All in all the San Diego Zoo is a great place to visit, but I am not so sure I would want to live there. The neighbors tend to be a bit on the wild side (then again we never claimed to be normal ourselves). As such a visit every once in a while is fun.
The San Diego Zoo is the world’s largest zoo. You can just show up and you will have a good time, but with over 4000 rare and endangered species if you want to get the most for your money it is important that you come prepared.
Thanks to Erica and Tom (Denise’s brother) we got free tickets to the Zoo.
I was particularly thankful for the free ticket because at $40 a ticket I am not sure we would of gone on our own. If your not as lucky as us you might want to look into discounts. The easiest discount is having a AAA card which will knock 10% off your ticket price, but with a little bit of Internet searching you can probably find better deals. A normal ticket will include a bus tour and a gondola ride.
Since we had a guest pass the bus was not included in our price. We did however end up paying for the bus tour ($10). There are two theories behind our decision. Theory number one is that we decided that since we only had one day to visit the zoo we wanted to see as much as possible and the bus tour covers 70% of the zoo. Theory number two was that we were just lazy and after going up and down the zoo canyon two times (it didn’t get it’s largest zoo in the world title for nothing) we got really jealous of the express bus that came included with the bus tour. Regardless of whether or not you take the bus be sure to bring a pair of good walking shoes (I dare someone to try it in high heels).
The zoo is open most days 9am-5pm. One of the things they don’t tell you until you pay is that the animals have all gone to Argentina and have conspired to strictly obey the rules of the siesta. For those of you who have failed Latin American studies the translation of the word siesta goes something along the line of “you might of put me in this display case, but I refuse to let you interupt my nap.”
Finding an animal awake between the hours of 11am-1pm is next to impossible. My suggestion to avoid this is to bring a sack lunch (no coolers or straws allowed) and just take a break with the animals. In case you are a fast eater it is also good to know that reptiles do not sleep (much).
The last thing to note is that since the zoo is in Balboa Park parking is free, but since parking is free it makes for some interesting parking situations. Since the parking is free there will be no one there to guide you into your spot, this means people will often skip parking spots. It also means if you take the risk to move your car up the row you might find a significantly closer parking spot.
As I said before the San Diego Zoo is a great place to visit. Not only does the does it contain more animals than you could ever imagine (let alone pronounce) it is very beautiful. I loved looking at all the different plants on display. If you have the time and money (mostly money) the San Diego is a must do in Southern California.