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16 Essential Tips For Your First Visit At The San Diego Zoo

Koalas and Komodos. Camels and condors. Rhinos and reindeer. The checklist of animals at the San Diego Zoo is very long, and for most people, it takes additional than a working day to see them all. From elephants to invertebrates, the zoo is home to extra than 12,000 creatures spread throughout a 100-acre park. Miles of paved paths and streets criss-cross the zoo, wandering by means of places symbolizing habitats from tropical rainforests to the Arctic. 

That’s essentially aspect of the enjoyment. “If you go see the tigers, you come to feel like you are going for walks via a trail in Africa,” claimed Zoo Ambassador Rick Schwartz. “If you go see the polar bears, you sense like you are in the Arctic.”

With so a great deal to see and floor to go over, how do you make the most of your check out? We talked with Schwartz to come across out the responses. Below is his assistance, additionally other ideas and methods to make your vacation to the San Diego Zoo a roaring accomplishment.

Notice: The San Diego Zoo generously hosted my take a look at. All viewpoints are my have. 

1. Obtain The App

In advance of you take a look at the zoo, the first issue to do is down load the San Diego Zoo app (located on the App Retail outlet and Google Enjoy) to your smartphone, Schwartz advised. That is the place you will find the most up-to-date info on hrs, admission prices, and specific occasions, such as wildlife treatment professional talks. You can also go to the zoo web-site.

The application has a reward: You can locate your favourite animals (just faucet on the map in the qualifications) and conserve them (faucet the as well as sign in the higher suitable) to your planner (the clipboard icon at the base of the display). Each individual animal webpage will also notify you to wildlife care professional talks, if there is a single. Paper maps are accessible just inside the admission gate. 

California Condor spreading wings open wide.
California Condor (Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo)

2. Plan To See Your Favourite Animals

With so quite a few unique animals to see, it is valuable to established priorities. Make a approach for traveling to your favored animals and new parts of the zoo, this sort of as the immersive Wildlife Explorers Basecamp. The planner in the application can report your need to-see animals and present information and facts about them. The application and the zoo map (observed in printable PDF variety) can demonstrate you where they are positioned. 

Verify to see if there are any wildlife treatment specialist talks. Look out for for particular talks and up-close activities, which are out there for an further price. 

“If you don’t have a most loved, choose the bus tour and see what strikes your fancy,” Schwartz suggests. 

Skyfari Aerial Tram over the Treetops complex.
June Russell-Chamberlin

3. Strategize Your Route 

Now that you know what animals you really don’t want to miss out on, it is time to strategize your route to make the most of your time and limit tiring uphill hikes. With the animals’ areas marked on the zoo map, you can strategy your working day to cut down the distances and uphills you will walk as you go from a single section of the park to a further. 

You can also use the map to place stairs, the aerial tram route, the Kangaroo Bus stops, and the elevators that will be critical to navigating the park. Unlimited use of these is included in the admission price. 

You’ll uncover the elevators at the Treetops sophisticated, the conclude of the Bashor Bridge, and in which the Monkey Trail and Tiger Trail meet. The double-decker Kangaroo bus stops are also marked on the map. It’s not simple to location the hills on the map, but the tram, bus, and elevators allow you to stay away from most uphill treks. For a lot more help arranging a route, prevent by the data booth on Entrance Road. 

4. Don Good Walking Footwear

Even with the aerial tram and the in-park shuttle bus, seeing the animals is even now heading to get some walking. “My selection just one idea is to wear snug shoes,” Schwartz explained. “The most important blunder is putting on beach sandals mainly because you’re planning on likely to the seashore later on.” 

Sun hats hanging on a rack.
June Russell-Chamberlin

5. Use Sun Defense

“The other [big mistake] is not placing on sunscreen,” Schwartz reported. San Diego’s mild weather conditions does not feel way too warm, but a day in the sunlight will however depart you purple as a lobster. Retailers together Front Street, just inside the gate, sell a wide variety of sunhats, sunglasses, and sunscreen if you really don’t carry your very own.

