The San Diego Zoo is a must-see attraction. When visiting the Zoo, planning is important. There is so much to see and do, one day is certainly not enough to conquer this awesome attraction. The San Diego Zoo is known for having one of the largest complete collection of animals in North America.
History of The San Diego Zoo
In 1916 San Diego hosted an exhibition in Balboa Park in celebration of the opening of the Panama Canal Dr. Harry Wegeforth, who was visiting the park, heard the sounds of the Exposition’s lions. Thinking that San Diego needed a zoo, he decided to start one. Utilizing some of the animals from the exposition, he developed a small zoo of 50 animals, which was originally set up as the Zoological Society, a privately-owned, non-profit corporation. Dr. Wegeforth traveled around the country and the world in search of animals to complete his zoo. He created a lush layout of natural plants and vegetation, grouping the animals according to their type, building the most modern of habitats as possible. Dr. Wegeforth worked diligently on the Zoo’s reptile collection. He collected Galapagos tortoises. They are some of the oldest animals now living in the zoo!
While much has changed since the early days of this dream, the zoo continues to grow and has over 4,000 animals and 800 species in over 100 acres of exhibits.
• Polar Bear Plunge – Every day is an arctic kind of day for these special bears! This exhibit sits on 2 acres, bringing the Arctic to San Diego. With an underwater viewing room you can watch the playfulness of the polar bears as they swim up to the glass in the viewing room to check out the humans that are on display for them! You are surely to enjoy watching these animals interact as they would in their own arctic environment.
• Tiger River – Take a trip down a winding misty and foggy path and you will find that Tiger River over-flows with exotic wild animals. 10 enclosures house over 100 animals and 5,000 species of exotic plant life. You will feel like you are in an Asian rain forest with Tigers, waterfalls, rocks, pools and logs for climbing.
• Ituri Forrest – Travel through an African rain forest where the San Diego Zoo’s most complex and multi-species habitat has been developed for your enjoyment. The Ituri Forrest contains hippopotamuses, spotted-necked otters, forest buffalos, colorful birds and monkeys. The sights, scents and sounds of this lush forrest will give a feel for what life in a rain forest is all about.
• Gorilla Tropics – Gorilla Tropics sits on approximately 2.5 acres and simulates an African rain forest. It is home to thousands of native African plants and enhanced by the natural sounds of a rain forest. As you stroll through this magical place to the center of the exhibit, you will come to an 8,000 square-foot enclosure of western lowland gorilla. This exhibit includes waterfalls, climbing area, plenty of vegetation for this wildlife, lending to their natural living environment and encouraging their everyday behavior
• Absolutely Apes – This 8,000 square foot habitat exhibit features orangutans and siamangs, two of our planets endangered ape species.
There are many exciting fun programs for your children to enjoy.
Summer Camp 2010 – No hearing “I’m bored at this camp. Students entering grades K-7 this fall can attend a five-day program for each grade level. The program includes a variety of encounters with animals and behind-the-scene visits, crafts, games, bus rides and all the food they can eat. Choose from:
-Cub Camp – Ages 4 and 5
-Little Artists for grades 1-3
-Summer Art Camp for grades 4-adult
-Wild Animal Camp for Ages 2-17 at the Wild Animal Park
Prices for Programs:
-5 day program from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – $201.00 for members and $231.00 for non-members
-Extended Day option from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m – $286.00 for members, $316.00 for non-members
-$85.00 for extended-day morning – 7:30 a.m to 9:00 a.m. or afternoon – 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
• Entering Kindergarten programs
-Meet the Beasts
-Learn the ABC’s of Animals
• Entering 1st Grade programs
-Mad about Mammals
• Entering 2nd Grade programs
-Things with Wings
-Friends that Fly
• Entering 3rd Grade programs
• Entering 4th Grade programs
-Animal Body Builders
-Parts for Stayin’ Alive
• Entering 5th Grade programs
-Backstage at the Zoo
-It’s a Zoo in Here
• Entering 6th and 7th Grade programs
-The Weird Ways of Wildlife
-Home Sweet Habitat
All programs are supervised and attention is given to every child. The staff is friend, competent and upbeat. Drop-off/pick-up is safe and secure and the children who attend this wonderful and exciting program are excited to come back again and again!
Tours and Animal Interactions:
• Meet Zoo animals up close and learn what goes on behind the scenes of the attractions.
• Explore botanical gardens
• Attend lectures
• Spend the night at the Zoo
San Diego Zoo Shopping:
• Visit an array of gift shops
• Gifts, jewelry, African Art objects, music, books & clothing
• Merchandise carts located throughout the San Diego Zoo
• Jungle Bazaar (at the exit)
San Diego Zoo Transportation:
• 35 minute tour on a double-deck bus (Adults $12.00/Child $6.00)
• Spanish Guided Bus Tour every day at 12:00 p.m.
• French Tours available with advanced notice
• Kangaroo Bus Tours – Ride all day, get on and off at 7 different locations
• Skyfari Aerial Tram – $2.00 each way for both Adult and Child – Take an airborne tour over the Zoo
• Enjoy spectacular views of the Zoo and beautiful Balboa Park
How to buy discount tickets to the San Diego Zoo
The zoo offers a few different types of passes. Tickets are expensive at the gate, so plan ahead and check out the Zoo’s website on-line, or through AAA, Costco or your employer may be able to offer discount tickets too.
• 1-Day Pass – includes unlimited use of Guided Tour Bus, Skyfari Bus, or Express Bus. Prices: $37.00 per adults and $27.00 per child.
• 2-Day Pass – includes a 1 Day Pass to the Zoo and a 1 Day pass to San Diego Wild Animal Park. Prices: $70.00 per adult and $50.00 per child.
-or two 1-Day Passes to the Zoo
-or two 1-Day Passes to the Wild Animal Park
• 3-for-1 Pass – Offers unlimited admission to 3 of San Diego’s most famous attractions up to five days from first use: $121.00 per adult and $99.00 per child.
-San Diego Zoo
-San Diego Wild Animal Park
-SeaWorld San Diego
Many discount coupons will offer a discount somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.00 – $7.00 and can be found occasionally in your newspaper, mail coupon books and on line. Some hotels also offer discounts to the zoo.
San Diego Zoo Location
The San Diego Zoo is located on Zoo Drive just north of downtown San Diego in Balboa Park at 2920 Zoo Drive. Their phone number is (619) 234-3153.