The San Diego Zoo is one of my all-time favourites. If you find yourself anywhere near Southern California in your travels you HAVE to visit. TripAdvisor recently awarded San Diego Zoo their Traveler’s Choice Number 1 Zoo in the world – so it has to be true!
From Australian koalas to Arctic polar bears and Giant Pandas, the San Diego Zoo makes a great family day out. Known for its large open enclosures (remember the film Madagascar?) the zoo is home to more than 4,000 animals.
This year The San Diego Zoo celebrates its centennial year with lots of special activities, such a the NighttimeZoo, a film experience, new bus tour, shows and more. Check out the San Diego Zoo Centenary Events and Celebrations.
We were Zoo members when we lived in San Diego when the girls were just tots. Here are our tips for getting the most out of your day:
- Buy your ticket beforehand to avoid long queues. Try Mousesavers for a list of discount tickets, or if try buy a Southern California City Pass for $341/adult $311/child which includes the San Diego Zoo OR Safari Park, a Disneyland & Disney California Adventure 3-day park hopper, SeaWorld San Diego, and LEGOLAND (a real bargain!).
- Get there early – you’ll get better parking and the animals are more active and it’s not so hot in the morning!
- Bring a hat and sun cream. That sounds really basic, but Southern California sun is hot and you can really feel it in the wide open spaces that the zoo is known for. And don’t forget water!
- If you have toddlers you WILL need a pushchair. Preferably one with a sun shade.
- Strategise! Check out the map beforehand and decide where you want to spend your time. Also check the show schedule.
- See the Panda first! The queues can get long so as soon as you get there take the Skyfari to the other side of the park, take in the pandas, and then meander back (it’s downhill).
- Bring a packed a lunch. There are lots of options to purchase food, but there’s nothing like bringing your own snacks that you can whip out when needed. But make sure to but an ice-cream.
- Prepare to spend the whole day there. The zoo is huge and you probably won’t see everything.
- Your ticket includes a guided bus tour – either take early to get an overview OR last thing when you are tired.
- The petting zoo is near the exit – so do that last!
- If you have little ones – walk over to neighbouring Balboa Park and take the train ride. The perfect ending to a perfect day!
IF YOU GO:
San Diego Zoo 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101 +1 (619) 231-1515 2920 zoo.sandiegozoo.org
America As You Like It Specialist firm that offer packages for families including return flights on British Airways from Heathrow to San Diego, car hire and hotel. americaasyoulikeit.com