San Diego Zoo

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

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

Wyndham San Diego Bayside
Wyndham San Diego Bayside
4 out of 5
1355 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA
The price is ¥15,392 per night from Feb 2 to Feb 3
Located in Downtown San Diego, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of USS Midway Museum, Balboa Park, and San Diego Convention Center. San Diego Zoo and Harbor ...
4/5 Very Good! (4,745 reviews)
"Love it how it how everytging is close to the area. Only dislike parking is not free."

Reviewed on Jan 24, 2022

Wyndham San Diego Bayside
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
4 out of 5
1 Market Pl, San Diego, CA
Fully refundable
The price is ¥19,598 per night from Feb 11 to Feb 12
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. Petco Park ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (3,422 reviews)
"The property is huge in a great location next to Seapirt Billage and the Bay. Pool areas are locely. Hotel is looking a little dated, could definitely use a refresh in yhe lobby, meeting rooms, and guest rooms, particularly the bathrooms. Our BA didnt have a fan or a wibdow, which Im sure is not ..."

Reviewed on Jan 24, 2022

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Legacy Resort Hotel & Spa
Legacy Resort Hotel & Spa
4 out of 5
875 Hotel Circle South, San Diego, CA
The price is ¥17,323 per night from Feb 8 to Feb 9
Located in Mission Valley, this spa hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Hotel Circle, Balboa Park, and Old Town San Diego State Park. University of San Diego and ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (791 reviews)
"Everything was great!"

Reviewed on Jan 24, 2022

Legacy Resort Hotel & Spa
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.

Popular places to visit in San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo


Best Lodging Options Near San Diego Zoo

Porto Vista Hotel
Porto Vista Hotel
3.5 out of 5
1835 Columbia St, San Diego, CA
The price is ¥11,772 per night from Jan 27 to Jan 28
Porto Vista Hotel
Wyndham San Diego Bayside
Wyndham San Diego Bayside
4 out of 5
1355 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA
The price is ¥15,392 per night from Feb 2 to Feb 3
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 ¥19,598 per night from Feb 11 to Feb 12
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Legacy Resort Hotel & Spa
Legacy Resort Hotel & Spa
4 out of 5
875 Hotel Circle South, San Diego, CA
The price is ¥17,323 per night from Feb 8 to Feb 9
Legacy Resort Hotel & Spa
Four Points by Sheraton San Diego Downtown Little Italy
Four Points by Sheraton San Diego Downtown Little Italy
3 out of 5
1617 1st Avenue, San Diego, CA
The price is ¥14,424 per night from Jan 30 to Jan 31
Four Points by Sheraton San Diego Downtown Little Italy
Hard Rock Hotel San Diego
Hard Rock Hotel San Diego
4 out of 5
207 5th Ave, San Diego, CA
The price is ¥22,664 per night from Jan 27 to Jan 28
Hard Rock Hotel San Diego
Hotel Indigo Gaslamp Quarter, an IHG Hotel
Hotel Indigo Gaslamp Quarter, an IHG Hotel
4 out of 5
509 9th Ave, San Diego, CA
The price is ¥17,539 per night from Jan 30 to Jan 31
Hotel Indigo Gaslamp Quarter, an IHG Hotel
Inn At The Park
Inn At The Park
3 out of 5
525 Spruce St, San Diego, CA
Inn At The Park
Omni San Diego Hotel
Omni San Diego Hotel
4 out of 5
675 L St, San Diego, CA
The price is ¥17,342 per night from Jan 28 to Jan 29
Omni San Diego 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.