Frequently Asked Questions
The Zoo and Safari Park have strollers available for rent.The daily charge for a single stroller is $12 and a double stroller is $16.
There is one size of stroller, made of molded plastic, to fit a variety of children; you may check the fit before renting. Strollers have cup holders and a storage pouch in the back. Our double strollers offer side-by-side seating.
We have a limited inventory and provide these items on a first-come, first-served basis. No advance reservations are available. We recommend arriving early to secure one.
Our parks have wheelchairs and electric scooters available for rent. The daily rental charge for a manual wheelchair is $12 and an electric scooter is $45 for nonmembers, $35 for members. Guests must provide a valid driver’s license or San Diego Zoo Global membership card. We have a limited inventory and provide these items on a first-come, first-served basis. No advance reservations available. We recommend arriving early to secure one.
The Zoo has a First Aid office, located next to the Reptile house, which is often used by mothers to nurse their infants. There is a privacy curtain to allow mothers complete privacy. We also have a microwave for preparing your child’s meal. Some mothers prefer to sit just outside the First Aid office on one of the benches provided. It is semi-private as the vegetation growth is considerable. Diaper changing stations are also available in most restrooms.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has a curtained area in the Health Services office that is often used by mothers to nurse their infants, as well as an area in the women’s restrooms designated for nursing. Diaper changing stations are also available in most restrooms.
We have a variety of options to assist you and your family. Both of our parks offer an “Easy Access Pass” that allows you to go to the head of the lines at the Zoo’s Bus Depot and Skyfari aerial tram and the Safari Park’s Africa Tram Safari. In addition, there are complimentary shuttles to assist you and your party in accessing our lower canyon areas.
Please stop in at Guest Services to request our ADA Packet that will include information on these services as well as descriptions of exhibits and show access.
If you have other specific questions, we will be happy to assist you. Please feel free to call us at 619-718-3000.
When four walls and a ceiling just won’t do for your next event, consider a place that knows no boundaries. The Zoo and the Safari Park are special for a reason. Whether you are planning an intimate gathering for 20 or a spectacular gala for 3,000, our authentic atmosphere and talented special events staff makes it easy. Our professional coordinators are there to help you customize your experience and give your guests an event they will always remember.
Contact us at 619-685-3259 for more information and prices. More information can also be found at http://www.sandiegozoo.org/groupevents/.
We regret that children’s birthday “packages” are not available at the San Diego Zoo or the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. We do, however, offer a full range of catering services, or guests may bring personal food items into our parks. Large food storage containers such as coolers are not permitted on grounds, and no facilities are available for food storage. Tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For the safety of other guests and the animals in our care, we ask that you do not bring any glass, straws, alcohol, or balloons into our parks.
If you would like to discuss a private, catered event, please call our Catering Sales Department at 619-685-3259, Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. or visit our Web site at http://www.sandiegozoo.org/catering/index.html.
The San Diego Zoo’s mission focuses on the conservation of endangered species. In keeping with our mission, we try to reduce waste and resource use by providing information online rather than in printed form. Please help us conserve resources by using the following suggested links for guest information.
For large requests (100 or more), please e-mail us.
At the San Diego Zoo we have quarter-operated lockers located in the Discovery Outpost across from Poppy’s Patio: Small locker: $.75 (16x24x14) Large locker: $1.50 (29x15x23)
At the Safari Park, we have quarter-operated lockers located just inside and to the left of the main entrance: Small locker: $.75 (12x12) Large locker: $1.50 (18x18)
For guests who have lost something while visiting, please contact us to inquire if your item was turned in to our Guest Services Department. Please include as much information as possible pertaining to your lost item and in which park you believe it is lost. Please include complete contact information in case your item is found.
The Zoo has free parking.
Please click here for current Safari Park parking fees.
No overnight parking is permitted at either park, other than for guests participating in scheduled sleepover programs. Payment can be made by credit card or cash (no $100 bills).
