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“behind the scenes tour- elephant and friends”
Review of San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo
Book In Advance
Ranked #4 of 387 things to do in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
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
Reviewed May 25, 2015

We booked a behind the scenes tour at the San Diego Zoo called Elephant and Friends. This was a fabulous tour that not only included a look at the elephant enclosure from above the elephants while they were fed and groomed, but also allowed us to feed camels and giraffes. We also were able to skip the line to the pandas and view them from our own special area. The normal line at that time was an hour long. In addition, we viewed many other areas of the zoo, so I felt we had seen at least 80% of the zoo by the end of the tour. The tour lasted two hours and cost $79 each. Lisa, our guide, was excellent. She was very knowledgable and gave us great insight into animal behavior and care. In addition, the tour was conducted via extended "golf cart" limiting the tour to about 9 people. This a wonderful tour...you won't be disappointed.

Date of experience: May 2015
2  Thank cgtorrey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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12,666 - 12,670 of 25,274 reviews

Reviewed May 25, 2015

If you never visit another zoo in your life, this is the one to explore. The botanical gardens alone are worth a visit. I purchased a membership which really is a deal if you live anywhere near Southern California and plan to go more than once in a year. Plus, you can use the membership to get into the San Diego Safari Park as well. With a membership, you can bring one guest each visit, plus you get a bunch of coupons for things like 20% off food attractions, 10% off retail shops, etc...

Yesterday we got to see a mama hippo and her new baby! So darn cute. In addition, another favorite from the trip yesterday was seeing the grizzly bears. They were lively and playing together. Huge claws. Wow! Would hate to meet up with one in the wild.

Educational, good walking (lots of hills) and relaxing

Date of experience: May 2015
Thank sulphursister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 25, 2015

Taking the Bus Rides are must to get oriented and you should plan your walking route carefully to take advantage of the moving sidewalk which can take you back up out of the ravine. Koalas and Pandas make this place special but I was dissappointed by the lack of a Male African Elephant and other animals that I think they reserve for their Safari Park.

Date of experience: April 2015
Thank Robertb75040
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 25, 2015

The San Diego Zoo is spacious, with a large bus providing optional transportation between sights. It is clean and the animals seem well cared for, with adequate room to move around, considering their confinement.

Date of experience: May 2015
Thank Karen877
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 24, 2015

We arrived at the zoo about 10am and the crowds were not too bad mid week. We took the tour bus around the area to focus on what we wanted to walk to later. The bus tour is included in the ticket price. I hadn't been to this zoo in 40 years and anxious to see what has improved - more displays, tropical plants and trees - beautiful! Disappointed it was the one day the polar bear exhibit was closed for cleaning but delighted the Panda was showing off. We also saw the precious koala bears each in their own tree. The tramways were exciting and gave a different view - able to see the gorilla and her baby. Construction is in progress to prepare for the 100 anniversary so we had to detour up the long slope - escalators were not in service. All in all it was a great visit with perfect weather.

Date of experience: May 2015
1  Thank Sue S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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