Easily one of the city’s biggest and best-known attractions, San Diego Zoo lies immediately north of the main museums in Balboa Park and is generally regarded as the country’s premier zoo. It’s an enormous place, and you can easily spend a full day or more here, checking out major sections devoted to the likes of chimps and gorillas, sun and polar bears, lizards and lions, and flamingos and pelicans. There’s also a children’s zoo, with walk-through birdcages and an animal nursery, and the Koalafornia Adventure, highlighting Australian animals, added in 2013. Take a guided bus tour early on to get an idea of the layout, or survey the scene on the vertiginous Skyfari, an overhead tramway. Bear in mind that the zoo’s beloved giant pandas Bai Yun, Gao Gao and their offspring spend a lot of time sleeping or being prodded by biologists in the park’s Giant Panda Research Station. If you have access to a car you might want to consider visiting the associated San Diego Safari Park at Escondido (35 miles north) – combo tickets are available.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

King of the road: on the Civil Rights Trail through America’s south

King of the road: on the Civil Rights Trail through America’s south

Next year marks 50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and also the launch of a new Civil Rights Trail through the USA's south. On a road …

16 Nov 2017 • Ella Buchan local_activity Special feature
Video: a brief history of the American road trip

Video: a brief history of the American road trip

We dug into the visual archives of yore to bring you a brief history of the American road trip. From the first coast-to-coast car voyage in the USA to today…

10 Nov 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
7 seriously spooky places in America

7 seriously spooky places in America

From urban legends passed down for centuries to real-life harrowing tales, America’s closet is filled with skeletons. These cities will put a chill down your …

24 Oct 2017 • Jess Chun insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook