The San Diego Zoo houses over 3,700 animals of more than 650 species, and was a pioneer in the concept of open-air, cage-less exhibits that re-create natural animal habitats. It is one of the few zoos in the world that houses and successfully breeds the giant panda.
The San Diego Zoo has the distinction of being one of the oldest zoological parks in the world. Approximately 3.2 million people visit every year. Keep reading, for a few fun (and interesting) facts about this well-loved attraction.
The San Diego Zoo’s aerial tram, known as Skyfari, gives visitors an impressive view of the entire park. Built in 1969, this mode of transportation is three-quarters of a mile long. The tallest point above ground is 185 feet.
Inside Look Tours
The Inside Look Tour is a two-hour entertaining and educational adventure offering special behind-the-scenes views and interesting information about how we take care of our animals. It is filled with experiences and stories you can’t get anywhere else.
This zoo has the largest population of giant pandas in North America. Declared endangered in 1984, the good news is that the birth rate of this adorable animal is slowly on the rise.
Since San Diego started housing giant pandas, it’s had six successful cub births, which is no small feat due to their notoriously difficult mating patterns.
Be a Keeper for a Day
What does it take to be a zookeeper at the San Diego Zoo? In this personalized experience, you will learn firsthand from our world-class keepers! Enjoy a brief orientation, put on your Keeper for a Day souvenir T-shirt, and head out to the animal area of your choice to meet your Keeper Guide for the day!
You’ll spend the next few hours shadowing a keeper as they complete the daily tasks necessary to care for our animals. You may help our keepers prepare diets, rake and clean exhibits, or create enrichment items. You will step inside animal enclosures to see the Zoo from a whole new perspective, and learn how we care for our animals—up close.
Choose to shadow a giraffe keeper (Saturdays) or a koala keeper (Sundays). Each Keeper for a Day experience includes special orientation materials, a souvenir Keeper for a Day hat and T-shirt, and lunch!
The park has a rich and interesting history, turning a tragedy into the modernistic and world-renowned zoo we know today.
In 1915, following the Panama-California exposition, a number of exotic animals were left abandoned in their exhibits. In 1921, the San Diego Zoo was created as a permanent home for these animals. It was originally located in Balboa Park.
Currently, home to over 3,700 animals, consisting of more than 650 species, the San Diego Zoo is a pioneer in the concept of cage-less exhibits that recreate natural habitats for animals.
In 1971, an orangutan named Ken Allen was born and lived in the San Diego Zoo. His enclosure was supposedly inescapable. Despite the efforts of the staff at the zoo, Ken Allen was able to escape his home several times. No one could figure out how he was doing it.
The zoo eventually hired professional rock climbers to scope out every foothold they could find and then paid $40,000 to remove every last possible method of escape.
At the time, Ken Allen had his own fan club. He even had a song written about him, titled “The Ballad of Ken Allen.”
Live Animal Cams
Watching live animal cams (on the zoo’s official site) is the next best thing to visiting. Options include:
- Ape Cam
- Panda Cam
- Penguin Cam
- Condor Cam
- Elephant Cam
- Koala Cam
- Tiger Cam
- Polar Bear Cam
These are just a few fun and interesting facts about the San Diego Zoo. If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit, there really is no better time to plan an adventure!