California has plenty of world-class zoos that offer up an exciting way to get up close and personal with animals. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which one is best for you and your family.
Tourist Attractions To Zoo In California
From Los Angeles to Eureka, there are plenty of world-class zoos to explore. Whether you’re a family with little kids or a couple in your twenties, there’s something for everyone! Located in Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo is the best-known zoo in all of Southern California.
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It is known for its size and wide variety of exhibits. It is also one of the most popular zoos in the world, with nearly 1.8 million visitors each year. The Zoo is well-known for its excellent animal care and wildlife conservation efforts. Guests can also enjoy behind-the-scenes tours and learn about the animals that live there.
There are several different types of tours at the zoo, including a safari tour, which is a great way to get up close and personal with some of the desert wildlife. They also offer a rhino encounter, which lets you meet one of the black rhinos up close.
Another popular option is the Living Desert Scenic Drive, which is a scenic drive that takes you through the Chihuahuan and Baja California deserts. It is a 1.5-mile loop and costs $4 per person.
The Los Angeles Zoo is a large zoo that attracts large crowds during the weekend and holidays, so it’s a good idea to make your reservation early. You’ll be able to see more of the animals while enjoying less crowds, and you’ll have more time to take in the sights of the zoo.
A zoo is the perfect place for families to spend time together and learn more about animals. In addition to showcasing a wide range of different species, they often feature exhibits designed around particular habitats and environments.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park #1
Located in the San Pasqual Valley near Escondido, San Diego Zoo Safari Park is a 1,800-acre wildlife preserve that showcases wild animals living in their natural habitat. With herds of giraffes, rhinos, antelope and zebra among other animals, the Safari Park is an unforgettable experience for visitors.
Visiting the Safari Park with kids is truly an adventure that’s sure to be fun for the entire family. Make your visit even more special by following these helpful tips.
Tip #1: Be sure to bring sunscreen with SPF of at least 30. The Safari Park can be hot and sunny, especially during summer, so you want to protect your skin from the sun’s rays.
Another tip is to download the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park app so you don’t get lost in the zoo’s sprawling layout. It’s also a good idea to bring a battery charger as you’ll be using your phone for most of your trip.
|Address||15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027, United States|
|Opened||10 May 1972|
|Land area||1,800 acres (7.3 km2) (2.8 sq mi)|
|No. of species||400+|
Santa Barbara Zoo #2
With 30 acres and 146 species of animals, Santa Barbara Zoo is one of the best small zoos in the country. Here, you can see exotic creatures like meerkats, lions, and gorillas living in naturalistic habitats, which mimic their homes in the wild.
With a mission to preserve, conserve, and enhance the natural world, the Zoo offers an engaging, fun day for kids. Its small size is a plus, as it allows visitors to spend more time with the animals and explore the grounds.
The Zoo is open daily from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, except on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission is $25 for adults and $15 for children under two years old. A fun way to end your visit is with a ride on the Zoo Train. This is a great attraction for families, as the trains circle around the Zoo’s perimeter and feature animal-themed music.
The zoo also hosts After Hours at the Zoo every Wednesday from June 1 through July 27, which features activities including train rides, food vendors, and live music. Guests can also watch keeper talks and interact with the animals.
|Address||500 Ninos Dr, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, United States|
|Number of animals||500|
Fresno Chaffee Zoo #3
Located in Roeding Park, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo covers 39 acres and features 190 species. With a plethora of exciting exhibits and educational programs, this zoo is sure to capture the attention of children and adults alike.
The zoo’s African Adventure Safari is a unique experience that transports visitors to Africa without leaving the state. The safari ride gives you the opportunity to see animals from the wild, including lions, elephants, rhinos, hippos, and cheetahs!
If you want to learn more about the animals, consider attending one of Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s Keeper Chats. Offered several times daily, these presentations help you better understand the animals and their habitats. A new butterfly garden recently opened at the zoo.
This walk-through exhibit features a pollinator garden, a butterfly house, and educational signage. The zoo is also home to the Edward A. Kane Reptile House, which is the world’s first computer-controlled reptile habitat. This habitat modifies temperature, humidity, and light cycles to replicate the environment of each reptile.
|Located in||Roeding Park|
|Address||894 W Belmont Ave, Fresno, CA 93728, United States|
|Land area||39 acres (16 ha)|
San Francisco Zoo #4
The San Francisco Zoo is located next to the Pacific Ocean on the western side of the city. It houses more than 2,000 exotic animals from around the world, and its 100 acres of tranquil gardens provide guests with a relaxing escape from the bustle of city life.
The zoo is open daily, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Admission is $18 for adults and children under 2 years old are free. A visit to the SF Zoo is a great way to spend an afternoon with your kids. There are plenty of activities to keep them busy including a miniature train ride and an old-time vintage carousel.
