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Book San Diego Zoo Holidays
Holiday Travel Guide

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 things to do in San Diego Zoo

Top Trending Hotels Near San Diego Zoo

Wyndham San Diego Bayside
Wyndham San Diego Bayside
4 out of 5
1355 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA
The price is £97 per night from 18 Apr to 19 Apr

Located in Downtown San Diego, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of USS Midway Museum and Balboa Park. San Diego Convention Center and San Diego Zoo are also ...

4/5Very Good! (3,346 reviews)

"Some rooms faced other hotel rooms, which was very uncomfortable and we didn’t realize it would be like that. Luckily the lady at the front desk upgraded our rooms, upon further inspection our original room had less pillows, lamps, and amenities than our upgraded room which was honestly weird. Besides ..."…"

Reviewed on 10 Apr 2021

Wyndham San Diego Bayside
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
4 out of 5
1 Market Pl, San Diego, CA
The price is £161 per night from 12 Apr to 13 Apr

Located in Downtown San Diego, this romantic hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Seaport Village, San Diego Convention Center, and USS Midway Museum. Port of ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (2,786 reviews)

"Be aware they charge you a $50 per night destination charge in addition to the prepaid expedia hotel charge. Restaurants or bars in hotel are not open, due to pandemic. Beautiful, clean hotel with great view and very convenient location. Walking distance to Ocean front boardwalk and gaslamp ..."…"

Reviewed on 10 Apr 2021

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown
Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown
4 out of 5
601 Pacific Hwy, San Diego, CA
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is £117 per night from 25 Apr to 26 Apr

This family-friendly San Diego hotel is located on the waterfront, within a 10-minute walk of Seaport Village, USS Midway Museum and Navy Pier. Port of San Diego ...

4.2/5Excellent! (1,434 reviews)

"The location of the hotel is outstanding. It is right across the street from restaurants, half a block away from Seaport Village, and walking distance to USS Midway (although we didn’t go there). It is close enough to walk to Little Italy and Gaslamp, but not with little kids. The pool was closed ..."…"

Reviewed on 10 Apr 2021

Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown
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.

Top San Diego Zoo Flight + Hotel Deals

Kona Kai Resort & Spa, A Noble House Resort
Solamar San Diego
San Diego Mission Bay Resort
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Reviews of San Diego Zoo

4.6

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
31
5 - Excellent 65.95744680851064%
4 - Good
13
4 - Good 27.659574468085108%
3 - Okay
2
3 - Okay 4.25531914893617%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
1
1 - Terrible 2.127659574468085%

1/5 - Terrible

Verified traveller

19 Sep 2019

Didn't go as don't agree with zoos

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

14 Jul 2019

One of the best Zoo's we've visited. An excellent day. Don't forget the suncream

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

9 Apr 2019

Need a whole day to really see all there is there

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

12 Feb 2019

Food sucks at the Zoo. Overpriced and pathetic food. Animals not many but presentstion is magnificent.

Read travel guides and advice on visiting San Diego Zoo

A City Video Guide of San Diego

A City Video Guide of San Diego

A City Video Guide of San Diego

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Top Hotel Deals

Wyndham San Diego Bayside
Wyndham San Diego Bayside
4 out of 5
1355 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA
The price is £97 per night from 18 Apr to 19 Apr
Wyndham San Diego Bayside
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
4 out of 5
1 Market Pl, San Diego, CA
The price is £161 per night from 12 Apr to 13 Apr
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown
Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown
4 out of 5
601 Pacific Hwy, San Diego, CA
The price is £117 per night from 25 Apr to 26 Apr
Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown
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
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.
1518 Myrtle Ave, San Diego, CA
The price is £205 per night from 19 Apr to 20 Apr
The Zen Garden close to all, Zoo, Parks, Restaurants, Shops, Nightlife and more.
Hillcrest Canyon Oasis
Hillcrest Canyon Oasis
1512 Myrtle Ave, San Diego, CA
The price is £203 per night from 12 Apr to 13 Apr
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
1522 Myrtle Ave, 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...
1520 Myrtle Ave, San Diego, CA
The Hideaway is the Best Kept Secret in San Diego Come and Explore...
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
4 out of 5
333 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA
The price is £157 per night from 16 Apr to 17 Apr
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
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.