It finally became a reality. The Elephant Odyssey at the San Diego Zoo. See what the past 12,000 years has done to the animals. Discover the extinct animals and then see their relatives of today, live. Elephants, jaguars, lions, condors, sloths, camels, snakes, tapirs, and more have room to roam in this 7.5 acre exhibit.
I must have spent close to one hour just watching the guanacos, closely related to the camel. One of the guanacos was as interested in me as I was of him. From the far part of the open space to right in front of me, a display of friendliness was seen between the two of us.
Another great time was had watching the capybaras. At first I thought it was a huge beaver because it was swimming in a large pond. But, looking up to the land portion of the exhibit, I saw the tail was not that of a beaver. The capybaras are found in Central and South America and are members of the Rodent Family. They are such fun to watch and in the water they seem to be free as can be.
A surprise was seeing condors. Wow. They haven't been in too many zoos and these condors I looked at seemed right at home in their large aviary. Seeing the pink neck was super special as this is the largest flying land bird in the Western Hemisphere and not easy to spot the stretched up neck, as they are still rare to see.
Okay, Elephant Odyssey must mean elephants and there are about 8 or 9 that I saw, but still disappointed about the massive cages for feeding or washing or sleeping or just holding cages. Yes, there are many different areas for the elephants to roam but it seemed like the zoo was letting only 1-2 elephants into an area at a time. Other than that, the Elephant Odyssey was wonderful to see for all the open space given to the animals, but still more needs to be done to open up the area to the animals.
I recently revisited this wonderful zoo with my sister and her Grandson Shamus. It was such a beautiful day and we so enjoyed ourselves. Every time I visit, I am always amazed in how the park is kept. They are continually changing exhibits to accomdate what ever type of animals they have. It is very educational and enlightening to know how type of species of animals share our earth with us. I think zoo's are great because it give us and our future generation a view to the picture window of what life exists along with us and how we all need to respect our planet! They do have tour buses avialable for those who cannot walk through the whole park. Just make sure you wear very comfortable shoes. The park is huge!
Oh, if yourself or anyone of your guest needs assitance, please check into "Guest Services" to see what type services it has to offer you!
Summer Hours - Nighttime Zoo (June 25 thru September 5):
9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
(grounds close at 9 p.m.)
(September 6 thru October 2):
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(grounds close at 6 p.m.)
(October 3 thru April 7):
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(grounds close at 5 p.m.)
Zoos are not really my thing and the SD Zoo is one of the few I've ever gone to. This means that I personally don't have much experience to compare it with other zoos.
However, the SD Zoo is touted to be, "The World Famous San Diego Zoo" and from the comments of visitors, I guess ours is one of the best.
The Zoo began as a collection of plants and animals left over from the Panama-American Exposition of 1915-1916 and has grown and developed into a world class research facility and a haven for injured animals and endangered species, besides being a fun place to go on vacation. The Zoo has tried to recreate a natural enviornment for each animal and quite some time ago the San Diego Wild Animal Park--now known as San Diego Zoo's Safari Park--grew out of that effort.
Too bad the Zoo doesn't have it's own page on VT as there are so many categories that could be made. I've decided to add Zoo info in each of the categories on my San Diego page so you will get a better idea of what to see and do, especially for those of you traveling with children.
The Zoo is a big place and would take more than a day to see everything. When my three granddaughters and I got our Zoo passes I thought it would be a good idea for each of us to choose which animals we each wanted to see.
To see the four chosen animals, we had to walk a million miles up and down steep terrain and it took the whole day! Thank God there were plenty of benches to sit on along the way. We didn't even stop to see the Pandas as we were all so tired by the time we arrived and the line was at least an hour's wait--the 2003 baby--named Mei Sheng--had just been born and everyone wanted a chance to see it. Lucky us, we have passes and can go again as many times as we'd like throughout the year.
The photo was taken at the entrance in front of the Flamingo Lagoon. As you can see there are "cartoon" zoo characters walking about to offer a photo opportunity for children and adults. A professional photographer will snap the picture for you or you can save money by taking your own photos.
There are restaurants in the Zoo, from snack shops to full service dining, but also, you are allowed to bring in your own picnic and they offer lockers to store stuff in.
If you have kids, it would take a full day at the zoo, I'm sure...But for me, I only spent a half day at the zoo and it was enough.
Definately take plenty of film incase like me, you get carried away.
My favourite would have to be the Polar Bears, it felt like I stood watching them for hours.
Food and drinks can be pricey. I found it best to buy the refilable animal drink cups from the store at the front of the zoo the best option. They were pricey themselves, but seeing as though you get refills all day and a souvenir to keep, I think it worked out a better deal then if you were to buy the cheaper drinks all day long.
Dont forget sunscreen and insect repellant.
You must visit this Zoo if you are in SD, it is the best zoo I have ever been to! It is located in Balboa Park and you should get there as early as you can as you will want to be there all day. It is soooo huge and there is so much to see. Avoid weekends if you can. See the panda exhibit early in the day as later there is a very long line, it's the most popular site. Unless you are with someone that can't be on their feet all day, just purchase the cheapest admission. You don't need the ones with transportation. It is much more fun to walk everywhere, you will experience so much more!
We debated for a bit over whether to go to the San Diego Zoo or the San Diego Wild Animal Park and the zoo won even though we had been there on a previous trip, it was just simply easier to get to from where we were staying. It was a good choice, I think this is the nicest zoo I've ever been to and is consistently ranked at the top for zoos in the US.
