Established in 1916, San Diego Zoo is regarded as one of the largest zoos in the world in terms of the number of exotic and endangered species of birds, mammals and reptiles. The municipal zoo, which covers a staggering 100 acres (40 hectares) piece of land, lies within the Balboa Park that’s leased from the city of San Diego.
What to Expect In the Zoo
Perhaps the most eye-catching features of the zoo are the smooth winding hills, the little spectacular canyons and the beautiful landscaping. There are a total of about 4000 animals (a mixture of more than 800 species) living amidst this wonderful setting and more than 6,500 plant species maintained on the grounds.
Koalas are plenty in the San Diego Zoo (probably the largest breeding colony outside of Australia) and
that’s largely because of the abundance of eucalyptus trees within the park. Notable animal species available in the zoo include Amur leopard, arctic fox, Baribusa (pig deer), bonobo, camel, cheetah, Chinese alegator, otter, anaconda, mountain lion, klipspringer and mang mountain viper.
Other unique species found within the zoo are capybara, fossa, giant panda, hamadryas baboon, jaguar, lemur, Nubian ibex, red panda, snow leopard, serval, Tasmanian devil, sun bear, reindeer and more. In terms of
birdlife, visitors can be treated to magnificent sights of bateleur eagles, bee-eaters, black-head weavers, California condors, laughing kookaburra and more.
One of the noteworthy sections of the zoo is the tiger trail, a perfect simulation of an Asian tropical rainforest, with well-cultivated plants that give visitors the feel of walking into a jungle. The gorillas and Malayan sun bears also live in simulated natural habitats, which are beautiful to behold. Further, there are great sights at the children’s zoo and the polar bear habitat (with chilled pool) that cannot be missed.
There is a spectacular variety of plants on the San Diego Zoo that cannot be bypassed. Some of the unique plant sections within the zoo include bromeliad garden (with about 200 species), ginger garden, Hawaiian native
plant garden, sun bear forest, fern canyon and Australian plant species (home to koalas).
Research and Breeding Programs
The San Diego Zoo’s department of Conservation and Research for Endangered species is responsible for all breeding programs and conservation efforts. The departments conducts research on such animals as tree kangaroos, meerkats, pandas, Tasmanian devils, gavials and clouded leopards. They collect tissues and specimens of these animals and store them in the Frozen Zoo for analysis and experimentation.
Things to Do At the Zoo
There are innumerable things to do and see at the San Diego Zoo. You can spend a night at the zoo and get up close with the giant pandas before they return home or experience, touch, view and take pictures with animals under the watch of a guide. There are also inside look tours, featuring two hours or so of entertaining and educational adventures with special behind-the-scene views, which you can take advantage of.
Better yet, you can take a 60-minute guided discovery cart tour, visit private keeper areas to learn a thing or two about cats or go for an early morning photo expedition with birds, pandas and more. There are also opportunities
to walk the grounds with zoo educators and zookeepers and learn firsthand what it takes to feed and care for the animals.
There is definitely a lot to explore, learn and experience in this leading animal care and conservation. It is always open for the better part of the week, so people are welcome to visit any day and enjoy the
Since you are in San Diego, don’t forget to see the San Diego Padres!