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“Best Zoo in the World; dining needs an upgrade”
Review of San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo
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$98.00*
and up
San Diego Zoo with Transport from Anaheim
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$52.00*
and up
San Diego Zoo
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$83.25*
and up
San Diego Zoo and Safari Park Combo Tour
Ranked #2 of 438 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 older children, Activities for young children
Phoenix, Arizona
Level 6 Contributor
135 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Best Zoo in the World; dining needs an upgrade”
Reviewed December 28, 2013 via mobile

I have been to many Zoos in the U.S. And Europe, San Diego is by far the best. One highlight was the polar bears where a brother and sister bear were wrestling in the pool providing 15 to 20 minutes of great entertainment. While this is the best zoo they need to upgrade there dining choices and food quality for the guests. Found choices and food Quality to be better ay the Safari Park which is owned by the zoo. But it is still a great place to see endangered species in fairly natural habitats.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank greyhound85034
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Escondido, California
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“It redefines the word zoo”
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.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank Don M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“One of the best zoos I've visited!”
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.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank ercw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tinton Falls, New Jersey, Usa
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Beautiful park”
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

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank Joe R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
75 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Great day out”
Reviewed December 28, 2013

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

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank Gillesj1301
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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