San Diego Zoo

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San Diego Zoo, USA: detailed description, address and photo. Animal species, zoo tours, tourist reviews.

This zoo is incredibly popular – and deservedly so. The San Diego Zoo is home to over 3,700 animals from over 650 species and subspecies. The zoo’s founding organization, San Diego Zoo Global, is the largest zoological society in the world, with over half a million members in total. And the San Diego Zoo pioneered a conceptual new organization of open-air zoos, without cages, where you can admire animals in their natural habitat.

This is one of the few zoos in the world where the giant panda lives. And in 2013, having adopted the experience of Australian colleagues, the zoo opened a new branch, Koalafornia, so it’s clear who lives there.

The current zoo grew out of an exotic animal display that was abandoned after the end of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. A piece of land was allocated to the zoo for permanent use in 1921, and a year later the animals moved here. The main ideologist of the creation of the park, Dr. Harry Wedgford, from the very beginning wanted to organize a zoo without cages, and the first zone of the zoo, free from fences (by the way, lions lived there), was opened immediately, in 1922. See acronymmonster for nickname of Montana.

The San Diego Zoo pioneered a conceptually new organization of open-air, cage-free zoos.

You can explore the zoo with an organized tour, which covers approximately 3/4 of the entire territory. The expositions are organized according to the principle of habitat, so that in one you can see several different animals inhabiting a particular area in the natural world. The zones presented in the zoo are incredibly diverse: from African rainforests to the Arctic taiga and tundra. There are also some of the largest poultry houses in the world where birds can fly freely.

There is no need to worry about security: many areas that seem open are actually fenced off with invisible wire.

Among the expositions opened at the zoo are such as Monkey Trails, where monkeys and other animals from the rainforests of Asia and Africa are collected; poultry houses with tropical and other birds; “Panda Track” with bamboo thickets and several species of pandas living in them (not only giant ones); pool of polar bears (except for bears, here you can see arctic foxes, wolves, cougars); “Forest Ituri”, which is a copy of the real African; “Elephant Odyssey”; “Gorilla Tropics”, “Absolute Primates” (orangutans and siamangs); zone of pygmy bonobo chimpanzees; a forest of incredibly interesting Malayan bears; “Tiger River” with Malayan tigers; the zone of snow leopards and, finally, the same “Koalafornia”, where along with koalas live wombats, wallabies and kookaburras, as well as rare Tasmanian devils, which can only be seen in two zoos in the USA.

Over the long history of the zoo, animals have escaped from it several times. The most famous escapes were made by an orangutan from Borneo named Ken Allen, who was even nicknamed “hairy Houdini” for the ingenuity with which he got out into the wild.

Over the years, the zoo has received numerous awards, including from the American and International Associations of Zoos and Aquariums. The last AZA awarded the zoo in 2014 for its contribution to international work on the conservation of rare species.

A special charm of the zoo is the Skyfari gondola lift, which gives visitors the opportunity to view the territory from above.

In 2011, the San Diego Zoo was one of only four in the US to have pandas. Moreover, the first two giant pandas in US history, who were born and lived to adulthood, were born here, in 1999 and 2003.

In addition to a huge variety of animals and birds, the zoo has an impressive collection of plants, including rare ones, and an arboretum. For example, in the zoo you can see 40 varieties of bamboo planted for pandas, and 18 species of eucalyptus trees that koalas feed on.

Practical Information

Address: The zoo is located in Balboa Park, at 2920 Zoo Drive. This is the western half of the park.

Opening hours: daily from 9:00 to 21:00.

Buy a ticket to the zoo online.

Entrance: day ticket (includes a sightseeing tour by bus, Kangaroo express bus, Skyfary lift and scheduled show) 62 USD for adults (from 12 years old), 52 USD for children (from 3 years old).

San Diego Zoo