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Ultimate San Diego Zoo 2024 Parking Guide | FAQ & Best Parking Locations

Parking at the San Diego Zoo is surprisingly unlike many other attractions in all aspects from costs and locations, which makes planning ahead an important part of your trip to the zoo.

San Diego Zoo Parking Guide is here to break down everything you should know before heading out for your visit! 

Questions We'll Answer About San Diego Zoo Parking:

  • Where Is San Diego Zoo Parking Located?
  • How Much Is Parking At The San Diego Zoo?
  • When Does Parking Open At The San Diego Zoo?
  • Is Overnight Parking or Camping Allowed?
  • Is Handicap Parking Available?
  • Is EV Charging Available?
  • Where Is The Best Place To Park?

 San Diego Zoo Parking Map

Where Is San Diego Zoo Parking Located?

As illustrated in the map above, parking for the San Diego Zoo is located just outside of the main entrance of the zoo.

This primary parking lot is easily accessible and at most a 5-minute from the main entrance, though many parking spaces are much closer and shorter walk.

The San Diego Zoo lot is located between Zoo Drive and Park Blvd on Balboa Park grounds. The address listed below should take you right to the parking lot when entered into your GPS:

2920 Zoo Drive

San Diego, CA 92101

San Diego Zoo Logo

There is also an overflow parking lot available at the Balboa Park Administration Building, also known as "Inspiration Point". The zoo does tend to get quite busy around the holidays and long weekends, so overflow parking will need to be used during these times. 

The overflow parking to San Diego Zoo's main entrance is a bit of a hike, so we recommend waiting for one of the complimentary trams that take visitors to popular points of interest at Balboa Park (San Diego Zoo included).

You'll be walking enough as it is throughout the zoo, so jumping aboard a shuttle tram will save you some energy for later on in the day. 

San Diego Zoo Tour Bus

How Much Is Parking At The San Diego Zoo?

While the San Diego Zoo is one of the more expensive zoos in the country, you'll save a lot of money on parking... which is free!

This is vastly different from theme parks like Universal Studios, Disney, and even other zoos where it's not uncommon to see parking fees over $0 per vehicle.

Whether you have a day ticket or a San Diego Zoo membership you won't have to worry about paying for parking. 

One important note is that while parking is free at the San Diego Zoo if you'll be heading over to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park you will need to pay $15 for parking.

Lion Statue at San Diego Zoo Main Entrance

When Does Parking Open At The San Diego Zoo?

The parking lot at the San Diego Zoo is not gated or locked and is technically accessible 24 hours a day.

That being said we don't recommend arriving at the parking lot any earlier than 1 hour before the San Diego Zoo is scheduled to open.

If you arrive any earlier than this, you'll likely find the parking lot and Zoo grounds to be largely unattended by employees and there are much better places to spend your morning.

Some of the neighboring attractions in the Balboa Park area (where the San Diego Zoo is located) are open earlier and worth checking out while you wait for the zoo to open!


Is Overnight Parking or Camping Allowed?

Overnight parking is not allowed at the San Diego Zoo unless you are participating in one of the Zoo's "sleepover programs" like Roar and Snore.

Outside of these programs, you aren't allowed to keep your car parked overnight at the zoo.

This also means that no camping is ever allowed in the San Diego Zoo parking lot. The only type of camping allowed is inside the Zoo gates when participating in one of the zoo's camping programs!

Is Handicap Parking Available?

Handicap parking is available at the San Diego Zoo parking lot.

A majority of handicap spots are at the front of the parking lot just passed and around the corner from the main entrance. You'll also find a smaller selection of handicap parking spots leading to the main entrance.

We recommend asking a San Diego Zoo staff member for help finding these spots as they're a bit removed from the larger parking area. 

African Lion

Is EV Charging Available?

EV charging is also available at the San Diego Zoo!

At the time of this writing, there are 5 EV charging stations available in the southeast corner of the San Diego Zoo parking lot.

EVs are extremely popular in Southern California, so these charging stations tend to become occupied very quickly! If you happen to grab one of these spots when they're available, not only will you get to charge your vehicle, but you'll have great parking close to the zoo's main entrance. 

Where Is The Best Place To Park?

The best place to park is always going to be the main parking lot right outside of the entrance to the San Diego Zoo. You'll find the shortest walks and greatest availability of spots here.

However, on busy days this parking lot does tend to fill up, so you'll want to have a backup plan in mind if you aren't able to find any parking spots.

We recommend heading to the overflow lot, known as Inspiration Point, which is in the middle of the Balboa Park Activity Center and Presidents Way. You know you're in the right spot if you pass the Activity Center and see the Balboa Park Administration Building.

The parking area should come up right away when you enter "Inspiration Point" into your GPS (you can also enter Balboa Park Administration) or the address is also below!

Inspiration Point Way 

San Diego, CA 92134



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San Diego Zoo Parking Map Photo Courtesy Of Google Maps