13 Top Fun Things to do at San Diego Zoo
California - September 13, 2021

family outside San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

What beats being outside in sunny San Diego, exploring one of the best zoos in the world? Just north of downtown San Diego, you can experience San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and the wonders of wildlife in their own natural habitat.

Top Fun Things to do at San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo is in Balboa Park, which also offers many family friendly things to do like visit the gardens, museums, performing arts and restaurants.

The San Diego Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the world with some fascinating animals like the polar bears, northern white rhino, giant pandas, big cats and more endangered animals.

panda eating bamboo
Panda eating bamboo

The world-famous San Diego Zoo has about 4,000 animals representing more than 800 species. There are unique animal encounters and exciting animal presentations.

More than 6,500 species of exotic plants are cultivated on the property, adding to the atmosphere and frequently serving as a component of natural food for a variety of animal species.

Albany Cycad at San Diego Zoo
Albany Cycad

The zoo’s breeding programs for endangered species and conservation efforts are well-known, with the Department of Conservation and Research for Endangered Species conducting research on giant pandas, tree kangaroos, clouded leopards, gavials, meerkats, and Tasmanian devils.

Tickets

Zoo tickets include one day passes or multi-day/multi -park passes for both adults and children (3-11).

You can get a GO SAN DIEGO PASS or become a member.

You can also buy tickets to the Safari Park or purchase a two park pass.

Don’t forget to check out San Diego Zoo Kids.

Take a look at this list below of 13 top San Diego Zoo activities to help you plan your trip and enjoy a day of family fun.

San Diego Zoo is definitely worth it. Plan on being blown away.

Reptile Walk

More than 50 reptile and amphibian species are on display at Reptile Walk, including poisonous frogs, the critically endangered mountain yellow-legged frog, mossy tree frogs, enormous horned lizards (Phrynosoma asio), king snakes (Lampropeltis sp), Malayan giant turtles, and eaf tailed geckos.

reptile walk
Reptile Walk

The three structures at the Reptile Walk house turtles, amphibians, and snakes native to California, including the world’s longest gopher snake.

4D Theater

The 4D Theater is located in Northern Frontier.

3D movies with incredible special effects will provide another dimension to your cinematic experience.

Now Showing: Mowgli’s 4D Jungle Adventure

Shown daily. Opens at 10:30 a.m. Last show at 8 p.m. Cost: $7. Tickets available at the theater.

Botanical Tour

Discover the tropical oasis of a botanical garden with the Botanical Tour brochures. You can visit the San Diego Zoo’s beautiful gardens and collection of plants at any time.

Find your way with your Zoo map and discover more about the fascinating, gorgeous, and endangered specimens in this prominent botanical collection of gardens.

The gardens include Australian Outback, Elephant Odyssey Trees, Fern Canyon, and Monkey Trails.

Dining

There are so many options for dining, whether you’re looking for restaurants, casual or quick bites.

There is something for everyone, even your picky eater. We ate at the Safari Kitchen. We had chicken sandwiches, the kids had kid’s meals and later they had slushies. It was a win win!

Kangaroo Bus

There’s so much to see at the Zoo! The Kangaroo Bus, also the express bus is a non-narrated transportation service that allows you to get on and off at four different locations around the Zoo grounds. Look for a yellow kangaroo on your map or a yellow kangaroo sign on the ground to find the nearest stop. Simply wait at one

Folded strollers may be brought on board if necessary. The Kangaroo Bus is accessed via steps. The ADA Shuttle service can contact the driver of the Kangaroo Bus for assistance if visitors in wheelchairs or other mobility devices are traveling with them.

The Kangaroo Bus is included with all tickets and memberships.

Guided Bus Tour

Go on a narrated, round-trip 35-minute excursion around Zoo grounds in a double-decker bus—and find out more about how they’re conserving species all over the world and what you can do as an ally for animals. The Guided Bus Tour departs from near the Zoo entrance.

No reservation required. This is a first-come, first-served experience.

San Diego Zoo Skyfari

The San Diego Zoo Skyfari is a wonderful place to view the San Diego zoo from above.

San Diego Zoo Skyfari trams
San Diego Zoo Skyfari

You can also see San Diego from this location, which makes it a great place to take pictures. The San Diego zoo skyfari costs between $5 and $7 (one way).

