Is the San Diego Zoo Worth it?

One of the more popular questions that we receive is whether certain theme parks or zoos are worth it or not.

In this page, we will breakdown what the San Diego Zoo offers along with our personal experience to explain whether the San Diego Zoo is worth it or not.

Table of Contents

Is San Diego Zoo Worth it?

The San Diego Zoo is absolutely worth it, as it offers one of the best-kept zoos in the world. The 100 acre park features over 4,000 animals including Hippos, Giraffes, Lions, Flamingos, Koalas and even Polar Bears. This Zoo isn't only a zoo however, as it features rides, tours, and a 4D theater.

feeding animals san diego zoo

The San Diego Zoo is perfect for kids and adults, as they'll be provided with a learning experience that most people ever only see through the television. 

The Zoo does a great job of having a great mix between educational, entertaining, and fun through all of the exhibits and rides.

How Long Are You Spending at the Park?

3-4 hours is the minimum recommendation to spend at the park. Visitors can easily spend an entire day at the zoo, but if you're only interested in seeing the main attractions, 3-4 hours will be plenty.

guided bus tours san diego zoo

If you aren't able to stay at least 3 hours, the zoo may not be worth visiting for that day, but definitely worth rescheduling to a day with more availability.

Unlike most theme parks where everyone is power-walking through the park, the zoo has a much more laid-back experience (which is part of the reason why we recommend those hours).

Whether you want to see the Polar Bears or ride a bus tour, everything is at a much slower pace.

What San Diego Zoo Offers

  • Wildlife Park & Exhibits
  • Rides
  • Bird Aviaries
  • Walking Tours
  • Guided Bus Tours

Favorite Exhibit

One of our favorite exhibits is the Polar Plunge. If you've never seen how giant, smart and amazing a Polar Bear is, prepare to be shocked.

The main viewing area offers views of the polar bears on both land and underwater.

polar bear plunge san diego zoo

This means that you will still be able to keep track of them when they move around (which is often not the case in other zoos).

If you are one of the few lucky ones, you will be by the window when the bear feels like making your day and begins swimming right in front of you.

Favorite Ride

This Skyfari ride is a cable car that connects Front Street to Northern Frontier. Riders can ride the car back and forth.

But most importantly it provides visitors with amazing aerial views over the zoo and the surrounding area of Balboa Park.

skyfari aerial tram san diego zoo

History of San Diego Zoo

A cool fact about this popular zoo is that it was actually the pioneer of creating exhibits without cages.

How was this able to be accomplished? They key was (and still is), moated exhibits.

Moated exhibits allowed everyone to see that it was possible to have animals roaming around outside in a safe environment.

This safe environment wasn't only for the animal however, as the visitors would be safe as well. 

The first exhibit of this kind was opened in 1922 for lions! Prior to this, all zoo animals were kept in cages.

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