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San Diego Zoo, San Diego

4.4
#1 of 12,551 in Outdoors in United States
Providing a home for 3,700 of some of the world's rarest animals, San Diego Zoo features pandas, gorillas, antelopes, orangutans, koalas, and much more. Noted for pioneering the concept of cage-free exhibits that recreate natural animal habitats, this zoo covers an area of almost 40 hectares (100 acres). Take guided tours on a bus, or hop on an overhead gondola to see the diverse habitats from the air. See different animals often found side by side in the wild, along with native plant life from places such as African rainforests and Arctic taigas. To view the collection of rare plants, visit the arboretum. Begin your visit at the visitor center, where you can pick up a free map. Arrange to visit San Diego Zoo and other attractions in San Diego using our San Diego vacation trip planner.
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San Diego Zoo Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
21,482 reviews
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4.5
TripAdvisor
  • August 14, 2017
    We recently visited San Diego zoo and spent approximately 4 hours there. The first thing we went on was the skyfari. Which gave us an aerial view over the park. Worth going on. Quite a hot day but the...  more »
  • August 14, 2017
    Feeding the giraffes was a treat for everyone. The pandas were out mid-day which was a treat watching them eat. But the huge silver back gorillas made the day with their serious, backside antics towar...  more »
  • August 14, 2017
    A very well maintained park. The animals seem to live well. There is a renovation that promises to be awesome. Good places to eat.
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  • July 1, 2017
    Made the 3 hour drive to the San Diego Zoo and it was well worth it. Friendly, helpful staff everywhere you go. It's an incredible accomplishment to hire that many people that truly care about what they do. Facilities were sparkling, probably only saw one random napkin that a child dropped. Animals were fantastic, with private and public tour guides everywhere to drop tidbits of information on the specific animal in the display, as well as facts of the species as a whole. 10/10, would recommend, will be back.
  • June 30, 2017
    I have the year pass since I live so close by. This place is great for early morning walks (get there a little before they open). The animals here are very well cared for, and the keepers and staff and very friendly, and knowledgeable. Some or the Galapagos tortoises here are over 100 years old! It's amazing how much you can learn in just one visit. In the summer and winter they have extended hours.
  • May 29, 2017
    Definitely the best zoo I've been too. This place is huge, and the variety of animals is very impressive. For the most part, the way the animals are organized makes sense. Plenty of stores offering refreshments all around, so lines are short and you have something to snack on when you need. Staff is friendly and informed. Park is clean and all the buildings and cages are well maintained. Animals seem to be treated as well as possible for a zoo. Can't go wrong here, definitely get an annual pass if you live in San Diego.
  • June 8, 2017
    We had season passes for both of the two years we lived in San Diego. I like the upgraded pass as it is nice to be able to bring in a free guest. Some of my favorite less visited areas are the fern canyon trail (closest thing to my Hawaii home that I have found on the mainland) and all of the aviaries. The bus tour is best for first timers, however there is a great rooftop jaguar viewing area that you only get to see from a bus (after construction on Africa​ Rocks connector is finished and they close the road to pedestrians again), although you can just get on the kangaroo bus (quick stop bus) to see it... As long as there is room available, it can be very busy on the weekends! While I love the night hours, really Africa is the best place to see animals after 5pm as many of the animals throughout the zoo have early bedtimes and will be off exhibit in the evening hours. And take the skyfari towards the polar bears (away from the front entrance) as lines returning can be quite long. Have fun! I always see something new and interesting. I almost forgot, don't skip the reptile house, they have one of the best snake collection with lots of tropical species as well as a few local north American species. There are also some reptile sections hidden in small segments throughout the zoo. I skip the children's zoo, only because it is crowded. There is a great bug house and some nice smaller animal exhibits.
  • July 3, 2017
    This zoo exceeded my expectations which were already high due to the hype. Being from New York, The Bronx Zoo has been my gold-standard for zoos but The San Diego Zoo is far superior. From the free parking to the friendly staff and eclectic array of animals, this is a must-visit for anyone in the area. You also get so close to the animals at most attractions that you can get some wonderful photos, even of all you bring is your phone.

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Where to stay in San Diego

Offering accommodations at a wide range of price levels, San Diego is one of the easiest cities to stay in, regardless of whether you're simply passing through or hanging around for a long vacation. If you don't mind splurging, book your stay at a luxury downtown hotel or a lavish bayside resort. You can also rent a spacious private cottage within walking distance of the city's popular beaches. For a more affordable alternative, try a family-friendly hostel or quaint inn in a quiet residential area.
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