We have recycling containers for aluminum cans and plastic bottles located throughout our parks. In addition, both the Zoo and Safari Park have cell phone recycling drop boxes. A large Plexiglas drop box is located next to the re-entry hand stamp station at the Zoo’s exit. A similar drop box is located just past the turnstiles at the main entrance of the Safari Park.
The Zoological Society of San Diego (“ZSSD”) is committed to high standards of ethical, moral, and legal business conduct. ZSSD is further dedicated to acting in good faith with those clients or employees who raise concerns regarding incorrect financial reporting, unlawful activity, or otherwise improper conduct.
The audit committee, board, and management team at ZSSD value your input. That is why we have selected EthicsPoint to provide us with an anonymous and confidential method to hear your suggestions, concerns, or report of misconduct. The information you provide will be sent to us by EthicsPoint on a totally confidential and anonymous basis. You have our guarantee that your comments will be heard.
To lodge a formal complaint, you can do so either via the web at https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/media/en/gui/24939/index.html, or by calling 1-866-287-5716
Guests who are on grounds at the Zoo or Safari Park who wish to leave and return the same day at no charge during open hours may have their hands stamped at the Exit Gate turnstiles. Be sure to keep your ticket! Safari Park guests should keep their parking receipts to avoid having to pay twice for same-day parking.
The quickest way to the Zoo from the San Diego International Airport is by taxi, an 11-minute, 5-mile ride.
Amtrak railway service (800-872-7245) travels up and down the coast between Los Angeles and downtown San Diego, stopping in Oceanside. Once your train arrives in San Diego, the quickest way to the Zoo from the Santa Fe Depot is by taxi, a 9-minute, 31/2-mile ride.
A light rail service called the Sprinter travels between Oceanside and Escondido, approximately 22 miles. Once you arrive at the downtown Escondido Transit Center via the Sprinter, the quickest way to the Safari Park is by taxi, an 11-minute, 7-mile ride. You can find more information about the Sprinter on the web at http://www.gonctd.com/sprinter_intro.htm or by calling 760-967-2001.
Information about public bus transportation can be found on the web at www.sdcommute.com or by calling 619-233-3004. The #7 bus stops at the Zoo. There is one public bus that stops at the Safari Park; however, depending upon your departure point, connecting schedules may mean a travel time of approximately 25 minutes from the Escondido Transit Center and up to 3 hours each way from San Diego. Bus service is very limited on weekends and holidays.
Useful information can be obtained from the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau, 619-232-3101. The Visitor Information Center can be reached at 619-276-8200. Another source of information is the San Diego North County Visitor Bureau, which can be reached at 800-848-3336.
There really isn’t any special time that more animals are in view, although many of our animals are “early risers” and may be a bit more active in the morning. One of the things that surprise new visitors to our facilities is the naturalistic look of our animal exhibits. In our concern for the many endangered species that we house at our facilities, we have built exhibits that mimic natural environments. Like natural environments, these areas give the animals plenty of room to hide. We have found that the ability to hide is important in the well being of many species.
Go to our Animals web site or use the Web site’s Search function to search for your animal. If the animal is part of our collection, its location will be noted on the response page.
The popular Petting Paddock in the Children’s Zoo allows kids (and kids at heart) a chance to feel the wooly coat of a sheep or comb a gentle goat’s hair.
At the Safari Park, the Petting Kraal offers a very satisfactory tactile experience. Also at the Park is Lorikeet Landing, where you lend a hand—literally—in feeding the lorikeets! The Park’s interactive Animal Encounters program gives you an opportunity to have face-to-face contact with the Park’s animal ambassadors like a cheetah, alligator, serval, and other rare and exotic animals. You may interact with trainers and ask questions about the species. Interactions happen throughout the Park; check your Park map insert for times and locations. And (most of) our Special Experiences are uniquely designed to get you closer to animals!
