Is the Zoo open every day of the year?
Yes! The San Diego Zoo is open every day of the year, rain or shine, including ALL holidays!
Does the Zoo have lockers for guests to use?
The San Diego Zoo has rental lockers located between the San Diego Craft Beer and the Front Street Café on Front Street, near the Exit sign. Payment is by credit card only and payment can be made at the Kiosk on site. No cash is accepted for locker rentals, which start at $8. Sizes are as follows:
Small locker: 12" x 20"
Medium locker: 15" x 18"
Large locker: 18" x 27"
In addition to this guest storage amenity, the Zoo has a larger secure storage area inside Front Street Rentals, where guests can rent strollers, wheelchairs, and ECVs. This area can accommodate suitcase storage and larger items that will not fit inside the large lockers. The cost for this storage area is $15 per piece, and comes with unlimited access.
Does the Zoo have access for the disabled?
We have a variety of options to assist you and your family. The Zoo offers an “Easy Access Pass” that allows you to go to the head of the lines at the Zoo’s Bus Depot and Skyfari aerial tram. In addition, there are complimentary shuttles to assist you and your party in accessing our lower canyon areas. Please stop in at Guest Services to request our ADA Packet that will include information on these services as well as descriptions of exhibits and show access. If you have other specific questions, we will be happy to assist you.
Does the Zoo have baby nursing stations?
The Zoo has a First Aid office, located next to the Reptile house, which is often used by mothers to nurse their infants. There is a privacy curtain to allow mothers complete privacy. We also have a microwave for preparing your child’s meal. Some mothers prefer to sit just outside the First Aid office on one of the benches provided. It is semi-private as the vegetation growth is considerable. Diaper changing stations are also available in most restrooms.
Does the Zoo have stroller rentals?
Yes! The Zoo have strollers available for rent. The daily charge for a single stroller is $14 and a double stroller is $18. There is one size of stroller, made of molded plastic, to fit a variety of children; you may check the fit before renting. Strollers have cup holders and a storage pouch in the back. Our double strollers offer side-by-side seating. We have a limited inventory and provide these items on a first-come, first-served basis. No advance reservations are available. We recommend arriving early to secure one.
Can the Zoo store my luggage?
Luggage is not permitted on Starline Tours theme park transportation buses.
The San Diego Zoo has lockers and a secure storage area inside Front Street Rentals, where guest can rent strollers, wheelchairs and EVCs. This area can accommodate suitcase storage and larger items that will not fit inside the large lockers. The cost for this storage area is $15 per piece and it comes with unlimited access. Unfortunately, the Safari Park does not have accommodations for luggage storage.
Does the Zoo have recycling facilities?
We have recycling containers for aluminum cans and plastic bottles located throughout our parks. In addition, both the Zoo has cell phone recycling drop boxes. A large Plexiglas drop box is located next to the re-entry hand stamp station at the Zoo’s exit.
Does the Zoo offer wheelchair rentals?
Yes! San Diego Zoo have wheelchairs and electric scooters available for rent for a nominal fee. Guests must provide a valid driver's license. The park has a limited inventory and provide these items on a first-come, first-served basis. No advance reservations available. We recommend arriving early to secure one.
What is the smoking policy at the Zoo?
Smoking (including e-cigarettes) is not permitted anywhere on Zoo grounds or parking lots. Zoo guests should know smoking is not permitted in Balboa Park. Guests who wish to smoke are welcome to have their hands stamped for same-day re-entry when leaving our grounds to smoke. Please keep your ticket!
Can my child enter the Zoo without an adult?
Children 15 years old and younger must be accompanied by a paid adult age 18+ to enter and throughout their visits to our parks. "Paid adult" includes adults 18+ with valid, unexpired admission, membership, or complimentary tickets.
Will food service work with my allergies/special dietary needs?
The Zoo recognizes the seriousness of food allergies and although we would like to accommodate all guest requirements, as a not-for-profit organization we are unable to do so. Our kitchens are not equipped to prepare food separately for guests who are sensitive to certain ingredients. Each restaurant can provide an ingredient list for the items available for purchase; however, we cannot assure that other ingredients may not be in the preparation environment. Guests are welcome to bring personal food items into our parks. Large food storage containers such as coolers are not permitted on grounds and no facilities are available for food storage.
Are drones allowed at the Zoo?
No. Drones are not permitted on or above Zoo grounds at any time.
Are backpacks allowed?
Guests are welcome to bring a backpack into our parks.
Can I bring food into the Zoo?
Yes! Guests may bring personal food items into the Zoo. Large food storage containers such as coolers are not permitted on grounds, and no facilities are available for food storage. Zoo guests who have already entered our parks may get their hand stamped for re-entry on the same day of their visit during operating hours. Special accommodations for school groups may be made. For the safety of guests and the animals in our care, please do not bring glass, alcohol, or straws into our parks.
Are pets allowed in the parks?
No. Pets, comfort animals, and emotional support animals are not permitted at the. Because the Zoo houses significant populations of rare and endangered species, the Zoo and are considered to be quarantined facilities. State and federal regulations for such facilities do not allow for the access of pets, comfort animal or emotional support animals accompanying guests to these facilities. The Zoo does offer kennel service at either park. If you will require kennel service during your visit, please use the Contact Us link at the bottom of this page so we may provide a list of local kennels.
How can I get close to animals?
The Zoo's Animals in Action Experience and Inside Look Tours get you VERY close to exotic animals Also at the Park is Lorikeet Landing, where you lend a hand—literally—in feeding the lorikeets! The Park's interactive Animal Encounters program gives you an opportunity to have face-to-face contact with the Park's animal ambassadors like a cheetah, alligator, serval, and other rare and exotic animals. You may interact with trainers and ask questions about the species. Interactions happen throughout the Park; check a Zoo map insert for times and locations. And (most of) our Special Experiences at both parks are uniquely designed to get you closer to animals!
How can I find out about a particular animal on exhibit?
Go to the San Diego Zoo Animals website or use the website's Search function to look for your animal. If the animal is part of our collection, its location will be noted on the response page. While we work hard to provide an exceptional guest experience, occasionally exhibits, tours, restaurants, rides, entertainment or other services change or close without notice and without liability due to refurbishing, capacity, weather or special events. A daily listing of changes or closures can be found at the main entrance of both parks. Please check upon arrival.
What time of day will I see more animals?
There really isn't any special time that more animals are in view, although many of our animals are early risers and may be a bit more active in the morning. In our concern for the many endangered species that we house at our facilities, we have built exhibits that mimic natural environments. Like natural environments, these areas give the animals plenty of room to hide. We have found the ability to hide is important to the well-being of many species.
Animals may be taken off exhibit for a variety of reasons including environmental conditions, health issues, and behavioral concerns. In addition, many of our exhibits are designed to allow animals to remove themselves from visitor view at any time. For these reasons, it is not always possible to predict or note these exceptions before the fact. Refunds or exchanges are not possible in cases of inclement weather or exhibit closure.
While the Zoo work hard to provide an exceptional guest experience, occasionally exhibits, tours, restaurants, transportation, entertainment or other services change or close without notice and without liability due to refurbishing, capacity, weather or special events. A daily listing of changes or closures can be found at the main entrance of both parks. Please check upon arrival.
Is it possible to leave the Zoo and be re-admitted?
Yes! Guests who are on grounds at the Zoo and wish to leave and return the same day at no charge during open hours may have their hand stamped at the Exit Gate turnstiles. Be sure to keep your ticket! Refunds or exchanges are not possible in cases of inclement weather or exhibit closure.
How do I lodge an ethics or misconduct complaint regarding San Diego Zoo Global business practices?
The Zoological Society of San Diego does business as San Diego Zoo Global. We are committed to high standards of ethical, moral, and legal business conduct. San Diego Zoo Global is further dedicated to acting in good faith with those clients or employees who raise concerns regarding incorrect financial reporting, unlawful activity, or otherwise improper conduct. The audit committee, board, and management team at San Diego Zoo Global value your input. This is why we have selected Ethics Point to provide us with an anonymous and confidential method to hear your suggestions, concerns, or report of misconduct. The information you provide will be sent to us by Ethics Point on a totally confidential and anonymous basis. You have our guarantee that your comments will be heard.
Tell me a bit about the San Diego Zoo.
The Zoo, located adjacent to downtown San Diego in Balboa Park, is 100 acres in size. It is well known for its lush, naturalistic habitats and unique animal encounters and is home to more than 3,700 rare and endangered animals representing approximately 660 species and subspecies and a prominent botanical collection with more than 700,000 plants. It is viewed in several ways, first and foremost by walking along pathways, into aviaries, and through bioclimatic zones. There is a 35-minute Guided Bus Tour that gives a good overview of the Zoo, along with an Express Bus that stops at several locations to assist guests in accessing different areas. We suggest taking the Guided Bus Tour upon your arrival to acquaint yourself with the various areas where you would like to spend additional time. The Zoo is a unique walking experience that exhibits animals in the most natural way possible, adding shows and animal presentations throughout the day for additional enjoyment. We recommend a minimum visit time of at least three to four hours.
