San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo featuring landscape views, zoo animals and a pond

San Diego Zoo

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See nature up-close and personal at one of the country’s largest and most educational zoos.

Prepare to be amazed and enchanted by the diversity of animal life on display at San Diego Zoo, which welcomes 5 million visitors a year. The 100-acre (40-hectare) site is home to around 4,000 animals from more than 650 species and subspecies. Most exhibits are open air, and designed to be as close to the natural habitats of the animals they house as possible.

Get an up-close view of African native animals such as water buffalos and hogs. Sit among dozens of different species of tropical birds in the two aviaries. There is a real sense of awe watching tigers, elephants and gorillas at such close quarters.

The San Diego Zoo is also a highly successful breeding facility for a number of endangered species, including their famous giant pandas. Watch these heart-warming gentle giants sleep, eat and play at a special walk-through exhibit, the Panda Trek.

Tour buses run through the grounds throughout the day and offer a 35-minute, narrated journey that covers around 70 percent of the zoo’s area. This is a good way to get a feel for the layout before setting off on foot. A lighthearted 50-minute comedy version of the tour is also available. A great option for seeing the entire zoo in a day is purchasing a day pass on the express bus, which stops at five points around the park. Or, hop on the Skyfari, a breathtaking gondola ride above the zoo grounds.

Arrive early to beat the crowds and maybe you’ll see some of the animals being fed. Overcast days can be the most rewarding time to visit, as the animals are known to seek the shade of their caves and indoor respites to hide from the sun.

The zoo has 10 food outlets, including cafés, a full-service restaurant, and stalls that sell take-away sandwiches and hot food. It’s open every day of the year, including public holidays. Closing times differ according to the season, with extended hours during some vacation periods and summer.

Top Hotels Close to San Diego Zoo

Days Inn by Wyndham San Diego Hotel Circle
Days Inn by Wyndham San Diego Hotel Circle
3 out of 5
543 Hotel Circle S, San Diego, CA, 92108
The price is $110 per night from May 24 to May 25
Stay at this 3-star business-friendly hotel in San Diego. Enjoy free WiFi, a fitness center, and onsite parking. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the ...
3.9/5 Very Good! (1,825 reviews)
"Staff very helpful, convenient parking"

Reviewed on May 15, 2022

Days Inn by Wyndham San Diego Hotel Circle
Wyndham San Diego Bayside
Wyndham San Diego Bayside
4 out of 5
1355 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA, 92101
The price is $179 per night from May 30 to May 31
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly hotel in San Diego. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 restaurants, and breakfast. Our guests praise the restaurant and the clean rooms ...
4/5 Very Good! (4,821 reviews)
"The water view from our balcony was great. The room wasn't fancy but certainly nice. The location was perfect as we were able to walk to Little Italy, Petco Park, and the shops/ dining along the bay. The only cons were that the tv didn't allow you to connect to any streaming services and our room ..."

Reviewed on May 15, 2022

Wyndham San Diego Bayside
Porto Vista Hotel
Porto Vista Hotel
3.5 out of 5
1835 Columbia St, San Diego, CA, 92101
The price is $139 per night from May 30 to May 31
Stay at this 3.5-star business-friendly hotel in San Diego. Enjoy free WiFi, a rooftop terrace, and breakfast. Our guests praise the restaurant and the comfy ...
3.4/5 Good! (948 reviews)
"The property was suitable for our needs. The room was comfortable. Only issue would be the bathroom. It would be nice if they installed a vanity to put your personal items on."

Reviewed on May 11, 2022

Porto Vista Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near San Diego Zoo

Days Inn by Wyndham San Diego Hotel Circle
Days Inn by Wyndham San Diego Hotel Circle
3 out of 5
543 Hotel Circle S, San Diego, CA, 92108
The price is $110 per night from May 24 to May 25
Days Inn by Wyndham San Diego Hotel Circle
Wyndham San Diego Bayside
Wyndham San Diego Bayside
4 out of 5
1355 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA, 92101
The price is $179 per night from May 30 to May 31
Wyndham San Diego Bayside
Porto Vista Hotel
Porto Vista Hotel
3.5 out of 5
1835 Columbia St, San Diego, CA, 92101
The price is $139 per night from May 30 to May 31
Porto Vista Hotel
Amazing 2br/1ba Near Balboa Park & SD Zoo by Domio
Amazing 2br/1ba Near Balboa Park & SD Zoo by Domio
3.5 out of 5
3438 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA, 92103
Amazing 2br/1ba Near Balboa Park & SD Zoo by Domio
The Zen Garden close to all, Zoo, Parks, Restaurants, Shops, Nightlife and more.
The Zen Garden close to all, Zoo, Parks, Restaurants, Shops, Nightlife and more.
San Diego, CA
The price is $154 per night from Jun 6 to Jun 7
The Zen Garden close to all, Zoo, Parks, Restaurants, Shops, Nightlife and more.
Hillcrest Canyon Oasis
Hillcrest Canyon Oasis
San Diego, CA
The price is $152 per night from May 30 to May 31
Hillcrest Canyon Oasis
Sutra in Hillcrest has the most amazing location near all 5 min from Downtown
Sutra in Hillcrest has the most amazing location near all 5 min from Downtown
San Diego, CA
Sutra in Hillcrest has the most amazing location near all 5 min from Downtown
The Hideaway is the best kept secret in San Diego come and explore....
The Hideaway is the best kept secret in San Diego come and explore....
San Diego, CA
The Hideaway is the best kept secret in San Diego come and explore....
Inn At The Park
Inn At The Park
3 out of 5
525 Spruce St, San Diego, CA, 92103
Inn At The Park
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.