The San Diego Zoo is an incredible place. It is certainly worth the visit and perfect to bring friends and family.
When it comes to things you should know before you go. I've got you covered.
First: PARKING IS FREE. If you've never been to California, you may not know that free parking is a glorious and rare find at parks. The Zoo has made that possible.
Second: Buy tickets online. There are plenty of discounts available depending on your job. You should also print tickets at home prior to arrival.
Third: The Zoo allows you to bring in food. There are no straws or glass allowed but everything is fair game. If you bring a reusable water bottle, the cafes will refill it for free. You'll get cold water as well which is perfect for the summer months. Pack a lunch and ample snacks. It will help tremendously when it comes to cutting costs.
Fourth: Bring a fan/hat. Although there are shaded areas, the zoo gets very hot. You'll want to be able to stay cool.
Fifth: The Zoo animals take afternoon naps, especially in the heat. Get there early.
Sixth: Plan an early start to the day if you would like to see the animals alert, otherwise arrive at 12 and stay until close so you can enjoy the various shows the Zoo has to offer.
Seventh: The Panda exhibit has a long line. Just be patient.
Eighth: There is a petting paddock for adults and kids in the zoo however if you want to feed the giraffes you will have to go to the Safari Park. It's farther away and a separate fee. Just keep in mind that it's a different experience.
Ninth: The park has many souvenirs available, some of them go directly towards research or animals. Make sure to read labels so you know where your money is going.
Tenth: Be prepared to walk. If you do not walk a lot you need to plan plenty of rest period throughout the day. There is a bus that gives you an over all tour as well as the Aerial tram, but if you want to get exercise then take the walk. Bring Advil if you know you're going to want it for your feet.