San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park

The San Diego Zoo is known worldwide and often voted one of the best zoos you can visit. With over 3,000 animals and almost 100 acres of land, this zoo is massive, and it’s a great place to explore with the whole family. While it can be expensive, I have always found the price to be worth it, especially if you can dedicate a half day to walking around and seeing all of the fun animals. Here are the details.


  • Cost: As of 2018, $55 for adults and $44 for children
  • Least busy day to go: Tuesday
  • Location: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

Getting There

From Downtown San Diego, You will want to head north on 11th Ave which becomes the 163 North. Merge onto Richmond St then turn right on Upas and right again on Park Blvd. You will see signs for the zoo on your right and parking is free in the large lot.

The Zoo

If possible, I always recommend going on a weekday as it’s way less busy. The last time I went, one of the workers told me that Tuesday is the best day of the week to go, so if you can go that day then do it. After getting your tickets and going past the turnstiles, you will be greeted by a few dozen pink flamingos, which are the first animals you see.

This map will show you all of the animals and exhibits that you can visit around the park. I usually opt to take the sky tram all the way to the back then make my way back from there on one of the many paths. You need a good day to see everything though.

Here are some of my favorite animals to see at the San Diego Zoo.

Polar Bears

As one of the animals I will probably never see in the wild; I have always been fascinated by polar bears. The polar bear exhibit here is fantastic and I have often seen them swimming in the area that lets you see below the water.


Its hard not to be excited when you see one of these massive creatures. They have a large pen that you can walk all around the outside of, and since they are so large, you will see them most of the time you visit the zoo, which is not always the case for other animals. I have even seen them playing and squirting water from their trunks.


While I have seen these before in Africa, its still fun to see these strange creatures in person.


Such an interesting animal, giraffes are especially fun to see when they are eating as you get to experience their massive necks.


Another one of those animals you don’t get a chance to see in real life, they are genuinely daunting, tank-like animals in person.

This is of course just a very small percentage of the animals on display at the San Diego Zoo. There are pandas, lions, monkeys, etc. all scattered around the park. If you live close, consider getting a pass and you can go multiple times during the year to not feel rushed.

I always love exploring the zoo, and I would like to hear what your favorite animals are in the comments.

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About JoshMc

Thanks for checking out the blog, I am happy to be sharing my adventures with you! You can get to know me by reading my about me, which includes a video and additional information on the site, myself and my full disclosure. Also, follow along on Twitter here or read all of my posts on this blog here.