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“It redefines the word zoo”
Review of San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo
Book In Advance
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$98.00*
and up
San Diego Zoo with Transport from Anaheim
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$39.95*
and up
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
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$63.72*
and up
San Diego GoCar Tour
Ranked #2 of 442 things to do in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Owner description: Founded in 1916, the Zoo has been an icon in San Diego for nearly 100 years—and an absolute must-see in Southern California. Spend the day monkeying around in our tropical oasis as you visit beautiful habitats that are home to gorillas, eagles, tigers, sun bears, Asian leopards, rare reptiles, a palette of colorful birds, and more. Visit the Australian Outback to delight in our colony of 24 koalas, and travel along Panda Trek to experience giant pandas and other animals that share their bamboo forest habitat. Go back in time through Elephant Odyssey to discover what animals used to roam Southern California and see what the elephants are up to. Enjoy a guided tour on a double-decker bus or the scenic view from the Skyfari aerial tram, and dine in the peaceful surroundings of Albert's Restaurant. Discover the wonders of wildlife with animal encounters, interactive experiences, and keeper chats. A leader in animal care and conservation, the San Diego Zoo is at the heart of the San Diego experience.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed December 28, 2013

You only think you been to a zoo until you been to the San Diego Zoo.
I really don’t know how to tell you how wonderful a place it is. The size, the layout, the number of displays. It’s one of those places you have to see to understand how wonderful a place it is. If you have time the Safari Park is also a don’t miss.

Thank Don M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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13,428 - 13,432 of 21,849 reviews

Reviewed December 28, 2013

This is a one full day experience. This zoo is large and just trying to see half of it can take 4-5 hours alone. I've been to this zoo a few times now (I live 2 hours away from San Diego). I just recently took my parents and aunt to see it since they have never been.
We arrived 30 minutes after the park opened. I would suggest coming before it opens to get a good parking spot and hopefully beat some of the lines. It was so packed by the entrance and lines were all the way back to buy tickets. Once we got inside the zoo I could actually move about.
The prices have increased for sure since the last time I was here. The 1 day ticket is $46, though it does include the bus tour, the sky aerial tram, and you can hop on and off the express buses as much as you like if you want to not walk everywhere.
The bus tour is great to get a good overview of the park so I would recommend taking it right away before you start walking around. Try to sit on the right side of the bus as it seems most of the exhibits that will be shown is on the right side during the tour.

What I really enjoy about this zoo is the foliage and environment they have created. Always tons of nature around you and it's different in each area you go to. Other zoos I've visited are all about just displaying the animals and there might not always be anything interesting to look at while you are going in between exhibits. Not the case with this zoo and it made you actually feel like you just weren't visiting a zoo as well.

Be prepared to walk a lot unless you don't mind waiting around for the express buses. Also be prepared to go up and down steep hills. There are plenty of food and cafes around to get refreshments in every area.
We ate at the Albert's restaurant. The only restaurant there (others were just cafes). The restaurant was nice and it was neat to be higher up around in the trees, but the wait was long and inside the restaurant it felt crowded. Also I felt like the staff were rushed too much and had a hard time not showing it. Some came off rude. The food itself was good but probably not worth the price tag.

The only downfall for the zoo in my opinion is when it gets busy and crowded, boy it sure does! Try either coming first thing when it opens to beat the crowd, or maybe later in the afternoon. The zoo is open until 8 pm normally. We left around 4:30 PM (didn't even see all of it) and it was pretty busy but a lot of people were leaving too from the morning.
When it got real busy it was sometimes hard to see exhibits when people crowd around and do not want to move to let others view the animals in the bigger attractions. Such as the tiger exhibit, the polar bears, etc. It would be great if the zoo had designated employees to just kind of work around those areas to make sure people keep moving after they view the animals so that others can see. The walkways were not very big either so when it got crowded, you felt a bit claustrophobic and it was hard to get by people.

Other than that I do love this zoo and recommend visiting it if you are in the area!! Just plan that it will take the whole day to really see it.

Thank ercw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2013

Made our way on foot throughout the park and saw as many animals as we wanted. The staff was extremely helpful and knowledgeable. It's clean and easy to maneuver through. Appreciated the free parking and coupon codes for discounts on the internet

Thank Joe R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2013

Best zoo I have visited. Really enjoyed the antics of the pandas and the polar bears. Money well spent.

Thank Gillesj1301
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2013

We loved the place and it was well organised. I loved the way the park mixed the plant life in with the animals in an attempt to make the park self sustaining and create its own eco system. It was a very hot day so I do not recommend walking much especially if you are not very fit. My main disappointment is that some of the enclosures are still very old styled and in need of an upgrade. Also disappointed that at the front entrance we had to pay extra for my daughter (we had brought the tickets in NZ) because it was free for children in October. However, she was over 12 so it was not free? So in the end we ended up paying more and we cannot get our money back. Hope it goes to improving the enclosures.

Thank MotuKairangiKiwi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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