Tips & Tricks For Visiting The San Diego Zoo

We visited the San Diego Zoo for the first time back in 2014. Carter was two and I was 7 months pregnant with Kennedy. It was a warm day. It was A LOT of walking and after we left the zoo Blake and I said never again. Here we are 8 years later back at the San Diego Zoo. We decided to try it one more time, but honestly after today I think I will be just fine if we never visit again. That's not to say we had a bad time, because it was honestly a very fun-filled day and we got to see a ton of animals that aren't typically at most smaller zoos.  But once you've seen it all, I really don't think there's a good reason to return. It is a very large zoo and it is very hard to navigate their map and app. Everything is so spread out and it is very expensive. Our family of four for 1 day zoo tickets were $248.00! I think that is a lot for zoo tickets. I do have some helpful tips and tricks and we did have a lot of fun so come check it out!

The San Diego Zoo is world famous and it is a treat for all ages. There is something for everyone. You will see thousands of different animals and thousands of different plant species. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to know before you go.

Check out the website before you visit:

There are always interesting things happening at the zoo, so check the schedule for events and animal feedings for the day before you visit. The zoo is open rain or shine and hours are 9am to 9pm. Parking is free, which is really nice. The zoo is located at 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA 92101 You can also download the zoo map on the app. I did find this app confusing, but it lists special experiences and other info that might be helpful.

Be prepared:

Prepare for lots of sun and walking: Bring sunglasses, sunscreen, hats, lots of water and snacks. Wear comfortable walking shoes and you can bring in your own food and drinks. So maybe pack your own lunches that way you save a little money and you are prepared with food and you don't have to stop and find a place that everyone agrees upon.


You can rent single and double strollers. There are quarter operated lockers, wheelchairs, and motorized wheelchairs. You can also store luggage that won't fit into lockers at $15 per piece. All are available at Front Street Rentals near the entrance.

Arrive early:

The zoo opens at 9am and I think it is best to arrive early. Find a great parking spot and enjoy the zoo first thing in the mooring while it is not too busy and the weather might be a little cooler in the morning.

Ride the Skyfari tram:

This is also included in your admission ticket.  This gondola ride will give you an amazing aerial view of the zoo and Balboa Park.

Take the Kangaroo Express Bus:

Believe me, your feet will get tired so explore the zoo by bus. It is a hop on hop off bus and with several stops in different areas. You can get from one habitat to another.

Hopefully some of the tips and tricks will help you if you plan on visiting soon.  The zoo is beautiful, but it is big.  Our favorites were seeing the koalas and red pandas!

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