If you like learning about animals, San Diego Zoo is a must visit! It’s one of the most well known zoos in the world and has 650 species of animals. Seeing the whole zoo can however be a challenge. We were able to do it in 6 hours so I thought I’d share the route we took and any tips!
Make sure you get in right in the morning as that’s when the animals are most active and less crowds.
How to see San Diego Zoo in 6 Hours
9am: Get in the park right when it opens and head for the guided bus tour (light blue arrow), this covers 75% of the park and we were able to see so many animals roaming around! The tour lasts for 45mins and is narrated.
10am: Walk towards Discovery Outpost and also check out the reptile house. I’m not a fan of reptiles but we were there when the pythons were being fed and it was quite fascinating to see them eat their prey!
11am: Take the aerial tram (orange arrow) all the way up to the top of the zoo. It’s a nice relaxing ride and make sure to take photos from up top. Once you get off, head up to Northern Frontier before making your way down Elephant Odyssey
12:30pm: By now you’ve probably looped back to the bottom to Urban Jungle. If you can time your visit to the zoo, go on Thursdays as you’ll be able to feed giraffes! It costs $10 for three biscuits and you’ll get a chance to get up close with two giraffes!
1pm: Walk up towards Panda Canyon (purple arrow) to line up and see the Giant Pandas. Depending on your interest, you can also do this right away but it seems to have a line all day!
1:30pm: By now you’ll probably be very tired so the shade in the monkey area will be much appreciated. Start on the Hippo Trail and loop yourself in. Everything is kind of zig zaggy but does somehow connect. There’s quite the variety of monkeys, gorillas, and other ape animals.
2:30pm: Make your way to Albert’s (red arrow) for a well deserved lunch. It’s one of the only full service restaurants and it’s set in a beautiful rainforest. I would recommend waiting until there’s a seat on the patio. Wait a little longer and their happy hour runs from 3-5pm, you can get craft beer, cocktails, wine, and some appies for $6!
Roaming elephants in Elephant Odessey
San Diego Zoo Giraffe Feeding
Feeding a giraffe
Who wants it more?
Possibly the busiest attraction at the zoo- Giant Pandas!
Overall it was a fantastic day! There are lots of informational plaques next to each animal so you can learn more and get a better understanding of their behavior. You can obviously spend a full day in the zoo but if you are pressed for time, this 6 hour trip is a great way to spend half day and see everything in the zoo! You can find more information on their official website.
It’s really a must visit and the location is in Balboa Park with tons of other museums that you should check out. We only saw the rest of the park on a trolley tour but there are so many magnificent Spanish structures. Even if you don’t go inside, I think it’d be worth a walk outside and to snap some beautiful photos.
What’s your favorite zoo? And have you ever wanted to travel to San Diego?
*Admission was complimentary thanks to San Diego Tourism Authority*