The San Diego Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the world. If you want to make the most of your visit, you need to do a little planning before your arrival. However, once at the park, be sure to keep your plans flexible, and you’ll enjoy your day at the zoo much more. Here are a few tips to help you see as much of the zoo as possible in one day.
1. Hours: Go to the San Diego Zoo website to check the hours for the day you plan to visit. The hours vary by season. For example, most fall hours close at 5 pm. The zoo recommends at least 3-4 hours to see the exhibits. Arriving early not only allows you enough time, but the early hours are often best for viewing some animals.
2. Weather: The weather in San Diego is some of the most beautiful in the world. Some say it’s an ideal climate. However, even “America’s Finest City” has rainy days. The park is open rain or shine. Don’t let some rain delay your trip. Many of the animals like the rain, and you’ll have less crowds on rainy days. Do consider hot weather. Some animals stay in the shade making it more difficult to view them. Particularly hot days also make walking more challenging for children and seniors.
3. Walking: The San Diego Zoo covers 100 acres, and some of the paths are quite steep. The park does provide daily stroller, wheelchair and electric scooter rentals. Wear your comfortable walking shoes. A trip to this zoo is not a day to choose fashion over comfort.
4. Transportation: If walking is too much for you or others in your party, you do have a few options. The guided bus tour is 35 minutes and will give you an overview of the zoo. The express bus is particularly helpful, because it provides access to several different areas. You can also use the Skyfari aerial tram to cut out some walking if you plan your exhibit route first.
5. Shows and Special Exhibits: The San Diego Zoo often has special animal exhibits as well as a couple of daily shows. If you want to see them, you need to plan them into your day. Many of the special exhibits can be quite crowded on weekends and holidays. You may want to visit them early in the day.
A day at the San Diego Zoo is a highlight to any vacation. By planning your visit and considering your specific interests and needs, you’ll get more enjoyment from your zoo experience. Be sure to pick up a souvenir from one of the zoo gift shops as you leave!