Discovery Cart Tour (Upgraded Experience)

Sit back in your own expedition cart and take a 60-minute guided tour of the Zoo with one of their experienced guides. Your guide will discuss the plants and animals in their care as you explore the Zoo together, as well as how our conservation efforts are making an impact worldwide.

Bring your questions! Step away from the cart for a closer look at some of your favorite animals, and take some stunning photographs as you enjoy this one-of-a-kind Zoo experience.

Your tour guide will transport you in a luxurious vehicle around the Zoo. This is an excellent opportunity for a family outing.

San Diego Zoo Safari train tickets cost $7 (one way).

Terrace Lagoon

Boy Standing at Terrace Lagoon
Terrace Lagoon

In the Terrace Lagoon, there’s usually something blooming.

To keep the garden lagoon remote and peaceful, the doorway, like that of Fern Canyon, is deliberately un noticeable.

Plant enthusiasts, on the other hand, will enjoy the Terrace Lagoon’s lovely array of bamboo, oriental pines, and blooming plants and trees.

San Diego Zoo Nighttime Activities

The San Diego zoo offers many fun nighttime activities, including animal feedings and “zooventures.” Zooventures are special presentations that take place after the zoo closes for the night.

Diego Zoo night activities also include a chance to see the San Diego zoo animals in a unique way.

Animals in Action Experience (upgraded)

For ages 5 and up! Watch as exotic cats climb and leap, among other things. Bring your camera so you can capture the animals in this fun and interactive event as they bring them to you for an up-close encounter.

The expert wildlife behavior experts will also take you behind the scenes to discover more about some of our animal ambassadors. You will

*The animal experiences are subject to change, based on the animals’ health and safety needs.

VIP Experience

The VIP Experience is for all ages and $675 & up per person. The best way to see the San Diego Zoo! The staff will design your trip to match your demands and interests.

Are you seeking for a journey through some of the world’s most secluded regions of the planet’s most popular zoo? The Exclusive VIP Experience gives you access to habitat areas, animal interactions, and personalized attention.

This popular excursion requires a reservation (at least 72 hours) and is subject to availability. To reserve your Exclusive VIP Experience, call 619-718-3000. The price of an Exclusive VIP Experience is per person. Admission is not included; it’s required.

Please note: Animal habitat areas are subject to change based on the health and welfare of the animals.

Customizability: The adventure of a lifetime! All Exclusive VIP Experiences are made to your preferences. It’s ideal for birthdays and other special events, as well as anniversaries.

Africa Rocks

Africa is amazing. It boasts a variety of habitats, from sandy beaches to marshes and forests, as well as rocky highlands, savannas, and mounds. It covers 20% of the planet’s land surface and has unique geology and biodiversity – including 8 of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots – making it an incredible place to visit.

Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks
Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks

Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks, which is housed at the San Diego Zoo, displays some of Africa’s most remarkable creatures as you make your way through six distinct environments.

You will see African penguins, Lemurs, Dwarf Crocodile, African Aviary, Rock Hyrax and Klipspringers and Hamadryas Baboons. You won’t be disappointed. You can also check out the Penguin Cam and the Baboon Cam.

If you’re wondering how long you should stay at the zoo, I would give yourself a good 4-5 hours for a good overview of the zoo.

The zoo is a one-of-a-kind walking tour (a unique walking experience) that shows animals in the most natural way possible, with additional shows and animal presentations throughout the day to pique your interest..

Enjoy a virtual tour online and check out their virtual education program.

Download the map.

You can also check out San Diego Zoo Safari Park where you can get an inside look at the animals in their natural habitats.

girl walking on a bridge
Bridge

If you’re looking for some great things to do in San Diego, head over to the zoo. The best part about this fun activity is that it provides an opportunity to spend time with your family and enjoy learning more about animals of all shapes and sizes. You can even get up close and personal with some of them!

One thing that many people don’t know is that there are two zoos in San Diego County- one at Balboa Park near downtown, which has been around since 1912 when George Tulloch donated his collection of exotic birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians; the other located just outside Escondido where they have a variety of different habitats for their animal residents. Y

ou won’t regret visiting what some people say is the best zoo in the entire world.

*Per guidance from the State of California and County of San Diego:
Facial coverings are recommended for anyone in an indoor space.
Unvaccinated guests are required to wear a facial covering while in any indoor space. 

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