The World-Famous San Diego Zoo

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The Adventure Continues….

Back to recapping our epic summer western USA adventure!  My sister, my nephew Ransom and Mom and Dad met up with us for the San Diego leg of our trip.  As soon as we started planning this part of the trip I knew I wanted to take the kids to The World-Famous San Diego Zoo. I remember going there once as a kid and I knew my kids would love it.

San Diego Zoo
Hannah just hangin around!

The concierge at our hotel told us to start our day by getting on the tour bus.  This was a great way to get our bearings for The World- Famous San Diego Zoo layout, see some animals and learn a little bit about the zoo. We sat on the top and had a great view inside some of the animal enclosures.  The tour lasted about a half hour.

San Diego Zoo
Enjoying our day at the San Diego Zoo

*The World- Famous San Diego Zoo Tip*

One tip if you are visiting The World-Famous San Diego Zoo would be to wear sneakers. The World-Famous San Diego Zoo is enormous. Expect lots of walking and hills.  It is almost overwhelming trying to navigate the different paths and buses, so a map is a must.  There are helpful volunteers in red shirts stationed throughout the park to assist you. They also have a  Sky Tram (included in admission) that can help you get from one side of the park to the other.  It was a hit with all the kids and gives you a great view not only of the animal enclosures but also of Balboa Park and San Diego.

San Diego Zoo
You can see these African Penguins swim around in a 200,000- gallon pool with depths up to 13 feet at Africa Rocks.


We also saw a shortened 4-D version of the movie Rio.  One 4-D movie was included in the price of our particular ticket (1-Day Pass Plus $60) and it was a nice break to cool off and get off our feet for a bit. You can also add on the 4-D movie individually for $6.

San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo has Masai giraffes native to Kenya.

Of course the highlight of the The World-Famous San Diego Zoo is the animals. We saw many that we don’t have at the Philadelphia Zoo– koalas, elephants, pandas. We definitely didn’t get to see everything because this zoo is massive.  You could easily do several days there.  Parking is free. 

The World-Famous San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo has 3 Pandas. You can find them in Panda Trek,near the Giant Panda Research Station.

Nighttime Zoo 2018

We had a great time at The World-Famous San Diego Zoo during the day but we did not realize  we would have just as much fun when the sun set. Through September 3rd 2018 the Zoo transforms into ”Nighttime Zoo”. Live music, fun shows, and special animal encounters are just a few of the experiences they offer during this limited time celebration. We experienced only a few of the options they offered due to time constraints.

Rock & Roar was live music being played by guitar. They took request and played modern songs from several decades. Tyler enjoyed dancing to some of the songs they played.

Call of the Night featured live music,rhythmic acrobats,lasers moving lights, fog and bubbles. This show was really cool. They had lasers projecting on one of the roofs of the restaurants and the show was interactive. 

After the show ended we had to immediately hike to the front of the park from the back to make JAMBO.This was a long walk and as the sun had just set a very dark walk.


This show was very popular and packed. The ”stage” is divided into sections like a parade. Depending where you are located you won’t see the entire presentation. We were at the the end of the parade route. They started off in our section then moved to the middle and came back to us for the finale. This caused a 15 min gap where we had nothing to do but wait causing restlessness for the 50 or so kids in our section who were using the parade route the JAMBO performers were just on mins ago as a playground. Nonetheless the performers returned and closed out what was an amazing show. Check out the video we took below to see for yourself.


The Verdict…

Our trip to The World-Famous San Diego Zoo was everything I hoped it would be. It was enjoyable for all three generations that went along. A special Thank you to my parents for taking us. If you are in Southern California this is a MUST-DO!

The World-Famous San Diego Zoo
Tyler had a great day at the San Diego Zoo!

Have you been to The World-Famous San Diego Zoo? What were some of your favorite things you did. Do you have any tips you would like to share we did not include in this story? We would love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below and make sure you subscribe to our blog to keep up to date on our latest adventures!

Lisa Stephenson-Horne

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