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.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Beer and bison burgers: a foodie's guide to Denver

Beer and bison burgers: a foodie's guide to Denver

Countless cities are credited with a burgeoning food scene – but Denver, the Wild West capital of Colorado, stands out from the crowd. In 2016, a stagger…

19 Sep 2017 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
Where to stay in Las Vegas: a first-timer’s guide

Where to stay in Las Vegas: a first-timer’s guide

Shimmering from the desert haze of Nevada like a latter-day El Dorado, Las Vegas is the most dynamic, spectacular city on Earth. At the start of the 20th centu…

01 Sep 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month