From wolf to woof (courtesy, Zoological Society of San Diego)

The San Diego Zoo is one of the most spectacular zoos in the United States and a not-to-miss attraction if visiting San Diego. The world-renowned zoo, which since 1921 has been located on a 100-acre plot in Balboa Park, is home to more than 4,000 animals and 800 unique species. Visitors flock to see the giant pandas—on loan from a zoo in China—in Panda Canyon. Not just a bunch of animal pens, the zoo is dedicated to the conservation of endangered species, and its Institute for Conservation Research rears pandas, tigers, rhinos, and several other endangered species. It was home to the giant panda to survive in captivity, born in 1999, and has birthed four other panda cubs in the decade since, including the most recent, Yun Zi, in August 2009. You won't want to miss the Lost Forest, filled with exotic and endangered wildlife ranging from gorillas and orangutan to hippos and otters. Other impressive attractions include the 2.5-acre elephant habitat with a nine-elephant herd and the largest colony of koalas outside of Australia. And be sure to pay attention to the amazing array of plant life on the zoo's grounds. The San Diego Zoo is immense, with plenty of ground to cover in a single day. Get out of the midday sun by taking a ride in the guided tour bus that covers nearly three-quarters of the park's grounds, or hop on a Skyfari gondola for an aerial view of the animal habitats. Andrew Robinton

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Expert Review of San Diego Zoo

Family Review of San Diego Zoo

Away Travel Expert: Cameron Walker
expert favorite Family Expert Favorite
FamilyExpert Rating 5.0 out of 5 Recommended for:
Children aged 0 - 2 , 3 - 5 and 6 - 12
FamilyExpert Tips & Helpful Hints
  • The San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park are known for their breeding programs—which gives visitors the chance to see babies of many species. Check the daily schedule: some young animals have limited viewing hours.
  • If you're feeling daunted by the zoo's size, climb on a double-decker bus for a guided tour—bus fare is included with a one-day pass—for a preview of the exhibits you'd like to revisit.
Tucked inside Balboa Park near downtown, the San Diego Zoo feels like a tropical oasis. The rainbow feathers of birds flash overhead in airy aviaries. A gorilla sits sunning himself next to a waterfall. Pandas munch on bamboo, and a panda cub

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Balboa Park
2920 Zoo Dr
San Diego, California 92101
Parking: Sept to mid-June daily 9am-4pm (grounds close at 5 or 6pm); mid-June to Aug daily 9am-8pm (grounds close at 9pm)
Price: Admission $24.50 adults, $16.50 children 3-11, free for military in uniform; "Best Value" package (admission, guided bus tour, round-trip Skyfari aerial tram) $34 adults, $31 seniors, $24 children

Visitor Information

Telephone Number: 619-231-1515 (Toll free 800-407-9534)
Transportation: Bus: 7. I-5 S. to Pershing Dr., follow signs
Price Information: Admission $24.50 adults, $16.50 children 3-11, free for military in uniform; "Best Value" package (admission, guided bus tour, round-trip Skyfari aerial tram) $34 adults, $31 seniors, $24 children
The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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