Admission is not cheap, $28 for adults, $34 for the best value tickets that includes the aerial skyride and guided bus tour, the best value ticket is a better option for those folks that aren't able to walk long distances, some of the park also has fairly steep inclines. Our hotel had a slight discount on the best value tickets ($31) and there are discount options for multiple day passes that include Sea World and/or the Wild Animal Park. And once you get inside, food, beverages and souvenirs are pricey too, for a soda it was almost $4 but they give you a plastic souvenir cup and refills are then much cheaper. A family might consider packing a cooler and going back to the car for lunch.
What's particularly nice about this zoo is the more natural barless habitat that the animals are housed in and the lush greenery that you walk through to get from exhibit to exhibit, the flora and the fauna are both well attended to at this zoo. My favorite stop was to see the pandas, San Diego is one of only four zoos in the US to have them (Atlanta, Memphis and Washington DC are the other three). There was a pretty big queue to see them but it goes fairly quickly as they ask you not to stop on the lower level, you can stay as long as you want on the upper level.
That is the very definition of an aviary- one giant bird house. Surprisingly, Holly's fall and resulting scream didn't faze any of the birds, who must have seen this kind of thing 100 times by then. Seriously, folks the aviary contains birds of all possible shapes, sizes, and colours. There were some birds I haven't seen since the Tauronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia 7 years earlier and some I had never seen full stop. Besides the Panda exhibit (of which I only know by reputation), the aviary, in my opinion is the highlight to a trip to the zoo.
Visit the Zoo, Wild Animal Park, and SeaWorld San Diego with the San Diego
Save over 30% and enjoy Southern California's top attractions with the Southern California CityPass.
(The San Diego Zoo is open every day of the year, including all holidays.)
Current hours (through September 28):
9 a.m.–4 p.m.
(grounds close at 6 p.m.)
(September 29–March 14):
9 a.m.–4 p.m.
(grounds close at 5 p.m.)
The San Diego Zoo is in Balboa Park, San Diego, California. It is one of the largest, most progressive zoos in the world with a large range of animals & species. The zoo offers a guided tour bus that covers most of the park. This is a great way to check out the park before you decide what animals you really want to go and see. There is also an overhead gondola lift that provides an aerial view of the zoo and is a quick way to move between opposite ends of the park. Apparently the zoo has the largest population of giant pandas outside of China, so they are the main attraction for sure, but there are many other cool animals to check out too.
If you also intend on visiting theme parks in LA like we did, you should definitely buy the Southern California City Pass. It entitles you to a 3-Day Disneyland ticket, and 1 day tickets to Universal Studios, SeaWorld and a choice of SD Zoo or SD Zoo's Wild Animal Park. You can purchase this from any of the parks. It's a great saving!
Considered one of America's best, this zoo is home to some of the rarest animals in the world including a 5 month old panda and polar bears. There are 10 bioclimatic zones from arctic tundra to rainforest. Open Daily: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the best time to visit with the least crowds is weekday mornings.
Also located close to the downtown area of San Diego is the San Diego Zoo, which has been in operation since the early 1900s. The Zoo is located in a wooded valley and comprises numerous walking trails as well as a road system for the Zoo bus tours. There are a number of interesting species of animals located here - we found the gorillas to be particularly interesting. Also, the polar bears were very interesting to observe and it was great to observe hippos swimming underwater through the glass-paned viewing area. We arranged our all-day tour from the resort for US$28 - it included admission, a half-hour bus tour to get a relatively quick idea of the entire zoo and two tickets to the aerial sky-tram system. Although the Zoo was very well organized, it did not have a major impact on me because I had seen many of the animals in their native habitat in Africa.
If you become tired of walking on the many trails in the Zoo, you can take a short-cut directly from one side of the Zoo to the other (from the Entrance area to the Polar Bear area) by means of the Skyfari gondola system. The waiting time was very short to access the gondola cars and it was well worth it for the great overview of the whole area as you silently float along! This is the view heading back toward the entrance area as we approach one of the restaurant complexes - Tree House Cafe/Albert's Restaurant.
San Diego zoo is located in beautiful historic Balboa Park. It opens daily at 9am but closing times vary by season. It has more than 4,000 rare animals including pandas, hippos, koalas, polar bears, gorillas, orang utans, camels, elephants, tigers and a lot more. You can buy a 1 day pass which includes admission and unlimited use of guided bus tour, express bus and skyfari aerial tram. Be sure to reach there early as it is not so crowded and easier to find a parking space too. There are a few restaurants and a zoo gift shops.
I have to admit this is a very nice zoo for the most part. A nice hike and alot of animals to be seen.There are several shows that you can see while at the zoo if you look into it and time it right. They have a very nicely done website. One very nice thing about the Zoo is that the parking is free. For those with disabilities I wil include this information from several sites.Guests with disabilities: The San Diego Zoo provides special parking, rest rooms, telephones (including TDD at the Security Office), and access to shows, tour buses, and exhibits for guests with disabilities. There are ASL "signed" bus tours available for the hearing impaired; please call in advance to arrange for an interpreter (619) 232-1515 ext. 4318. Please note there are steep grades in parts of the Zoo, and assistance is recommended for those with limited mobility. A free shuttle bus operates inside the Zoo for those with limited mobility. For information about service animal access, please call (619) 231-1515, ext. 4200, Monday through Friday. If you want a pretty dang good meal go over to Albert' s near the Gorilla Tropics. A nice place to dine instyle at the Zoo. See the website for info on it and other dining options. Albert's would not be a place I would take a small child for a meal but thats just me. While viewing the animals we did see a few that were not in the best of shape. 2 of my photo's in the travelouge I will make will show the animals I speak of. I did write the Zoo and e-mail them the pictures. They finally replied with an answer. I had threatened to have it checked into if they would not. First they hemmed and hawed then they actualy looked into it.
The zoo covers a lot of acres and so be prepared to walk a lot. The sky train safari is quite cool. It gives a panoramic view of the Balboa park which is super-nice. Also check out the museums in Balboa park.