Well known for its 100 acres of lush, naturalistic habitats and unique animal encounters, the San Diego Zoo is home to more than 3,700 rare and endangered animals (including pandas, koalas, tigers, polar bears, and more) representing approximately 660 species and subspecies and a prominent botanical collection with more than 700,000 plants.
The 1,800-acre Safari Park is home to more than 3,000 animals representing over 300 species, many living in open field habitats. In addition, the Park has a renowned botanical collection with more than 1.7 million plants. Since there is so much to see and experience at our parks, and to get the most from an unhurried visit, we recommend planning a multi-day visit. Because each park requires a separate admission ticket, there are several multi-day ticket options that allow you to enjoy both parks at a relaxed pace!
1. Arrive Early
So it goes without saying that our first San Diego Zoo tip is to arrive in the morning and ride the bus tour with the shortest line. The earlier you arrive, the more you can see and experience.
2. Grab a Park Map
You’ll want a map to locate your must-see animals and navigate this zoo (plus, it has a lot of helpful information on the back). There are also large maps located throughout the zoo and plenty of zoo employees willing to help you find your way. The map is also available on the San Diego Zoo app.
3. Avoid Visiting on a Hot Day
We know this is not always in your control, but many animals are a lot more active when the temperatures are in the 50s, 60s and 70s. If you can visit in late fall, winter or spring, you’ll find the most comfortable temperatures.
4. Wear Walking Shoes
The San Diego Zoo has a lot of walking and hills. Be prepared for climbing or plan to use some of the park transportation options. The zoo rents wheelchairs for $14 and shaded electric scooters for $55 on a first come, first served basis if walking distances or hills is challenging for guests in your party. The dotted paths on the map are wheelchair accessible.
5. Bring Hats, Sunscreen and Water
The Southern California sun is strong, and the climate is dry. Be sure to stay hydrated and protect your skin from the sun.
6. Rent or Bring a Stroller
Those hills and distances can be very tiring for little legs, so using a stroller for babies, toddlers and even preschoolers is highly recommended and one of our top San Diego zoo tips if you have tadpoles. Single strollers rent for $14 and double strollers are $18. Here’s a hop tip: If you are taking the Skyfari, you can take a stroller up to 23 ¾ inches wide with you. Rental strollers do not fit, but you can leave your rental stroller at the Skyfari and pick up a fresh one at the other end!
7. Hop on the Kangaroo Bus
All admission tickets, donor level memberships and purchased Guided Bus Tour tickets include the use of the Kangaroo Bus, which offers four stops marked with a yellow kangaroo. Busses arrive every 15 minutes. We managed to hop about without using it because the Skyfari was so efficient. There is a free shuttle bus for guests with disabilities that accesses some parts of the zoo. The regular bus tour allows you to bring and store folding wheelchairs. Non-folding wheelchairs can be stored at the loading facility.
8. Take a Guided Bus Tour
Taking a 35-minute Guided Bus Tour takes you around the perimeter of the zoo and can help you get your bearings for the zoo and share some interesting information about animals and the zoo itself. It is no substitute for actually seeing the animals up close, but you will see a lot of animals from the bus and maybe get an idea of areas you want to revisit later. We recommend riding it first thing in the morning before the line gets long. We sat on the top deck in the morning and enjoyed a great view, but if you do ride in the afternoon on a sunny day, choose the bottom deck for shade. The bus tour is included in zoo admission.
9. Utilize Volunteers
There are many volunteers wearing red shirts located throughout the park. They are a wealth of information and can help point you in the right direction or tell you more about the animals.
10. Take Skyfari Aerial Tram
Skyfari (included in your admission ticket) offers you a ride and a shortcut between the entrance and back of the park, flying you above the forest and hills. It's a way to get to the back of the park early, and closer to the Northern Frontier. We found it the easiest way to avoid climbing high hills.
11. Reserve Special Experiences
If your budget allows, you can purchase upgraded special experiences in addition to admission, such as seeing animal ambassadors and trainers in action, going behind the scenes, touring the zoo in a VIP cart, taking a tour with cats or being a zookeeper for a day. The zoo also offers a VIP experience.