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San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

Open daily 9am - 5pm, hours extended in some months
2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA, 92101

The Basics

The San Diego Zoo is nestled in Balboa Park, a 1,200-acre (486-hectare) urban park filled with loads of cultural and other attractions. Purchase admission tickets to San Diego Zoo in advance and in conjunction with other Balboa Park sights to avoid lines, or with transportation within San Diego or nearby parts of Southern California. Once inside, travelers typically explore the zoo’s bioclimatic zones and exhibits independently or take the 35-minute guided bus tour for an overview of the space. Free shows and presentations are offered throughout the day, while other experiences, including the 4-D theater and carousel, have additional fees to access. Many visitors combine a visit to the zoo with a trip to the San Diego Safari Park, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) away.

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San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
star-4.5
$46.00 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Very good experience. Well worth the money.
Excellent way to get a snapshot view of San Diego. Our narrator, Jardel was very good, added humor in the proper places, spoke very clearly, no problems understanding him at all.
Bob_R, Nov 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in San Diego

star-5
Enjoyable tour
Cheryl_J, Nov 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
The guide was marvelous. Love the tour and the sights. San Diego is beautiful. The trolley is clean and safe.
star-4
Satisfied
Rubi_R, Nov 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
Learned interesting facts about the city. Good way to know where to explore when you're not from the area. Staff really friendly.
star-5
Great tour!
Jennifer_F, Nov 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
The tour guide was fabulous. I enjoyed the various sites on the tour, and I plan to bring a friend with me on my next tour.
star-5
Great tour guides!
Linda_C, Nov 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
This company stands behind their claim of customer satisfaction. The tour guides were funny and knowledgeable. We really enjoyed this experience.
star-5
A must do!
Connie, Nov 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
This was a great experience, especially since I had never been to San Diego. It was a great way to see the different sites.
star-4
The San Diego tour was in...
Susan_U, Nov 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
The San Diego tour was in all excellent and worth the fee. Some tour guides were OK and others were great sharing history, answering questions and giving local advise.
star-5
Seeing the sites
Donna_T, Nov 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
Just seeing San Diego from a different perspective. Enjoying the sites. Being able to get off and tour the area.
star-5
Riding the trolley across...
Brandon_S, Nov 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
Riding the trolley across the bridge to Coronado and seeing the expansive city and port views. The tour guides were all very knowledgeable and had great personalities
star-5
Definitely a tour to take!
Valorie_O, Nov 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
All the stops were amazing! You really get an opportunity to see and hear the history of SD! The ship was amazing highly recommend that stop! The drivers really creator the experience! The bridge was awesome! Will definitely be doing this again! Thank You San Diego! Will visit again soon!
star-5
San Diego Hop on Hop off Trolley is great!
Barbara_C, Nov 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
The tour guides were excellent(Lizz,, James, Scooter, Vinnie), and I like how we could spend time at the places we were interested in.
star-5
Great time
Mike_M, May 2021
San Diego Zoo and Safari Park 2-Visit Pass Ticket, No Reservations Required!
The zoo was very clean and the staff friendly and very helpful. Animals seemed to be healthy and content in they're habitats
star-5
Fun day!
Moena_A, Apr 2021
San Diego Zoo and Safari Park 2-Visit Pass Ticket, No Reservations Required!
Weather and service was great. Cleanliness of the zoo was very good. Felt very comfortable with mask requirement. The food was very good.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Most visitors spend three to four hours at the zoo.

  • The zoo offers services such as fee-based wheelchair rentals and free shuttle bus service for travelers with limited mobility.

  • As the San Diego sun is typically shining, it’s best to wear sunscreen if you plan to be outdoors for most of the day.

  • Fee-based stroller and locker rentals are offered.

  • Those with kids can head to the Children’s Zoo to spend time at the Petting Paddock.

  • Free Wi-Fi is available in the zoo and throughout Balboa Park.

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How to Get There

The San Diego Zoo is located in the northwestern corner of Balboa Park, near the San Diego Museum of Art. Parking is plentiful and free, but note that lots can fill on weekends. Once inside, you can walk, take a bus, or take the Skyfari cable car to easily get around the zoo.

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When to Get There

The zoo is open daily, typically from 9am to 5 or 6pm depending on the season. The best time to visit is in the morning, when the animals are most active. Feedings often also take place at this time. To avoid crowds, try to visit on a weekday.

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Can’t-Miss Sights at the San Diego Zoo

Highlights include the Tiger River bioclimatic exhibit, which realistically re-creates an Asian rain forest environment, and Gorilla Tropics, which does the same with an African rain forest. The koalas are some of the most popular animals to see—and the zoo says theirs is the largest colony outside of Australia. Polar bears and rare giant pandas are other favorites, as is the Absolutely Apes habitat, which has orangutans and siamangs climbing in lush forests. Finally, don’t miss the African Rock Kopje, where klipspringers (small antelopes) dash around the rocky landscape.

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