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    The San Francisco Zoo: a guide to the visit

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    Joel Fulleda

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    With over 2000 animals, the San francisco zoo it is located in a rather decentralized area from downtown and other places of interest in San Francisco, however it is easily accessible thanks to the Muni line, which will take you straight to this 40-hectare park that rises right in front of the southern slope of the ocean beach beach, in the south-west of the city.


    • What is the San Francisco Zoo
    • Where is it and how to get there
    • Timetables and tickets
    • Why visit and what to see
    • Where to sleep in the area

    What is the San Francisco Zoo

    From the smallest insect to giraffes, elephants and grizzlies, this zoo will allow you to see animals from various parts of the world all in one place. The surface is quite large, approx 40 hectares. For this reason I recommend that you go early to be able to see the various areas without rushing as the closing time is around 17pm.

    The zoo is divided into several different areas: Africa, Australia, South America, Asia, but also lush gardens, information centers on how to preserve endangered species, play and refreshment areas.

    Where is it and how to get there

    The San Francisco Zoo is located on Sloat Boulevard e Great Highway on the west coast of the city of San Francisco.

    If you are in auto you can use the zoo's car park (for a fee). The car park has two entrances: the first is on the Great Highway for those arriving from the East Bay or South Bay, while the second is on Sloat Boulevard at the intersection with 47th Avenue for those arriving from the north. There is only one exit from the car park and it is on the Great Highway.

    Before reaching the car park, try your luck: there are free spaces on Sloat Boulevard, but as you can imagine, it is not easy to find them free.

    Lines public transport which take you a few meters from the zoo entrance (and which also entitle you to a $ 2 discount on the admission ticket are:

    • the Muni L Taraval line
    • Muni bus lines 23 and 18.

    I taxi it's close Uber or similar have a specific space to drop off and pick up visitors: it is between Sloat Boulevard and 47th Avenue. The zoo's car park, on the other hand, has no areas provided for this type of service.

    For more information read our insights on:

    • Getting around in San Francisco
    • Tips for car rental in San Francisco
    • Where to park in San Francisco

    Timetables and tickets

    Buy Zoo Tickets

    The San Francisco Zoo is open 365 days a year from 10:00 to 17:00.

    The cost of ticket and of:

    • $ 25 for teens and adults ages 12 to 64;
    • $ 20 for those over 65;
    • $ 18 for children between 2 and 11 years old.

    Children under 2 years of age enter for free.

    Remember that parking is $ 11 on weekdays and $ 13 on weekends and holidays. There is also valet parking for $ 25.

    If you reach the zoo using public transport, you will be entitled to a $ 2 discount on the cost of the ticket.

    The San Francisco Zoo is part of the attractions of the San Francisco Pass and you can, therefore, have a substantial discount by combining it with the other discounted places included in the discount of the pass.

    The zoo also offers numerous tour:

      • Animal Amble: one hour guided tour to discover the zoo's animals and anecdotes about their life. The tour departs daily at 11am and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays also at 00pm. The cost is $ 15 per person (children under 00 are free);
      • History Tour: in an hour of guided tour, discover the history of the zoo and the most salient events that took place in its 90 years of activity. The tour departs at 14pm on weekends from January to March and at 00am on the first and third weekend from April to November. The cost is $ 11 per person (children under 00 are free);
      • Garden Tour: discovering the gardens and the splendid plants they host. The tour lasts one hour and takes place on the second weekend of the month starting at 11am. The cost is $ 00 per person (children under 30 are free);
      • Secrete Safari Tour: the visit lasts 45 minutes and allows you to enter areas generally closed to the public to observe the animals more closely and discover their secrets. It takes place every weekend at 14pm and the fourth and fifth weekend of the month also at 00am. The cost is $ 11 per person and, for safety reasons, children under 00 are not allowed to participate;
      • BikeAbouts: a 90-minute bike tour with an expert guide. The tour runs from April to October at 8:30 am and 10:00 am. The cost is $ 30 per bike, so in the case of bikes with a seat attached, children do not pay.
      • Senior Stroll: tour for over 65s. Cost is $ 5 per person.
      • Zoo Keys: at a cost of $ 5 you receive a key which, when inserted in the appropriate spaces in various areas of the zoo, allows you to hear stories and information about the animals present.

    Buy Zoo Tickets

    Why visit and what to see

    Macros areas divided by habitat they allow you to easily identify which areas you prefer to visit first. Amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and invertebrates await you. Particularly appreciated the Exploration Zone with insects and farm animals, the area of ​​lemurs, koalas, but also penguins, giraffes and elephants. At the entrance there is usually a sign with the times when the various animals are given food and this could also be a good experience to see.

    If you have children do not miss thearea giochi Elinor Friend Playground. Divided into three different areas (River Play Area for children from 6 months to 2 years, Polar Play Area 2-5 years and Banyan Tree Climbing from 5 to 12 years), the architecture of this space uses natural elements and various materials that entice children to become little explorers.

    Inside the zoo there is also a steam train on which it is possible to go up for $ 7 per person (children under 3 do not pay) and one carousel with horses whose ticket costs $ 4.

    Where to sleep in the area

    South of Golden Gate Park and on the coast near Ocean Beach, the great area of Sunset District has some elements of interest and can be reached by public transport from the rest of the city. On this page you will find all the accommodations available in this area, however it remains a bit off-center and far from the main attractions, so I suggest you click on the button below to take a look at our guide on the best neighborhoods to stay in San Francisco .

    Our tips for sleeping in San Francisco

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