Due to the fact that our facilities house significant populations of rare and endangered species, both the Zoo and the Safari Park are considered to be quarantined facilities. State and federal regulations for such facilities do not allow for the access of pets accompanying guests to these facilities. This also includes the unavailability of kennels to house pets during a visit to either facility.
Guests may bring personal food items into our parks. Large food storage containers such as coolers are not permitted on grounds, and no facilities are available for food storage.
For the convenience of guests, there are picnic areas located outside the Zoo’s main entrance and near the Safari Park’s entry plaza within easy walking distance of our parking lots. Zoo and Park guests who have already entered our parks may get their hand stamped for re-entry on the same day of their visit during park operating hours. Our education department makes special accommodations for school groups who have set up their visit as part of our ongoing programs. For the safety of guests and the animals in our care, please do not bring glass, alcohol, or straws into our parks.
Guests are welcome to bring a backpack into our parks.
We recognize the seriousness of food allergies, and although we would like to accommodate all guest requirements, as a not-for-profit organization we are unable to do so. Our kitchens are not equipped to prepare food separately for guests who are sensitive to certain ingredients. Each restaurant can provide an ingredient list for the items available for purchase; however, we cannot assure you that other ingredients may not be in the preparation environment.
Our facilities are open every day of the year, rain or shine! Depending on the extent of rain, some animals (primates, specifically) may choose to go into their off-exhibit bedroom areas, although many animals seem to enjoy the rain. Animals may be taken off exhibit for a variety of reasons including environmental conditions, health issues, and behavioral concerns. In addition, many of our exhibits are designed to allow animals to remove themselves from visitor view at any time. For these reasons, it is not always possible to predict or note these exceptions before the fact. For a report on current Zoo weather, click here, and for the Safari Park, click here.
Smoking is not permitted anywhere on Zoo or Safari Park grounds or parking lots. Guests who wish to smoke are welcome to have their hands stamped for same-day reentry when leaving our grounds to smoke. Please keep your ticket! Safari Park guests should keep their parking receipts to avoid having to pay twice for same-day parking when leaving for and returning from smoke breaks.
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The Safari Park is located approximately 35 miles northeast of the San Diego Zoo.
San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park
15500 San Pasqual Valley Road
Escondido CA 92027
View San Diego Zoo & Safari Park in a larger map
The Safari Park is located approximately 35 miles northeast of the Zoo, in Escondido, California. The Park spans 1,800 acres (more than half of which has been set aside as protected native species habitat) and cares for over 3,000 animals comprising more than 400 species (not including the species that inhabit the protected California native habitat which is a part of the Park). The Park showcases herd-style animals from the plains and savannas of Africa and Asia that normally roam together in the wild, such as rhinos, giraffes, and antelope. The Safari Park is a unique walking experience that exhibits animals in the most natural way possible, adding shows and animal presentations throughout the day for additional enjoyment. We recommend a minimum visit time of at least four to six hours.
The Zoo, located adjacent to downtown San Diego in Balboa Park, is 100 acres in size and houses over 4,000 animals comprised of more than 800 species from the forests and jungles of the world. It is viewed in several ways, first and foremost by walking along pathways, into aviaries, and through bioclimatic zones. There is a 35-minute Guided Bus Tour that gives a good overview of the Zoo, along with an Express Bus that stops at several locations to assist guests in accessing different areas. We suggest taking the Guided Bus Tour upon your arrival to acquaint yourself with the various areas where you would like to spend additional time. The Zoo is a unique walking experience that exhibits animals in the most natural way possible, adding shows and animal presentations throughout the day for additional enjoyment. We recommend a minimum visit time of at least three to four hours.
The San Diego Zoo’s policies require that all media requests be screened by our Public Relations office. Media are asked to contact (619) 685-3291 or email email@example.com for assistance.
As you can imagine, we receive hundreds of emails each week from guests requesting an interview with our animal care staff. We are unable to accommodate all such requests as this would take our animal care staff away from their primary responsibilities to the animals in their care. Information about animal species may be found on our Animals web site.
