The World-Famous San Diego Zoo has the largest collection of mammals, birds, and reptiles in North America, numbering 4,239 specimens representing 816 species and subspecies. It's quite a difference from the San Diego Zoo's humble beginnings, when Dr. Harry Wegeforth founded the Zoological Society of San Diego with a collection of 50 animals.
San Diego Zoo Featured Exhibits
San Diego Zoo's Ituri Forrest
Ituri Forest is the most complex, multi-species habitat ever developed at the World-Famous San Diego Zoo. Guests are transported through a mysterious African rain forest where they encounter okapis, hippopotamuses, forest buffalos, spotted-necked otters, and a variety of colorful birds and acrobatic monkeys. Ituri Forest gives guests a feel for daily life in the rain forest, including sights, scents, sounds, and information about the Mbuti people who live in this dense, tropical environment.
San Diego Zoo's Polar Bear Plunge
At first thought, a polar bear in sunny San Diego seems curiously out of place. But with Polar Bear Plunge, you'll discover that polar bears are right at home, where everyday is an Arctic summer day.
This exhibit of more than 2 acres (.81 hectares) brings the Arctic tundra south, with Siberian reindeer, Pallas' cats, northern birds and native plants, along with polar bears.
The focal point of the exhibit is, naturally, the Plunge: 130,000 gallons (494,000 liters) of water cooled to 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius). From the underwater viewing room, protected by a five-inch (127 millimeter) thick acrylic panel, you can see how agile and playful the polar bears really are. In fact, they're known to swim right up to the glass to check out all the humans on display. A large sandbox and open spaces on the banks of the Plunge also allow the bears to dig around or maybe take a napjust like on the Arctic tundra.
San Diego Zoo's Tiger River
As you make your way down Tiger River, your first thought will be, "Amazing." Winding down a foggy, misty path, you'll find the banks of Tiger River are teeming with exotic wildlife. With 10 animal enclosures housing more than 100 animals along with 5,000 exotic plants, you'll get a real sense of the richness that an Asian rain forest holds.
The tigers, of course, are the stars, and these majestic big cats inhabit a grassy hillside, complete with waterfalls, pools, rocks, and logs for climbing. You'll need sharp eyesight, as the tigers are so at home that it may take some searching to spot them amid the natural setting!
But tigers aren't the only inhabitants along the banks. Malaysian tapirs, fishing cats, Burmese pythons, mousedeer, Argus pheasants, milky storks, and Bengal slow lorises are the other fascinating animals you'll see along Tiger River. African slender-snouted crocodiles are here temporarily, as they await construction of their new home.
San Diego Zoo's Gorilla Tropics
When you journey into Gorilla Tropics, you enter a remarkable simulation of an Africa rain forest. Covering 2.5 acres (1 hectare), Gorilla Tropics transports you to the sights and sounds of Africa, surrounded by thousands of native plants and enhanced by audio of actual environmental sounds of an African rain forest. Your stroll puts you in the perfect rain forest mood by the time you reach the exhibit's centerpiece, the 8,000 square-foot (720 square-meter) enclosure of a troop of western lowland gorillas.
With its natural landscape of cascading waterfalls, grassy slopes, and climbing areas, Gorilla Tropics provides these vegetarian giants with a healthy living environment which adds to their well-being. You'll observe from the many viewing areas how gorillas are members of a very complex social group, and that the unique living habitat of Gorilla Tropics greatly helps to encourage their natural behavior.
San Diego Zoo Shopping
Our gift shops feature an array of fascinating gifts from around the world: jewelry, African art objects, clothing, books, and music. And, of course, we have the usual souvenirs, sundries, T-shirts, hats, film and treats. Merchandise carts are located throughout the San Diego Zoo, as well as at these featured shops:
San Diego Zoo Jungle Bazaar (at the exit): T-shirts, clothing, hats, fine jewelry, stationery, books, posters, software, toys, gourmet foods, international gifts, and music. Mail orders and shipping available: (619) 231-1515 ext. 4274.
San Diego Zoo Transportation
San Diego Zoo Guided Bus Tour (included in the "Deluxe Ticket Package" offered below): a 35-minute tour on a double-deck bus covering most of the Zoo. Also available is a 35-minute Spanish language Guided Bus Tour every day at 12 noon. Spanish tours are available at other times for groups of twenty or more with advanced notice. Tours in French are also available with advanced notice. Kangaroo Bus Tours (adults $12/child $6): Ride all day; hop on and off at seven different bus stops. Skyfari Aerial Tram (adult/child $2 each way): Take an airborne shortcut over the treetops to the other end of the San Diego Zoo and enjoy spectacular views of the San Diego Zoo and surrounding Balboa Park (children under 8 must be accompanied by adults).
San Diego Zoo
San Diego CA 92112-0551
San Diego Zoo is located on Zoo Drive in Balboa Park, just north of downtown San Diego.
Directions from the NORTH
From Interstate 5 (Los Angeles and Orange County), take the State Route 163 north exit, then the
Zoo/Museums (Richmond Street) exit into the San Diego Zoo.
From Interstate 15 (Escondido and Riverside), take SR 163 south to the Park Blvd./I-5 South exit. Exit at Park Blvd. Turn left on Park and head north; Zoo entrance is off Park Blvd at Zoo Place.
Head straight into the San Diego Zoo.
Directions from the SOUTH
From Interstate 5 (Mexico), take the State Route 163 north exit, then the Zoo/Museums (Richmond Street)
exit into the San Diego Zoo.
Directions from the EAST
From Interstate 8 (Imperial County and Arizona), take State Route 163 south to the Park Blvd./I-5 South Exit. Exit at Park Blvd. Turn left on Park Blvd. and head north; Zoo entrance is off Park Blvd at Zoo
Place. San Diego Zoo
From State Route 94, proceed into downtown San Diego to 12th Avenue. Turn right on 12th Ave. (which turns into Park Boulevard) and proceed north. Zoo entrance is off Park Blvd at Zoo Place.
San Diego Zoo