May 19, 2022

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

7 min read

Koalas and Komodos. Camels and condors. Rhinos and reindeer. The record of animals at the San Diego Zoo is long, and for most people today, it requires extra than a day to see them all. From elephants to invertebrates, the zoo is house to far more than 12,000 creatures spread throughout a 100-acre park. Miles of paved paths and roads criss-cross the zoo, wandering through parts symbolizing habitats from tropical rainforests to the Arctic. 

Which is in fact aspect of the entertaining. “If you go see the tigers, you feel like you are going for walks as a result of a trail in Africa,” claimed Zoo Ambassador Rick Schwartz. “If you go see the polar bears, you feel like you are in the Arctic.”

With so significantly to see and floor to go over, how do you make the most of your stop by? We talked with Schwartz to obtain out the solutions. In this article is his assistance, in addition other strategies and tips to make your vacation to the San Diego Zoo a roaring achievements.

Observe: The San Diego Zoo generously hosted my visit. All opinions are my very own. 

1. Download The App

Ahead of you visit the zoo, the 1st matter to do is download the San Diego Zoo application (uncovered on the App Store and Google Engage in) to your smartphone, Schwartz suggested. That is the place you will locate the most up-to-date facts on hours, admission selling prices, and unique gatherings, this kind of as wildlife treatment professional talks. You can also go to the zoo website.

The application has a reward: You can find your most loved animals (just faucet on the map in the track record) and help you save them (tap the plus indication in the higher right) to your planner (the clipboard icon at the base of the display screen). Every single animal web page will also notify you to wildlife care professional talks, if there is 1. Paper maps are accessible just within the admission gate. 

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

2. Prepare To See Your Beloved Animals

With so a lot of exotic animals to see, it’s helpful to set priorities. Make a prepare for traveling to your most loved animals and new regions of the zoo, this kind of as the immersive Wildlife Explorers Basecamp. The planner in the application can document your ought to-see animals and supply information about them. The app and the zoo map (found in printable PDF type) can clearly show you where by they are found. 

Test to see if there are any wildlife care expert talks. Seem out for for unique talks and up-close encounters, which are available for an extra payment. 

“If you really don’t have a most loved, acquire the bus tour and see what strikes your extravagant,” Schwartz endorses. 

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

3. Strategize Your Route 

Now that you know what animals you never want to miss, it is time to strategize your route to make the most of your time and lower tiring uphill hikes. With the animals’ areas marked on the zoo map, you can strategy your working day to decrease the distances and uphills you are going to walk as you go from just one section of the park to a further. 

You can also use the map to location stairs, the aerial tram route, the Kangaroo Bus stops, and the elevators that will be crucial to navigating the park. Unrestricted use of these is integrated in the admission selling price. 

You will find the elevators at the Treetops intricate, the stop of the Bashor Bridge, and the place the Monkey Path and Tiger Trail satisfy. The double-decker Kangaroo bus stops are also marked on the map. It is not uncomplicated to spot the hills on the map, but the tram, bus, and elevators allow for you to keep away from most uphill treks. For much more assistance arranging a route, end by the info booth on Front Street. 

4. Use Superior Walking Footwear

Even with the aerial tram and the in-park shuttle bus, seeing the animals is however going to consider some going for walks. “My selection one tip is to use comfy footwear,” Schwartz claimed. “The major error is carrying seashore sandals because you’re setting up on going to the seashore later on.” 

Sun hats hanging on a rack.
June Russell-Chamberlin

5. Use Sunlight Safety

“The other [big mistake] is not putting on sunscreen,” Schwartz explained. San Diego’s mild weather conditions doesn’t really feel too incredibly hot, but a working day in the sunshine will nevertheless depart you purple as a lobster. Shops alongside Entrance Street, just inside of the gate, market a range of sunhats, sun shades, and sunscreen if you don’t carry your personal.

