There have been many times that I have spent all day at the San Diego Zoo, but you have to judge how many of the 4,000 rare and endangered animal (and 700,000 exotic plants) you, and your little ones want to see in one visit. Or, decide to just see the Pandas and Koalas.
There are several zoo bus tours to help you see most of it and there is the Skyfari Aerial Tram to get a bird's eye view. Walking will get you up close and personal with the animals, but be warned, the zoo covers 100 acres (40 hectares) with miles of trails.
If you don't line up at your hotel's free breakfast buffet before you go, consider Flamingo Café for powered French toast, fresh juice and coffee. Located just inside the Zoo's entrance.
For lunch, do not miss Albert's. Located in the Treehouse complex next to Gorilla Tropics, Albert's offers great food in an extraordinary atmosphere, including open-air deck seating overlooking a private waterfall. Make reservations when you get to the zoo or call ahead at 619-685-3200. You won't be sorry.
Two shows twice a day you don't want to miss: at 11 and 3 there is the Sea Lion Show - It Began with a Roar featuring performing California Sea Lions; and at Noon and 2 The Wild Ones - Legends & Lore of both predators and prey from around the world.
Even if you don't have children with you, visit the Children's Zoo. A zoo within a zoo with 30 special animal exhibits for the young at heart. The Petting Paddock gets you literally in touch with sheep and goats and who doesn't love the crazy antics of the spider monkeys? The naked mole-rats always get giggles. Oddly, something you will always remember is the the Mouse House. No, not Mickey, real mice who live in specially prepared huge loaf of bread. A fresh loaf is provided for the mouse residents once a week. One of my fondest childhood memories, imagining how it would be to live in a loaf of bread.
Just outside the east exit of the zoo is one of my favorite park attractions: the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad which is now operated by the San Diego Zoo. I remember riding this as a child and it still brings out the child in me each time I ride it. The train pulls out of the station for 3-minute rides that simulate a train ride through San Diego's back country. This is the best $2 you can spend in San Diego.
Discount Zoo Tickets & Tours - Map of the area - PDF map of the zoo
Hotels near the San Diego Zoo
Book online or call 1-800-632-3303 to speak with a travel expert.
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