Top 4 Tips For Your First Family Visit to the San Diego Zoo

Are you excited for your FIRST Family Visit to the San Diego Zoo?



Well, you should be. The San Diego Zoo is incredible! You will LOVE it and make incredible memories with your children. When we went 2 years ago with our kids (who were at that time 2, 4, & 6 years old) we all had an amazing time there. We loved how natural the habitats for each of the animals were. We also loved all the greenery which in addition to the aesthetics, provided lots of shade giving a break from the California heat while walking about the Zoo. Which helped a lot with the little kids.



Part of the reason the San Diego Zoo is soo amazing is due to its size. Seriously, this zoo is HUGE! There is soo much to see and do. While this is a good thing, it can also be slightly overwhelming for your first visit. When I say huge I am not exaggerating. The San Diego Zoo is 100-acres and consists of 660 species and subspecies and over 700,000 plants.  Like I said it can be a bit overwhelming. It is soo big they even offer a sky lift that takes you over the treetops from one side of the zoo to the other. (The kids really loved riding on this.) 



But don’t worry I am here to help you. The best way I know to help you not to get overwhelmed on your first visit is to help you to be prepared. Before you go you want to have a plan of action for your visit. Here are my top 4 tips you will want to include in your plans to make sure you really enjoy your first trip to the San Diego Zoo:


1. Plan to Pace yourself on your visit.



Ok, I have mentioned it already but this Zoo is HUGE. as in 100 acres huge. Make sure you schedule plenty of time for your visit (we set aside the whole day) You don’t want to push yourself or your children trying to make it through the zoo in only a few hours. Better to pace yourself. Stop and take plenty of rests in the shade to eat/drink something and to just rest along the way. This is especially important if you are going with young children.



If you and your kids start to get tired you can always take advantage of the Kangaroo Bus (a hop on and off bus) as well as the Skyfari which crosses from one side of the zoo to the other from above (my kids really loved riding on this) If you need a short break from checking out all the animals there is a really fun kids section of the zoo where you can sit and rest while your kids just run around and play.



If you are really worried about your kids getting worn out. I suggest bringing a small lightweight stroller. We just brought a basic little umbrella stroller (mainly for our youngest though each of the kids took turns sitting in it throughout the day.)


2. Plan to Get Familiar with the Zoo 



With how big the Zoo is you really do want to make sure you know where you are going. To avoid getting lost and going in circles I highly suggest that the first thing you should do when you arrive at the zoo is to take The Guided bus tour which is a 35-minute tour that will take you and your kids throughout the whole zoo. on a double-decker bus. This tour has 2 benefits.


  • Your kids will get to see a whole bunch of the zoo animals from a good vantage point from the comfort of a bus.
  • You get a great overview of the zoo and where everything is (the Zoo is huge so getting an in-person overview is a good idea.)

After you are finished with the Guided bus tour, I suggest grabbing a map of the Zoo. They are free and soo nice to have on hand. Some paths can get confusing even with the signs, and it helps to have a map to refer to so you can know where you are going. If despite all of this you do find yourself disoriented and don’t know where you are don’t hesitate to ask for help. There are ark workers all over the place there to help you.


3. Plan to Bring snacks and drinks with you or money to buy them at the Zoo.



Since you are going to want to spend the entire day at the zoo (if you want to see and do everything.) Food is something you will definitely want to think about. After all, there is nothing worse than hungry and dehydrated kids. If your kids are like mine when they get hungry, they get HANGRY. This is something to be avoided at all costs.



Which is why I HIGHLY suggest that you either bring plenty of money to purchase food and drinks at one of the many delicious food eateries available throughout the zoo or, bring a backpack filled with healthy/yummy snacks and drinks for your family. You will find lots of shaded areas throughout the park that are perfect to stop and enjoy a snack,


4. Plan to Take lots of pictures



While you are taking pictures of all the amazing animals found throughout the San Diego Zoo, make sure to take all the opportunities you can to take pictures of your kids and family too. There are many places throughout the zoo (literally at every turn) which are set up as perfect spots to take pictures. While the pictures of the many animals are cool it is the pictures of your family that you will cherish the most.



Above all remember to plan to have fun! Make sure you enjoy your time together as a family. Don’t go just for the kids, but step back and enjoy your time there as if you too were a kid visiting the zoo for the first time. After all, you are never too old to enjoy a trip to the San Diego Zoo.


2920 Zoo Drive
San Diego, CA 92101


The Zoo is Open EVERY Day of the Year. The hours vary.
Find out the Hours for the day you want to visit –>HERE<–


Price for 1 Day Pass:
Adults (12 & up) – $56
Children (3-11) – $46
Babes (2 and under) – FREE
Includes One visit to the San Diego Zoo┬«, Guided Bus Tour, Kangaroo Express Bus, Skyfari Aerial Tram, and all regularly scheduled shows.


Looking for other Recommendations for your San Diego Trip? Check out these articles! (click on the image to go to the article)

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