Entrance to the San Diego Zoo.
San Diego Zoo

6. Lease Some Wheels

Wheelchairs, strollers, and motorized scooters are all out there on Front Street, to the still left of the entrance gate. They are available on a initially arrive, 1st served foundation. An ADA shuttle is also out there for company with mobility worries. More info about San Diego Zoo expert services can be found at the web-site or the information booth (to the ideal of the entrance, near the bus excursions signal). Guided cart excursions are also out there for a payment.

Stroller & Wheelchair Rental Counter.
June Russell-Chamberlin

7. Lighten Your Load

You never have to haul your lunch, coats, baggage, and other products about with you all working day. Lockers are on Entrance Avenue to the left of the entrance if they are out of buy, the stroller rental counter can shop your things for a charge. Be informed that there aren’t any canine kennels, and the zoo has a stringent no-puppy coverage. Only properly trained tutorial dogs are allowed in the park. 

8. Acquire Tickets In Progress

The great advantage of purchasing tickets in advance is that you get to skip the line and go straight into the zoo. You can purchase tickets on line for a solitary working day at the zoo, various times, or each the zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The zoo also delivers the San Diego 3-for-1 Go, which consists of the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and SeaWorld San Diego. 

Wildlife Explorers Basecamp.
Wildlife Explorers Basecamp (Photo Credit history: San Diego Zoo)

9. Help you save On Admission

The zoo’s San Diego 3-for-1 Move is not the only move that gives cost savings on admission by combining the zoo with other points of interest. A several to examine out: San Diego CityPASS, Go San Diego Go, and the Go Town Move. You have to invest in tickets at the gate and display acceptable identification to get the veterans’ or AAA membership discounted on admission. The San Diego Zoo does not present reciprocity for associates of other zoos.

10. Get There Early

Having to the zoo as quickly as it opens has numerous strengths: easier parking, shorter traces, and cooler temperatures. It also makes it easier to lease a wheelchair or motorized scooter. But the main purpose to go early is that the animals are most energetic in the mornings and evenings. 

11. Remember The place You Parked Your Car

It’s a large parking large amount. Get notice (or a picture) of the row you parked in so when you’re weary after a very long day checking out, you never have to work too challenging to recall the place you left the car or truck — specially a rental car or truck that you are unlikely to recognize anyway. 

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

12. Choose The Cost-free Bus Tour

The totally free 30-minute bus tour (to the ideal of the entrance) is a terrific way to get an over-all perspective of the park, to see what spots you could want to investigate afterwards. It is not a hop-on-and-off bus which is the Kangaroo Bus, which is also absolutely free. Test to sit on the proper aspect of the bus the polar bears are on the remaining, but most other animals are on the correct. 

Albert's Restaurant
San Diego Zoo

13. Examine The Menus

The zoo has 20 venues with foodstuff and drinks — like wine and beer — though they may perhaps not all be open when you stop by. Go through by way of the menus on the internet ahead of you go and decide on a couple of lunch options, so when starvation strikes you know the place to go. If you want to enjoy high-quality dining at Albert’s, it never hurts to make reservations. 

14. Provide Your Individual Lunch And Snacks

You can convey your possess lunches, treats, and beverages to the zoo. This can be specifically handy if you have allergy symptoms or particular nutritional requirements. Lunch bags can be stored in lockers or checked at the stroller rental counter (for a payment) if you really do not want to have them all day. Depart the huge coolers at house.  

15. Reserve A Unique Practical experience

For a actually unforgettable day, reserve a person of the up-close or at the rear of-the-scenes experiences at the zoo. Shell out the morning with cheetahs, master extra about other cats, or get a exclusive view of the animals at the zoo with 90-moment Within Search tours. Reserve these special encounters in progress. The charge of tours and ordeals varies. 

16. Make A Day Of It

Schwartz’s remaining piece of tips? Carry the complete relatives, and just take your time exploring the zoo. “It’s one particular of the matters we can all do it jointly. Which is a person of the good factors about it,” he mentioned. “Plan to devote a total day to seriously take pleasure in it.”

Can’t get ample San Diego? Here’s additional to make your check out to America’s Very best Metropolis a success:

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