointments: the rhino area (one single animal in a small enclosure), the elephants (2?) and their holding cages, the giraffe area, the single zebra, the penguin area.

I found it interesting that many guests were walking around with open containers of wine or beer! We did eat at Alberts which was in a great location. Of course the food was expensive since we were eating within the Zoo but the service was horrible. A small pizza was $18, a burger $20, one of the fancier entrees will run you $30+. We waited over an hour for our food and we didn’t order anything complicated.

If wanting to experience the next generation of zoo, I would recommend the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha Nebraska which I recently visited as it has vast habitats representing regions in which multiple animals are located that would be found together in the wild.
Written March 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Morgan I
Olathe, KS155 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Couples
I have been to a lot of zoos (Omaha, Cincinnati, St. Louis), and this zoo fell short for me based on how much it had been hyped up by everyone else. First off, it is VERY expensive. You will be paying $100+ for 2 people (compared to St. Louis, which is FREE), and I thought that was ridiculous. Once you’re in, it’s fun enough - definitely a lot to see - but it’s almost too much to see. The maps and signage are not very clear throughout, and it’s easy to get lost in this zoo. Because you spend so much money to get in, we felt like we HAD to stay all day to get our money’s worth. You’ll enjoy it just fine, but I don’t think what you get is worth the price.
Written January 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bella
Denver, CO15 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020
Happy that the zoo remained open for our trip to San Diego this summer (in the midst of maintained closures due to COVID) as we had a wonderful day there. It is a little pricey for entry, but they have so many different kinds of animals it is well worth it. The park is very clean and the maps/signs are clear to help you find your way. We went on a Sunday expecting it to be crowded, but found that earlier in the day may have been better as we didn't run into too many other people. We bought the zoo guide with our tickets and were instructed to pick it up with our voucher at any gift shop, but finally after asking 2 different gift shops, we were told we had to wait until the "Exit" gift shop, which somewhat defeated the purpose as we were hoping to have it with us through the whole park. No one seemed to be able to know how to use the voucher, so we did end up waiting a while for a manager to come out and help us. With that being said, they were friendly and apologetic about the wait time. Highly recommend visiting the zoo if you can!
Written July 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ken M
Pittsburgh, PA93 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
This is probably the best zoo that we have ever visited. Included with the zoo admission is a narrated bus tour that takes you all over the zoo. We were lucky as a lot of the animals were active during our bus tour. We took Uber from downtown and the zoo has a convenient drop-off location. The zoo is very hilly so be prepared if you are walking. If you are going to only visit one zoo in your life, the San Diego Zoo should be at the top of your list.
Written February 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rodger C
Blaine, MN93 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2019 • Family
We were on a winter vacation and this was a must see. The zoo is amazing! Great animal exhibits with friendly and knowledgeable staff,. I recommend taking the guided bus tour when you get there which covers 70% of the zoo. Then you can walk back to area you want to see again. It’s a bit pricey but worth the experience.
Written February 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

FloridaSunDevil
West Palm Beach, FL788 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
This is my first visit back to the zoo in about 30 years. Unfortunately we had only two hours to spend here. I could have taken several days. We were guests of an annual pass holder who had visitor passes so the short visit was "free". We started our adventure by taking the bus around the park to give us an overview. The driver was very good about pointing animals out that we would have missed and mentioned things we should come back to. Following the bus, we might have seen 25 percent of the zoo in our limited time. Plan a full day if you have the time. This is a national treasure that shouldn't be missed. The one problem we had was finding our way to the exit. The signage isn't the best. However, being lost let us see more.
Written February 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Violetbsu
48 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020
We had a friend recommend this and showed up without checking the price. For 2 people for ONE day, it was $116, not including food, beverages and gifts.

Pros: There were a variety of animals and the habitats were very nice. Most people wore their masks the entire time. Albert’s restaurant was actually very delicious and all 8 of us had food that we enjoyed and great service. There's currently a baby hippo!

Cons: Price. It was outrageous at $58/person. There are a lot of VERY steep hills. Someone will accessibility issues should read their info closely. One of the main reasons we went was for the giant pandas, which were are all gone! It was a serious bummer for our group!

If you're going to go, plan a big budget. You'll want to eat lunch and stay for many hours to get your money's worth!
Written September 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DT-PEI
499 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
If there for the first time, take the Bus Tour to get oriented. It skirts the outer perimeter and the driver provides a lot of information on the zoo which helps plan the rest of your visit. Thank goodness for the many guides/assistants around the park who offered to help with directions as it was easy to become disoriented with all the twists, turns, and elevation changes on the many paths that can be taken after taking the Bus Tour.
I suggest bring your own beverage to keep hydrated as they charge an excessive price for soda, beer, and even water. We split a wrap for lunch and downed it with our own water. There are several eateries throughout the zoo so going hungry will not be a problem.
Written February 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kingrichjohn
San Francisco, CA17 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
First let me say the the volunteers are great and very helpful. When we first entered the park we did not know what we wanted to do first. A volunteer saw us and suggested taking the 35 minute bus tour around the zoo and or do the hop on hop off around the zoo. We did the 35 minute bus tour and then walked the park afterwards. My advice is to get there early. Especially if you love the big cats as I do. The zoo is roughly 3.2 miles from the hotels in the Gas Lamp district so the round trip with Uber was way less expensive than renting a car.
Written March 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dr. J
San Diego, CA7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
The San Diego Zoo is the Best Zoo in the world. It is located in the rolling hills and valleys of San Diego's Balboa Park. It's big. Really big. San Diego residents digest it in parts. It you plan on seeing it all, wear comfortable shoes and take time to sit down with some of your favorite animals (for me that's the great apes and the polar bears) and catch your breath.
I recommend taking in the exhibits closest to the entrance of the zoo and then take the sky ride to the far side, then work your way back. As an alternative you may want to take the bus tour and then go back to the areas that interest you the most.
My "not to be missed" animals are the apes, the polar bears, the koala bears and the reptiles (I know they're not everyone's cup of tea).
Written February 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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