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San Diego Zoo

2920 Zoo Dr

San Diego, CA 92101

World renowned San Diego Zoo is a must-see during any trip to Southern California.  Founded in 1916, the Zoo has been a key attraction in the city for over 100 years.

Quick Facts:

  • San Diego’s zoo was founded as a non-profit by a local surgeon, Dr. Harry M. Wegeforth on Oct 2, 1916.

  • The zoo was founded after several exotic animals were abandoned following the 1915 Panama-California International Exposition.

  • The current location, established in 1922, is just over 100 acres in total.

  • It’s located in beautiful Balboa Park, just north of downtown.

  • There are over 800 species and subspecies, and over 4,000 animals currently featured.

  • The San Diego Zoo’s botanical collection includes more than 700,000 plants

  • There are only 1,600 giant pandas left in existence. The San Diego Zoo has the largest population of pandas in North America.

  • The Australian Outback exhibit features 24 koalas, giant pandas and numerous other animals that share their bamboo forest habitat.

  • The Zoo is open every day throughout the year

  • The San Diego Zoo was one of the first to build "cageless", moated exhibits and launched the first ever lion area without enclosing fencing in 1922.

  • There are over 250,000 households that maintain annual zoo memberships.

  • San Diego Zoo Global also operates the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, both in Escondido.

No trip to San Diego is complete without a visit to its iconic zoo.  Plan on spending at least a half a day here, and spend a full day if you really want to see the sights.  

Although on city property in Balboa Park, the zoo is privately operated by the nonprofit Zoological Society of San Diego. The land, equipment, assets, and even the animals at the zoo are owned by the city and leased to the Zoological Society.

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