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San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo Planning Guide

San Diego Zoo is one of the many must-see attractions in Southern California. A pioneer of cageless exhibits, the zoo has been open to the public for over 100 years and houses more than 3,500 animals of 650 different incredible species.

With so much to see and do, carefully planning your visit is essential. This comprehensive San Diego Zoo planning guide is designed to help you take advantage of everything this beloved attraction has to offer.

Park Highlights

San Diego Zoo features various wonderfully unique experiences and attractions.

Africa Rocks is acan’t-miss and is one of the latest projects undertaken at the zoo. It features six different venues that showcase the extraordinary biodiversity found across the African continent. Each of the habitats showcases an incredible backdrop of prehistoric rocks that are unique to the area they represent as well as a “headlining” animal found in the region.

The first exhibition, Cape Fynbos, represents the area in South Africa that bears the same name. Here, you’ll find endangered African penguins swimming alongside leopard sharks in beautiful rock pools.

Next in line is the Acacia Woodland exhibit. Named for the Acacia tree found across Africa’s savanna, in this habitat, you’ll come face to face with elegant leopards and mischievous vervet monkeys.

After this, move on to the Madagascar Forest exhibit, where you’ll find ring-tailed lemurs as well as one of their natural predators, the fossa.

Continue your impressive tour through Africa Rocks in the Ethiopian Highlands, home to the hamadryas gelada baboon, a species of old-world monkey, and the Nubian ibex.

Next up is the Kopje Woodlands exhibit with its meerkats and mongeese. Finally, the exhibition is brought to a close in the West African Forest, where you’ll have the opportunity to see one of the world’s smallest crocodiles, the West African dwarf crocodile.

Tips & Tricks

To get the most out of your visit to the San Diego Zoo, make sure you are well prepared.

The zoo and habitats are among some of the biggest and most expansive in the world. However, in keeping with their commitment to environmentalism and sustainable tourism practices, paper maps are not available at the park.

To help you navigate and manage your time, consider downloading the San Diego Zoo app, which is available for both iPhone and Android. The handy app includes a GPS-enabled map that allows users to navigate effortlessly throughout the park.

Additionally, consider signing up for the zoo newsletter to keep up-to-date with new attractions and habitats. Conversely, if you prefer to keep your email inbox clear, you can also follow one of the parks’ many social media accounts to stay in the loop concerning animal and park news.

The zoo’s website also features live video footage of some of the exhibits. Check these out before you visit to help you to prioritize and determine which habitats most appeal to you.

One of the top tips to follow to get the most out of your next visit to San Diego Zoo is to purchase a combo ticket that grants admission to both the zoo and San Diego Safari Park. Somevisitors make the mistake of assuming their general zoo admission ticket is good for both parks. However, this is not the case, and purchasing a combo ticket will ensure you get the full, immersive San Diego wildlife experience.

Every year from October 1 – 31st, kids go free. C, children aged 11 and under receive free admission to both the San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park when visiting with a paying adult in honor of the founding of the San Diego Zoo.

Park Layout

Park Layout

The park is laid out logically, but it is important to take a look at the layout before your trip, so you have a basic understanding of where the exhibits are located.

For those who do not download the app, you do have the option of downloading a PDF copy of the map from the website to your smart device or printing it out to have on hand.

You may also want to consider touring the park in a counter-clockwise direction to ensure you can fully experience the entirety of the Africa Rocks habitat first thing in the morning. Because it is the newest zoo feature, this exhibit will be the most popular among visitors during your visit to the park, and it will likely be busiest around the middle of the day.

A great way to start your visit to the San Diego Zoo is the guided double decker bus tour. This tour is narrated and allows you to hear about animals from the experts. Your guides will share insights about all sorts of fun facts including when the best time is the best time of day to see some of the animals would be. Another can’t miss experience is the Skyfari Aerial Tram. This is a great way to get from one end of the park and soak in the beauty of the zoo grounds and those of the surrounding balboa park.

Directions & Parking Tips

San Diego Zoo is easily accessible from all major roads and highways in San Diego. Make sure you visit the website before you set off to get up-to-date directions and traffic conditions.

Parking at the zoo is complimentary, but you will need to arrive early to get a good spot.

Discount Ticket Options from aRes Travel

You have access to various incredible tickets, packages, combo deals and more when you book through aRes Travel for your next trip to the San Diego Zoo.

Whether you are looking to purchase a 1-Day ala carte pass or a combo deal that includes tickets to some of San Diego’s premier tourist attractions, aRes Travel has got you covered.

For a fun-filled visit to San Diego, purchase the Go San Diego® Card. Available in 1–7-Day pass values, this fantastic ticket grants access to five of the most popular attractions in San Diego, including:

  • The San Diego Zoo
  • The San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • LEGOLAND® California
  • Knott’s Berry Farm
  • Knott’s Soak City Waterpark

Alternatively, with aRes Travel’s combo deals, you can choose to combine your visit to San Diego Zoo with a trip to Sea World® San Diego, the San Diego Trolley Tour, or even a trip to the USS Midway Museum.

Where to Stay

When it comes to finding prime accommodation with easy access to the San Diego Zoo and a host of other amenities, aRes Travel’s hotel package deals are the perfect solution.

Booking a hotel package with aRes Travel allows you to save money on your admission to San Diego Zoo and the hotel. In fact, you can even bundle your stay with other attractions for an up 40% discount on the regular price of your hotel stay.

But these discount prices don’t mean you’re locked into limited hotel choices. aRes Travel works with a wide range of hotels in the San Diego area to offer exclusive deals to their customers. With aRes Travel, you have access to more than 350 hotels, including 5-star stays, all across the San Diego area.

For exclusive deals on inexpensive San Diego Zoo tickets, amazing savings on packages and hotels, and some of the lowest prices on travel call 1 (800) 434-7894 (international callers use +1 (619) 546-5622) to speak with an aRes Travel planning expert seven days a week or book online now.

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