I recently visited the San Diego Zoo, and it was much more fun than I expected it to be. First off, the price was very reasonable. When you get there you have the option to buy the regular Zoo ticket or the deluxe ticket. I paid around $30 for the deluxe ticket which seemed like a deal to me since I am used to paying around $50 for Disneyland and Sea World tickets. The deluxe ticket is definitely worth the extra ten dollars. It consists of a 40-minute guided tour, unlimited access to the express bus that takes you from place to place, and unlimited access to the aerial tram.
If you have never been to the San Diego Zoo before, I would suggest going on the guided tour first. It only lasts about 40 minutes, and takes you around the entire zoo. The tour has plenty of stops where you can see many of the most popular animals such as African elephants, tigers, and bears. The Zoo is huge, so taking the guided tour is also a good way to familiarize yourself with its layout.
The bus drops you off near the elephants, where you will also find tigers and leopards. If you want to grab a bite to eat, there are a couple of nearby places where you can get some good food. After you finish the tour I would suggest walking around the edges of the park. The Zoo is round, so you will see most of the animals by going around the edges. You will find zebras, bears, camels, and many other interesting animals that I never even knew existed.
Down the middle of the Zoo was probably my favorite because we got to see the Absolutely Apes exhibit. Here you will find orangutans and chimps in action, and in my personal opinion, I think they were trained to entertain visitors. They seem to love the attention of all the people watching them because they come right up to the glass and find funny things to do. The more people point and take pictures, the more creative they get.
If you continue down the middle of the park and go down the long escalator, you will run into the most popular exhibit at the San Diego Zoo, the Giant Panda. As you would imagine, this exhibit is always crowded. I had to wait in line about an hour to see a not so giant, but very cute sleeping panda bear. If you have never seen a panda in your life, then I would highly suggest that you check it out. You will probably never see one outside of the San Diego Zoo.
The San Diego Zoo is definitely worth a visit, and I would recommend getting there early because it closes pretty early, around 4pm. Fortunately there are tons of things to do within Balboa Park and plenty of nearby places to hang out.
This article was written by Scott Olivares
Editor of San Diego Hotel and Travel Guide - San Diego Getaway