Entrance to the San Diego Zoo.
San Diego Zoo

6. Hire Some Wheels

Wheelchairs, strollers, and motorized scooters are all readily available on Entrance Avenue, to the left of the entrance gate. They are available on a very first occur, initially served basis. An ADA shuttle is also out there for visitors with mobility difficulties. More data about San Diego Zoo solutions can be observed at the website or the information and facts booth (to the ideal of the entrance, close to the bus excursions indication). Guided cart excursions are also accessible for a price.

Stroller & Wheelchair Rental Counter.
June Russell-Chamberlin

7. Lighten Your Load

You really do not have to haul your lunch, coats, baggage, and other items about with you all day. Lockers are on Front Road to the still left of the entrance if they are out of purchase, the stroller rental counter can retail store your products for a payment. Be aware that there aren’t any pet dog kennels, and the zoo has a demanding no-dog coverage. Only trained information pet dogs are authorized in the park. 

8. Get Tickets In Advance

The wonderful benefit of purchasing tickets in progress is that you get to skip the line and go straight into the zoo. You can invest in tickets on the net for a single working day at the zoo, many days, or both of those the zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The zoo also offers the San Diego 3-for-1 Pass, which involves the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and SeaWorld San Diego. 

Wildlife Explorers Basecamp.
Wildlife Explorers Basecamp (Picture Credit score: San Diego Zoo)

9. Help save On Admission

The zoo’s San Diego 3-for-1 Go is not the only move that delivers financial savings on admission by combining the zoo with other sights. A few to look at out: San Diego CityPASS, Go San Diego Move, and the Go City Move. You need to invest in tickets at the gate and display proper identification to obtain the veterans’ or AAA membership price reduction on admission. The San Diego Zoo does not give reciprocity for users of other zoos.

10. Get There Early

Acquiring to the zoo as shortly as it opens has a number of pros: less complicated parking, shorter traces, and cooler temperatures. It also makes it much easier to rent a wheelchair or motorized scooter. But the most important rationale to go early is that the animals are most lively in the mornings and evenings. 

11. Try to remember In which You Parked Your Vehicle

It’s a massive parking good deal. Choose observe (or a image) of the row you parked in so when you are weary after a extensive working day discovering, you do not have to work much too tricky to bear in mind exactly where you still left the motor vehicle — primarily a rental car that you are not likely to acknowledge anyway. 

Polar Bear coming up from the water.
June Russell-Chamberlin

12. Consider The Totally free Bus Tour

The free of charge 30-moment bus tour (to the ideal of the entrance) is a excellent way to get an general look at of the park, to see what regions you could possibly want to explore later on. It is not a hop-on-and-off bus which is the Kangaroo Bus, which is also free of charge. Check out to sit on the appropriate facet of the bus the polar bears are on the remaining, but most other animals are on the ideal. 

Albert's Restaurant
San Diego Zoo

13. Browse The Menus

The zoo has 20 venues with food items and drinks — together with wine and beer — however they may not all be open when you pay a visit to. Go through by way of the menus on the net ahead of you go and decide on a couple of lunch options, so when hunger strikes you know exactly where to go. If you want to love wonderful eating at Albert’s, it hardly ever hurts to make reservations. 

14. Convey Your Have Lunch And Treats

You can deliver your individual lunches, treats, and drinks to the zoo. This can be in particular handy if you have allergies or exclusive dietary wants. Lunch bags can be stored in lockers or checked at the stroller rental counter (for a rate) if you really don’t want to have them all working day. Depart the huge coolers at home.  

15. Reserve A Particular Encounter

For a definitely unforgettable day, reserve just one of the up-shut or guiding-the-scenes encounters at the zoo. Shell out the early morning with cheetahs, discover far more about other cats, or get a one of a kind watch of the animals at the zoo with 90-moment Within Look tours. Reserve these specific activities in advance. The price of tours and experiences may differ. 

16. Make A Day Of It

Schwartz’s ultimate piece of tips? Provide the complete relatives, and consider your time discovering the zoo. “It’s 1 of the things we can all do it collectively. That’s just one of the good matters about it,” he mentioned. “Plan to invest a entire day to really enjoy it.”

Can’t get plenty of San Diego? Here’s additional to make your pay a visit to to America’s Best Metropolis a achievements: