San Diego Zoo in two weeks; any tips?

Discussion in 'Southern California Theme Parks' started by LizzyS, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. LizzyS

    LizzyS DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    Messages:
    568
    So my family is flying in and we're driving down to San Diego the first weekend in October.

    I have been doing a little research here and there, but are there any unspoken/unwritten helpful tips from people who have been to the zoo?

    In particular, do they generally have plenty of wheelchairs to rent? My grandmother will need one and we're going to arrive at opening time, so I'm hoping that they are plentiful enough.

    Any advice would be great appreciated! :goodvibes
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. sonnyjane

    sonnyjane DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    6,745
    First of all, if it's October, it's Kids Free month. If you have any kids 11 and under in your group, they will be free :)

    I usually recommend the guided bus tour, as it's a great way to see most of the zoo and then you can come back and explore the things you'd like to see more of. The guided bus tour is not included with the free kid tickets, but you can buy it for $10 if you're interested.

    Also, you can't miss the pandas. If you are coming on a weekend, you'll probably encounter crowds, so try to make it down to Panda Trek before noon (even earlier is better). Other animals on exhibit that you can't miss are two baby giraffes new this year, the baby hippo (even though he is getting so big!), the baby jaguar twins in Elephant Odyssey, and the polar bears :)

    You'll be fine with getting a wheelchair at opening, and you might see me at the front with one of our birds if you get there for "rope drop" :)

    Have fun!!!
     
  4. LizzyS

    LizzyS DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    Messages:
    568
    Oh neat, you work there? Awesome!

    Thanks for the tips on the pandas and whatnot. I have never seen one in person and they're a the top of the must-see list. We are actually planning on the zoo on Friday, October 5th.
     
  5. owensamo

    owensamo DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2002
    Messages:
    1,515
    I just have to say we visited the SD zoo for the first time this summer, and *loved* it! It was one of the highlights of the trip! We didn't manage to see everything in one day (being there pretty much opening to closing) so came back for a half day to finish it up. Spectacular.

    Definitely take the bus tour - we did it later than we should have, and ended up walking a lot more than we probably had to. Also be aware that it's nothing close to flat - there's a lot of hills so if you have a wheelchair, just make sure to take that into consideration. There are a lot of trails and a lot of walking just to see everything, so with a wheelchair I'd say you should make sure you see what you want to see, and then otherwise just enjoy whatever else you get to.

    One of the amazing things we did was the Backstage Safari - where we got to feed and pet rhinos and feed flamingos. We also howled with a wolf. It was a truly amazing experience - and far better priced than equivalent unique experiences elsewhere.

    We are lifetime members for our state's zoo, and I adore it, but I have to say San Diego was was *amazing*. If we lived in that area, I could almost see us spending more time there than at Disneyland! (I was also very impressed with Sea World, where we again spent more time than planned).
     
  6. LizzyS

    LizzyS DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    Messages:
    568
    Thanks for the tip about the bus tour, I will have to check into that!
     
  7. sonnyjane

    sonnyjane DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    6,745
    Oh okay! My days off are Friday and Saturday, so you won't see me, but I'm sure you'll still manage to have a great time in my absence ;) :cool1::cool1:
     
  8. LizzyS

    LizzyS DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    Messages:
    568
    I will try! :woohoo:
     
  9. seadd67

    seadd67 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Messages:
    3,546
    on the seeing the Pandas, you said see them early why?, is it just the crowds or is they close after 12 to the Panda trek?. This will be our first time there to, we are going to try to catch everything the tour, i like that idea to maybe see things we would of just walk by. The pandas are a must, is there a type of pattern or method you can follow so you can see most of It like for example going in a circle?, just so you dont do a lot of back and fourth walking?
     
  10. Camonkeygirl

    Camonkeygirl DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    Messages:
    508
    The advice on the pandas is due to the crowd level. Between about 11:30 - 3:30 on a weekend day is the most crowded time, and likely to have a line, but it also depends on how crowded the park is and what the Pandas are doing (sleeping vs. activity). There are days were there is no line at all. My suggestion is, that if you are there for the rope drop, go to see the pandas 1st. This way you might get to see them finishing up breakfast, but before nap (50/50 chance). I would then go over to see the hippos and tigers which will take you back toward the entrance, and the bus tour. Take it next, as it will show you where things are, and give you an idea about the hills in the park, and which ones you want to avoid. There will be some backtracking regardless of direction you head to, but you can try to minimize it.
     
  11. seadd67

    seadd67 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Messages:
    3,546
    Thanks CAMONKEYGIRL we will do just that, head straight to the Pandas then make our way back up to do the tour and catch the Hippos and Tigers on the way.
     
  12. LizzyS

    LizzyS DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    Messages:
    568
    Thanks for the tips, everyone!

    We had a great time and the bus tour and pandas were fantastic! We got some really great views of the Pandas eating bamboo! (We went to see them twice, lol)

    The San Diego Zoo is amazing! I just loved how lush the landscape is with plants, very impressive!
     
  13. sonnyjane

    sonnyjane DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    6,745
    I'm so glad you had a fun time!!!
     
  14. seadd67

    seadd67 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Messages:
    3,546
    We had a great time at the Zoo, the Pandas where breath taking. It was a bucket list moment for my self!. My DS was more of the that's really cool whats next Dad LOL. All my life I wanted to see the Pandas and we where finaly here it was pinch me i am really here. We where there right as the park open and went straight to the Pandas, they where up and eating and really active. We seen the baby on the monitor, they still have not name it yet, but very cute. My other must seeing there was the koala bear(but i was told its not a bear, something i did not know). Well they where re-doing the exhibit. building a Outback exhibit,so they only had one koala, apparently they have more. Of course the one was a sleep LOL. Went and seen here there for the rest of the day, did not see it all but it was so neat.
     
  15. sonnyjane

    sonnyjane DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    6,745
    Ha oh no! Yes, the San Diego Zoo has the largest collection of koalas outside of Australia....and...only one on exhibit right now hahaha! Their new exhibit is a multi-million dollar project but unfortunately it isn't slated to be finished until Spring 2013. At least you got to see the one, and I assure you they mostly just sleep anyway, so you would have likely been disappointed in that regard either way lol.
     
  16. LizzyS

    LizzyS DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    Messages:
    568
    My husband had never seen or heard of a red panda and he fell in love with them, lol.

    I grew up visiting the Knoxville, TN zoo frequently and they've had red pandas forever and I've always loved them.

    I agree with the above poster, seeing the Giant Pandas was definitely a bucket list moment.
     
  17. Camonkeygirl

    Camonkeygirl DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    Messages:
    508
  18. Kauai4life

    Kauai4life Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Messages:
    54
    That is just precious, thanks for posting it. :thumbsup2
     
  19. sunsetbeachgal

    sunsetbeachgal DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,051
    We took the guided double decker bus tour right at the start, then decided which animals/areas we would go back to. The Zoo property is very, very hilly so you need to save your energy for the things you really care about seeing! We also enjoyed the sky ride, but do that early as the lines get long, especially at the station that is closer to the entrance.

    Also, our hotel had discount coupons that I think saved $5 per person. The Zoo is great, but it is expensive---adult tickets are $42 per person! Food is also very expensive.

    Our favorites were the meerkats---very few zoos have them and I could stay and watch these adorable little things all day long!
     
  20. Camonkeygirl

    Camonkeygirl DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    Messages:
    508
    It is expensive, but as a not for profit park, all of the money goes back into the Zoo and it's sister facility - The Safari Park, or into one of our many research projects going on in 31 countries.

    Our Meerkats had a part in the "Lion King" movies. Disney artists came to the Zoo and Safari Park for drawings of Pumba, Timon and the Gnu running.
     
  21. marvel

    marvel DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2004
    Messages:
    967
    sorry to hijack the thread, but have many done the backstage tour where you feed the rhino's? It looks amazing, just wondering if it really is that good.
     

Share This Page