The San Diego Zoo [2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego – free parking!] is renowned amongst zoos of the world therefore it has a draw, what is so great about it? The price of entry is steep. Zoos are generally pricey but this one is just under $50, make sure you find some $5 off coupons (per person) in your hotel. Is it worth it? You decide.
I have been to zoos big and small all over, the size of the zoo determines the amount of time you will spend there. The San Diego zoo it is very large and sprawling. You can certainly get your moneys worth and spend all day here viewing every single exhibit. We spent approximately three hours here and did not see the whole zoo, but we wanted to do other things in the day too. You are going to get some exercise here so wear comfortable shoes! Price of admission includes a trip on the skyfari and entry to all of the shows during the day.
Some zoos have a showcase of local animals and others more exotic. Here you will find pandas, a very rare sight at a zoo. There are six in all and two were on display. Since the pandas cause such a commotion, you enter a line and wait to view them. Our wait didn’t take more than five minutes, and when we got there a live zookeeper was on a loudspeaker introducing the pandas and telling us some facts. When you get towards the end of the line she was there to answer any panda questions, which was great. Pandas can live up to thirty years in captivity mainly because of dental care. Since their diet consists of bamboo which is extremely hard, their teeth break in nature, and without their teeth they cannot survive. A 23 year old mother was quietly eating her bamboo in a corner.
As we got to the second panda, her child, a 2 year old boy was very active. He was climbing all over, eating, smiling, and certainly a majestic little beast. Considering how rare pandas are on this earth, this is a huge draw that the zoo has. The zoo has many monkeys, a great exhibit where you can walk on a platform high among them in their trees, and also walk down stairs and see them on the ground. The large animals such as elephants, hippos, rhinos, lions, tigers, gorillas, orangutans and zebras are present. Koalas are another big draw to the zoo, but all of them were sleeping during out visit. Other rare and interesting animals that caught my eye include the two headed skink, the pangolin, dukier, okapi, black necked swan, tasmanian devil, and wombat, and Galapagos turtles. We found the Galapagos turtles after wandering through the fantastic reptile house. Take the path out back and visit these old and admirable beings. You can learn a lot about them through the panels and also the zookeepers who are stationed near them. They can live up to 200 years in captivity! What is their secret? This one was extremely cute and making eyes at me, and then a biiiig smile! Another fun exhibit if you are not squeamish is located within the children’s zoo, the insect house! Lots of great creepy crawlers including a beautiful blue tarantula, walking sticks, and hissing cockroaches. Very fun and interesting. Walking through the park you will also see a variety of beautiful flora!
I think that the price is worth it if you truly love pandas and you have the time to dedicate an entire day to viewing all of the animals, watching the shows, and taking the skyfari. The zoo is located right within Balboa Park, full of museums,
gardens, and sights – so if you still have some walking energy in you it is a great extension of the day. Nearby Cucina Urbana is a truly phenomenal spot to grab lunch or have dinner reservations for.