All current employment opportunities are now listed on our website. Please click here to view current opportunities. Please keep in mind that we have an electronic application process and no longer accept paper resumes or applications. Unsolicited resumes are not kept on file. If offered employment, you must be able to present proof of citizenship or legal right to work in the U.S.
As a not-for-profit organization, the Zoo depends on money raised from admission to assist it in maintaining the animals in its care and further its mission of conservation and education. We do recognize that many groups would like our assistance with donations and complete details can be obtained by calling our Donation Line at 619-231-1515 ext. 4266. The requesting organization must be located within zip codes 90000-92999 (as indicated on your letterhead).
The Zoo is a not-for-profit organization that works to conserve endangered species through management plans for our collections and for individual species. We are unable to accept animal or plant donations because to do so would mean that we would have less room for the species with which we are currently working.
All potential products for every area have to go through our Purchasing Department. Due to the large number of requests we receive we ask that all inquiries to our buyers’ office be made in writing. You may send a cover letter along with a prospectus or a catalog to:
San Diego Zoo
P.O. Box 120551
San Diego, CA 92112
Please understand that due to the large volume of inquiries received this office cannot personally respond to each request. A representative of this office will respond if an inquiry shows promise.
Each year, from October 1–31, in honor of our Zoo’s founding, children ages 3–11 are admitted free to the Zoo and Safari Park when accompanied by an adult.
The Zoo’s Guided Bus Tour and the Skyfari Aerial Tram are not included with Kids’ Free entrance and must be purchased separately at the Zoo.
The Safari Park’s Africa Tram Safari and the Conservation Carousel are not included with Kids Free entrance and must be purchased separately at the Park.
Adults may purchase their admission ticket(s) online, by phone, or day of at the Zoo or Safari Park.
Qualifying children entering free will not need a ticket.
Guests who visit our parks in groups of 15 or more will receive a 10% discount off the 1-Day Pass. We also offer Meal Vouchers, accepted at participating restaurants. Our parks are committed to providing a wide selection of high-quality, delicious all-American or international fare, snacks, and healthy alternatives at restaurants throughout both parks. Meal vouchers are $11 per person.
Group reservations and Meal Vouchers can be arranged through our Reservation Sales Department at 619-718-3000.
We offer a Shopper’s Pass, which allows you to enter the Zoo or the Safari Park and shop for 30 minutes. Once shopping, if you desire more time, you can extend your pass up to 60 minutes total. Just inform any shop employee that more time is needed, and they will be happy to coordinate this through our Guest Relations staff.
Whether you forgot to purchase a gift or left a souvenir behind, our gift shop is just a click away! To order Zoo and Safari Park merchandise online, please click here.
San Diego Zoo Gift Cards make the perfect gift! Gift cards are valid toward Zoo and Safari Park admission packages, gift shop and food stand purchases, tours and education programs, Zoo memberships, and more. Best of all, they never expire!
You have several options to purchase Gift Cards: the easiest way is to call our Reservation Sales office at 619-718-3000. Additionally, you can purchase them online or at any of our gift shops at both the Zoo and the Safari Park.
Lost or stolen Gift Cards cannot be replaced.
Web sessions expire after 20 minutes, regardless of activity. Using your browser’s “Back” button will interrupt your web session and will result in a loss of items from your shopping cart.
By using a number of security technologies in our websites, we maintain as a priority the privacy of your information. More…
Although refund requests can take up to two days to electronically process, the issuing card’s bank ultimately decides when the credit will be applied to the cardholder’s account. Depending upon when the refund is issued within the card’s statement cycle, it may take up to two cycles for an account statement to reflect a refund.
An authorization or pending “hold” is a banking industry practice of authorizing electronic transactions made with a debit or credit card and holding this balance as unavailable either until the merchant “clears” the transaction (also called “settlement”) or the hold “falls off.” When a guest inadvertently charges a card multiple times during the same transaction, more than one “hold” can appear on the account.
