Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, Oh My! And More at the San Diego Zoo

Growing up in Southern California, unlike many of the kids instead of a season pass to Disneyland or Knotts Berry Farm, my family had passes to the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park (now the Safari Park). Some of my favorite memories are exploring mostly the Park but every once in a while the Zoo too.

Why I love the San Diego Zoo . Plus why you can't miss it on your trip to San Diego.Places like the San Diego Zoo are where I fell in love with animals, happily sitting watching these amazing creatures just wandering around or walk into a bird enclosure and have them fly just over your shoulder. It gave me, a city kid, the chance to witness the awe these creatures have and build a strong respect for them. And while I do enjoy other zoos I have yet to find one that even comes close to the size and quality of the San Diego Zoo.

I was lucky enough to go visit it with my family again last month. It was great to see these amazing animals, get to play with my new camera and, of course, be back in a place with my siblings.

It is much more fun to show you the Zoo and why you should visit than just tell you.

Note: You’ll find affiliate links in this post which allow me to continue to improve Traveling Nine to Fiver. I hope this article is useful for you. 

The Big Guys (and Gals)

Why I love the San Diego Zoo . Plus why you can't miss it on your trip to San Diego.

You can’t help but love the big cats. We were lucky to find the tigers up and active. This one was trying to play with his fellow tigers next door.

Why I love the San Diego Zoo . Plus why you can't miss it on your trip to San Diego.

The polar bears were a little more mellow when we visited them in the early afternoon. This one seemed annoyed that the crowds were keeping him from his afternoon nap.

The Babies

Why I love the San Diego Zoo . Plus why you can't miss it on your trip to San Diego.The early summer is a great time to visit this and other zoos. Many of the little one’s that were born in the spring are now out in the enclosures. We saw babies including  meerkats, koalas, manatees and even a six-foot tall giraffe. And, yes they are taller than you are when they are born.

Why I love the San Diego Zoo . Plus why you can't miss it on your trip to San Diego.

The most popular baby in the park had to have been this leopard cub, you had to wade through a crowd of people five deep. It was worth it to get a chance to see this little cub with its mother.

A Few of My Favorite Creatures

Why I love the San Diego Zoo . Plus why you can't miss it on your trip to San Diego.

I became oddly fascinated with the California Condor when I was introduced to them as a kid. Maybe it’s because they are predominately in my state or maybe it is their mindblowing wingspan, as long as 10 feet. These creepy and majestic birds for me are a highlight of the park.

Why I love the San Diego Zoo . Plus why you can't miss it on your trip to San Diego.One of the first animals we spotted were the orangutans. I’ve always found these guys a little funky, and I mean that in a good way. They were swinging around and even interacting with the crowds. It was a fun way to start the park.

An astounding Experience Supporting A Worthy Organization

Beyond being an amazing experience for both kids and adults, the San Diego Zoological Society that operates the Zoo and Safari Park is a non-profit organization working to improve the world. They have a variety of education programs, but the most impressive activities are their conservation and breeding programs that have brought species back from the brink of extinction. An example is the California Condor above that was believed to have only 20 birds left in 1982 and now there are over 417 in California alone, more than half of which are in the wild.

While I am a huge fan of Disney and some of the other for-profit entertainment parks in California the unique experience at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Parks is having an amazing experience with you money going to a cause that will make a difference in the world. Learn more about their efforts here.

Find more of my favorite things to do in San Diego here.

For more information about San Diego check out these great books on Amazon including Fodor’s San DiegoTop 10 San Diego, and San Diego Brewery Guide.


Traveling to San Diego Soon?

There is so much to explore in the San Diego area. Whether you stay a few days or a few weeks you’ll want to find a great spot to explore. Learn more about and book more fantastic hotels in San Diego on Priceline and TripAdvisor.


About Megan

Megan MacNee is the founder of Traveling Nine to Fiver. From nine to five she works in the non-profit world in California. She focuses on exploring the world from her own backyard to across the globe. You'll find her sharing about explorations through food, books, travel, and more.