It is a good idea to start early on weekdays as it will beat the crowds and the animals are most active in the mornings. The zoo also offers certain days when it is free for San Francisco residents. There are also four different walking and informational tours. You can sign up for one of these tours in advance through the San Francisco Zoo website.
|Address||Sloat Blvd &, Upper Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA 94132, United States|
|Notable animals||Koko (Gorillas), Stephen Jr. (Bald eagle), MORE|
|Exhibits||Lemur Forest, Gorilla Preserve, African Aviary, MORE|
Oakland Zoo #5
The Oakland Zoo is a wonderful place to visit with kids and see more than 700 species of animals. The zoo is filled with amazing animal attractions, educational areas, huge aviaries and great dining experiences. The zoo is built into the hills of Oakland’s Knowland Park, making it a unique experience for the whole family.
You can see animals from all over the world, from tigers to elephants and even white-handed gibbons! During your visit, be sure to take advantage of all the opportunities to learn about wildlife conservation. Many animals are facing extinction around the world, so you’ll want to find out how you can help.
Another great way to make your zoo visit more fun and educational is with an animal scavenger hunt. There are plenty of sheets available online that you can print out before your visit and then use to guide yourself through the zoo!
You can also try the zoo’s popular program for kids, ZooKids. This is a drop-off program for ages 5-6 that offers a tour of the zoo, crafts and a chance to meet one of the small animals up close!
|Address||9777 Golf Links Rd, Oakland, CA 94605, United States|
|Number of animals||850|
|Land area||100 acres (40 ha)|
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo #6
San Jose’s Happy Hollow Park and Zoo is an excellent place for children to learn about the natural world. It has a variety of animals, including endangered species, which are well cared for. It is also home to a puppet theater and play areas for kids.
zoo features birds, reptiles and mammals like lemurs, jaguars and monkeys. The park also has a petting zoo, where children can pet and feed goats, sheep and miniature horses. It has an animal hospital, too.
Visitors to the park can also visit the animal ambassadors, which are rescued and exotic species from around the world. These ambassadors help connect people to nature and inspire them to take action for wildlife protection.
The zoo also has a Senior Safari program, which aims to combat social isolation by getting older adults out into the community. It was created after zoo officials met with the San Jose Rotary Club and visitors to discuss the need for more safe places for seniors to get out and be social.
|Located in||Kelley Park|
|Address||748 Story Rd, San Jose, CA 95112, United States|
|Notable animals||Marlon, Haley, Spice Girl, Sweet William, Hogan, MORE|
|Opened||27 March 1961|
Sequoia Park Zoo #7
Located next to Eureka’s magnificent old-growth redwoods, Sequoia Park Zoo is one of the best zoos in California. Established in 1907, it is the oldest and smallest AZA accredited zoo in the country, and is home to more than 50 species of native and exotic animals.
In addition to its many animal exhibits, the zoo offers interactive experiences such as the Barnyard, watershed play and walk-through aviary. Visitors can learn about the importance of conservation of the natural world as they explore these areas.
The zoo also participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, which manages endangered species within its care. These include white-handed gibbons, spider monkeys and Chacoan peccaries.
In 1995 the zoo received accreditation from the AZA, and it has grown into an important cultural facility for Humboldt County. It inspires conservation of the natural world by instilling wonder, respect and passion for wildlife. It also offers educational programming, a gift shop and cafe. It is a popular attraction for both locals and tourists.
|Located in||Sequoia Park|
|Address||3414 W St, Eureka, CA 95503, United States|
|Land area||5 acres (2.0 ha)|
|Notable animals||Cini, Toby, Rosemary, Shifu, Cheyenne, Dorsie, MORE|
Sacramento Zoo #8
Sacramento Zoo is one of the best zoos in California and offers an exciting experience for visitors. The zoo is home to over 140 native, rare and endangered species and inspires conservation awareness through education and recreation.
It’s been open since 1927 and has a lot to offer for families. With over 500 animals and attractions to choose from, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The zoo is located in picturesque Land Park. Parking is on-street and free throughout the zoo.
There are many attractions at the zoo, including the giraffe encounter. This is an amazing opportunity to get eye-to-eye with these gentle giants, who will allow you to feed them and take pictures for a fee.
The zoo also offers an overnight experience that includes a tour of the zoo, special zoo talks and feedings, dinner, campfire songs and stories and breakfast in the morning. This is the perfect way to celebrate a birthday or other special occasion with friends and family.
|Address||3930 W Land Park Dr, Sacramento, CA 95822, United States|
|Notable animals||Jordan, Obi, Flux, Mai Tai, Goody, Daiquiri, MORE|
|Opened||2 June 1927|
|Number of animals||500|
|Land area||14.3 acres (5.8 ha)|
FAQs about Zoo In California
How many zoos does California have?
California is home to over 30 zoos and animal parks, including world-renowned facilities such as the San Diego Zoo and the Los Angeles Zoo. These zoos showcase a wide variety of animals from around the world and offer educational programs and conservation efforts to protect and preserve endangered species.
Which Zoo is bigger in California?
The San Diego Zoo is the largest zoo in California, covering over 100 acres of land and housing more than 3,500 animals from 650 different species. It is also one of the most popular tourist attractions in California, known for its extensive collection of rare and exotic animals, as well as its beautiful botanical gardens and innovative animal habitats.