Basically, when a debit or credit card number is submitted, it is transmitted as an electronic inquiry to determine if funds are available to cover the potential transaction. The bank automatically places a “hold” on the amount until the merchant “clears” or “settles” the transaction (usually at the close of business each day). These “holds” usually “drop off” after one to three days, depending on the issuing bank’s policy.
Whenever possible and at the issuing bank’s request, we are happy to cooperate to resolve “pending hold” issues, but it’s important to note that while a request to release a hold can be made, not all banks will honor one. And even if they do, the release of funds may not be instant. Ultimately, merchants do not have the ability to release an authorization hold; the only entity that can do so is the issuing card’s bank.
Your ticket can only be scanned once at the turnstile, regardless of how many copies you have.
Print at Home tickets are valid for one year from the issue date.
No AAA or Senior discounts can be applied toward print at home tickets. These offers must be redeemed at the park’s ticket windows by presenting your AAA card or photo ID (seniors).
As noted in the Terms and Conditions on our Web site, all tickets purchased online are nonrefundable/nonreturnable. We are unable to issue exchanges or refunds after an online purchase has been made.
You have several delivery options when purchasing your tickets online. After completing the “Billing” screen, the “Delivery Information” screen allows you to choose the ticket delivery method which best suits your needs.
Selecting the Print at Home delivery method allows you to print your tickets directly from your home or office computer and printer. Your tickets are e-mailed to you with a pdf attachment. Print the .pdf attachment and bring your printed tickets to the main entrance to be admitted to the park. All tickets purchased online are non-refundable/non-returnable. We are unable to issue exchanges or refunds after an online purchase has been made. You can click here for a free download of Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print your tickets. Please configure your spam or junk mail filter to allow e-mails with attachments from firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are unable to retrieve your tickets, please present your order number to Guest Relations upon your arrival and we can reprint your tickets at that time.
The Self-Service Kiosk method will allow you to pick up your tickets at a Zoo or Safari Park Ticketing Kiosk at the front of the park when you arrive. Choosing the kiosk delivery method requires you to swipe the credit card used to make the purchase online. When prompted, please enter Order number to retrieve your tickets. All tickets purchased online are nonrefundable/nonreturnable. We are unable to issue exchanges or refunds after an online purchase has been made.
Have your tickets delivered to your home, office or hotel (U. S. addresses only) via FedEx Ground for $10 or FedEx Overnight for $20. Please allow three business days for us to ship your order. FedEx is unable to deliver to P. O. boxes. Signature release will be required. All tickets purchased online are nonrefundable/nonreturnable. We are unable to issue exchanges or refunds after an online purchase has been made.
All ticket packages can be purchased in person at both parks.
Guests who visit our parks in groups of 15 or more will receive a 10% discount off the 1-Day Pass admission. We also offer Meal Vouchers, accepted at participating restaurants. Our parks are committed to providing a wide selection of high-quality, delicious all-American or international fare, snacks and healthy alternatives at restaurants throughout both parks. Meal vouchers are $12 per person.
Group reservations and Meal Vouchers can be arranged through our Reservation Sales Department at 619-718-3000 or 800-407-9534, Monday-Friday, 8:30 – 4:45 p.m.
Our advance-sale admission tickets and ticket cards may be accepted up to 12 months from the printed expiration date on the ticket or ticket card. After that, we offer a discount toward the purchase of current, single-day 1-Day Pass tickets.
Expired complimentary admission tickets (other than date-specific) may be accepted up to 30 days from the printed expiration date on the ticket.
Please check in at either park’s Guest Relations window with your tickets, and they will be happy to assist you.
The Africa Tram Safari is enjoyed by all ages.
At the Zoo, the 1-Day Pass package includes Zoo admission with unlimited use of Guided Bus Tour, Express Bus, Skyfari aerial tram, and all exhibits and shows.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the 1-Day Pass package includes Park admission with unlimited use of Africa Tram Safari, and all exhibits and shows.