The San Diego Zoo is a must-see if you are in the city, whether you are visiting San Diego for the first time or are a resident. The zoo encompasses 100 acres and houses more than 4,000 animals across 650 different species and has been lauded as one of the best zoos in the world since its founding in 1916. It’s also one of the best outdoor destinations in San Diego to see with a group, offering tons of exhibits, attractions, and experiences for all ages.

It’s first worth noting that the San Diego Zoo technically has two facilities. They have the main zoo in Balboa Park, and the Safari Park in Escondido about 40 minutes away. Both have their own attractions and animals to see, so be sure to decide which facility you want to visit first.

A charter bus from our network can easily shuttle you and your group between both the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, whether you’re renting a field trip charter bus in San Diego for an educational outing or are taking a private San Diego charter bus rental to see the zoo. You can also opt for a charter bus with amenities like WiFi, AM/FM radio, and onboard TVs to make the ride more enjoyable.

With all this information, it may seem overwhelming to try and visit. How do you make sure you see everything you want to see? When’s the best time to visit? Well, worry no longer! We have answers to all your questions and a great guide to the San Diego Zoo right here.

a woman and two children look at a zoo exhibit

The San Diego Zoo

We recommend you download a map of the San Diego Zoo from their website before you visit and decide which exhibits you want to prioritize. They also have a list of all the animals, experiences, shops, and dining, along with the option to download the San Diego Zoo app for an even better visitor experience.

Ticket Prices

Pricing to enter the San Diego Zoo varies from $58 to $81 per person depending on age and if it is a value day or not. Be sure to visit their tickets page for exact pricing and for any special pricing or group rates.


The main campus features several themed areas with a diverse array of animals, including the Lost Forest, Northern Frontier, Asian Passage, Elephant Odyssey, Reptile Walk, Urban Jungle, Outback, African Rocks, and Urban Jungle, among others. It takes an average of three to four hours to see all the exhibits at the San Diego Zoo.


At the San Diego Zoo, you will find a 4D Theater, play areas, wildlife presentations, plus shopping options. The zoo has an overhead gondola and bus service that can take you to different areas inside the campus.

Dining Options

The San Diego Zoo has several stands offering quick bites of food such as popcorn, sandwiches, and pretzels. There are also casual dining options like the Busy Bee Cafe, Safari Kitchen, and Hua Mei Cafe. In addition to casual dining options, the San Diego Zoo also offers full-service dining at Albert’s Restaurant. Albert’s has chef-inspired plates along with a patio, waterfall, and full-service bar.

a woman and her child feed a giraffe

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is about a 40-minute drive away from the main campus when you rent a San Diego charter bus.

Ticket Prices

Like the other campus, pricing to enter the San Diego Zoo Safari Park varies from $58 to $81 per person depending on age and if it is a value day or not. Be sure to visit their tickets page for exact pricing and any special pricing or group rates. Pricing for safaris also varies, with the cart safari packages starting at $60 per person all the way up to $710 a person for a private and personal safari. You can also opt for a walking tour for $29 a person.


The exhibits at the Safari Park are more spacious and spread out than the San Diego Zoo. Exhibits include World Gardens, Walkabout Australia, Asian Savanna, African Plains, Gorilla Forest, and a handful of others.


While the main attraction at the Safari Park is the safaris, there’s also entertainment that is mainly geared towards children, such as a carousel, play areas, wildlife presentations, and a balloon safari. There are also a few shops to explore for a souvenir, including Plant Trader, which allows you to take home garden items grown at the park.


The San Diego Zoo Safari Park offers several quick service restaurants and stands, but the star of the show is The Watering Hole at Kijamii Overlook. The full-service restaurant allows you a stunning view of the African Plains as you dine. Keep in mind that a service charge applies for parties of seven or more, and making reservations is recommended.

Where to Park at the San Diego Zoo

The parking lot in front of the zoo offers free parking. If you rent a charter bus in San Diego, you can count on your charter bus driver to handle the driving and parking for you. They will park at the designated area near Inspiration Point parking lot, which is on the east side of Park Boulevard, between Presidents Way and the Balboa Park Activity Center. This is also where you can park if the parking lot in front of the zoo is crowded.

Where to Park at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The Safari Park has designated parking for all vehicles. Unlike the other campus, parking is not free. It starts at $20 for regular cars. If you book a bus rental in San Diego to go to Safari Park, there are designated spaces in the parking lot for your vehicle. Your charter bus driver can handle it for you.

a woman and young girl surrounded by birds and smiling

Book a Charter Bus to the San Diego Zoo Today

Book a San Diego bus rental for convenient transportation to and from both campuses and the surrounding area! The charter bus rentals in our network can accommodate anywhere from 15 to 56 passengers. We also offer a quick and easy booking process, with transparent charter bus pricing and free, no-obligation quotes. Rent a charter bus in minutes when you call our team at 619-209-7804. We are available 24/7 and ready to take your call!