Insider's Guide to San Diego

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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5 star rating: Highly Recommended 113 Reviews

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  • Location:San Diego, California
  • Duration:Flexible

San Diego Zoo

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Save 10% on the combined admissions when you book a 2-Visit Pass!

Meet some of the world's most exotic animals with your admission ticket to the renowned San Diego Zoo, one of California's top family-friendly attractions. More than 4,000 animals representing 800 species live in this state-of-the-art zoo, including some that are rarely seen at other zoos. Admire the animals and go in-depth during daily keeper talks and guided bus tours. Upgrade to choose the 2-visit pass, which provides admission for either a second day at the San Diego Zoo or a visit to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.


  • Admission to the San Diego Zoo
  • Marvel at the diverse collection of animals including many that are on the endangered species list
  • See some of the zoo's 4,000 animal residents, including koalas, giraffes and great apes
  • Enjoy the popular giant panda exhibits
  • Take a complimentary guided bus tour for a comprehensive introduction to the zoo
  • Upgrade to the 2-visit pass for an additional day at the zoo or a visit to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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What You Can Expect

San Diego Zoo

Parma Wallaby at San Diego Zoo

After making your own way to the San Diego Zoo on the day of your choice, you can head into the zoo's visitor center to pick up a map and plan your route through this acclaimed zoo. The animals live in spacious and beautifully designed enclosures that replicate their natural habitats. The koala and giant panda exhibits are always popular, as are the orangutans and siamangs that climb around in lush forest settings.

Other highlights include the Tiger River exhibit, which features a realistic Asian rainforest environment, and the Gorilla Tropics, which recreates a lush African rainforest. Zoo keeper talks take place at regular intervals every day, with the experts introducing animals such as giraffes, elephants, wolves, lions or jaguars, and more. In the animal nursery, you might get to see some of the zoo’s newest arrivals.

Kids enjoy petting small tame critters in the Petting Paddock and four different play zones provide a safe and entertaining spot to climb and explore.

As you make your way through the zoo, note the extensive gardens — some of the plants growing there supply ingredients for the specialized diets of particular zoo residents.

Upgrade for the 2-visit pass in order to either spend another day at the San Diego Zoo, or use the second visit for admission to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, located about 35 miles (55 km) away from the zoo.

Some of the activities available at San Diego Zoo include:

  • Kangaroo Bus: Hop on and off at four stops throughout the Zoo, the perfect way to cover longer distances within the zoo. Buses come around approximately every 15 minutes. (included)
  • Guided Bus Tour: Hop aboard the double-decker bus for a 35-minute tour that covers a large percentage of the sprawling zoo. It's a great way to get an overview of all that you can do, then you decide where to go from there. (included)
  • Skyfari Aerial Tram: Ride in an enclosed tram that takes you over the trees to the other end of the zoo. Enjoy spectacular views of the animals and gardens, and surrounding Balboa Park. (own expense)
  • 4-D Theater: Popular kids movies show in 4-D. Not only can you see and hear the movie, but the action surrounds you with effects that stimulate the sense of touch and smell. (own expense)
  • Balboa Park Miniature Railroad: Kids can take a three-minute ride around a portion of Balboa Park. (own expense)

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Customer Reviews

Claire D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

We loved San Diego Zoo and Safari Park and had a very close encounter with the 2 Pandas.

robert c

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

Wonderful experience.!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

I only booked admission tickets for the zoo with Viator so can't comment on the whole tour. There were no issues with exchanging the Viator voucher at the zoo entrance and we had a great day at the zoo.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

Loved the zoo! This was one of the highlights of our California vacation. My daughter rated it her favorite of the whole trip!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

I dislike animals in captivity, but the newer enclosures were fantastic. As everyone else has said get the round trip bus tour first and then use the hop on hop off Kangaroo bus together with the escalators to minimise steep uphill climbs

Joyce M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

We very impressed

George C United Kingdom

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

Excellent place to visit. Loads too do and see.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

We had a wonderful time. It was so beautiful there and so clean. everyone that works there is so helpful. you need more that one day. there is a lot of walking and we got wore out , so we didn't get to see everything. I was so happy we got to see the beautiful grounds from the gondola ride.

Doris G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

We were glad to take a bus scenic tour since the park is so huge, and we only allotted half a day's time for it. That way, we could choose which areas we wanted to concentrate on. We were fortunate enough to see a couple koalas awake and eating since they're only awake one hour a day!!

Dani Argentina

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

This is my third time at the zoo and it was just as great as the first time. There is so much to see and learn about. The highlight of our trip were the koalas, who are absolutely adorable. I took my family from Argentina and they loved it. The San Diego zoo is a guaranteed great outing for children and adults

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Tour code: 3097ZOO_TR


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