The world-famous San Diego Zoo is one of the top attractions for families in the San Diego area. It is conveniently located near downtown San Diego and offers visitors the chance to see exotic animals that are not commonly found in other zoos.
Our family recently made a return visit to the San Diego Zoo. Here are our top tips for planning a visit.
Avoid paying full price
There are lots of discounts available for the San Diego Zoo. Here are my go-to bargains.
- Bundle – I book my San Diego trips through Get Away Today Vacations because they can bundle my hotel and tickets for the lowest possible price. They also sell individual tickets to the San Diego Zoo and other popular Southern California parks for less than the official sites. Read to the end of this post to get a $25 coupon code and learn more about my partnership with Get Away Today.
- CityPASS or Go Card are also good ways to bundle admissions if you plan to visit other popular attractions in and around San Diego like LEGOLAND, SeaWorld and Disneyland. Get Away Today sells Southern California CityPASS for less than the official site.
- Visit in October – for the past couple of years, the San Diego Zoo and many other San Diego attractions have offered kids (ages 3-11) free admission with a paying adult during the month of October. This deal may not include all the amenities (like the tram) that are included in the regular ticket. Visit this post for more information.
- Check with your hotel – If you’ve already booked a hotel in San Diego, chances are that you can purchase discounted tickets from the front desk.
Pack a picnic
This isn’t absolutely essential, since the San Diego Zoo has a variety of restaurants to choose from. However, it drives me crazy when I buy a pricey kids meal and then my child eats less than half of it. The San Diego Zoo allows you to bring in your own food, so save yourself some cash and fill a backpack with cheese slices, crackers, baby carrots, grapes, bottled water, cookies and trail mix, or something equally easy that your family will actually eat.
This is a good rule of thumb for nearly all attractions. When you arrive early at the San Diego Zoo, you get to enjoy popular exhibits without the crowds. Morning is a good time to visit favorite animals such as koalas, bears, lions and tigers because they are often more active in the morning.