You can save money by buying discount San Francisco Zoo tickets through authorized sellers. Which method you choose depends on how many other San Francisco attractions are on your itinerary whether you’re an SF resident that qualifies for special discounts and free days.

The options mentioned here are by far the most reliable will eliminate the effort it takes to scour the web for promo codes, offers, deals, and coupons that don’t work.

Why visit? San Francisco Zoo & Gardens is a 100-acre accredited zoo home to over 2000 animals that are exotic, rescued, or endangered. It’s located in the southwest corner of San Francisco adjacent to the Pacific Ocean and Lake Merced and accessible by public transportation.

The first exhibits were built there in the 1930s, and it remains one of the popular things to do in San Francisco with kids even though it’s not in the heart of town. The San Francisco Zoo is open!


San Francisco Zoo Prices

San Francisco Zoo general admission at the ticket window or online through their website is as follows:

  • Adult (ages 12–64): $25
  • Seniors (ages 65+): $20
  • Children (ages 2-11): $18
  • Children under 2: Free

General admission does not include rides on the Dentzel Carousel or Little Puffer Miniature Steam Train (both rides are temporarily closed).

San Francisco residents with proof of residency receive discounted San Francisco Zoo tickets, which I’ve listed below as one way to save.

Reservations: If you are purchasing San Francisco Zoo tickets directly or are an SF Zoo member, you must have a reservation before you go. The discount tickets through aRes Travel that you will read about below do not require reservations.

For your safety: San Francisco Zoo & Gardens has implemented new health and safety measures to be aware of before you go. All guests over the age of 2 are required to wear a face covering. No cash will be accepted, and if you plan to park, you have to purchase parking in advance. Read more about the reopening guidelines here.


I include ticket sources that I think are useful for my readers. If you buy through links on this page, I may earn a small commission.

1. Discounted One-Day Tickets (No Reservations Required)

aRes Travel is a San Diego based authorized ticket seller to major California attractions. They offer discount San Francisco Zoo tickets that do not require reservations.

If you are looking to buy individual tickets to only the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens, this will save you money.

Passes can be printed at home and presented at the gate or used on a mobile device. You do not need to redeem a voucher at the ticket window.

NO RESERVATIONS REQUIRED

These San Francisco Zoo tickets do not require that you make a reservation. You can simply present them at the gate.

1-Day Pass

Save big with these discount prices: $20/adults (ages 12–64), $15.00 for children 2–12 (children 2 and under are free), and $17/seniors. (Plus a $2 per ticket convenience fee — you’ll still come out ahead.)

Two meerkats sit cheek to cheek.
Meerkats are popular animals at San Francisco Zoo.

2. Go San Francisco Pass

The Go San Francisco pass can enable you to save up to 57% on up to 25 top San Francisco attractions (depending on which type of pass option you choose), including the San Francisco Zoo, in three simple steps:

  1. Choose the pass option that best suits you (All-Inclusive or Explorer) and buy your pass in advance.
  2. Get your pass on a mobile device or print it at home.
  3. Show the pass at eligible attractions, and you’re in for free.

All-Inclusive Go San Francisco passes are available in 1, 2, 3, and 5-day options, each at different prices. Make sure the attractions you’d like to visit are listed on the option you buy. Explorer passes must be used within 60 days of the first activation.


3. San Francisco CityPASS

With a San Francisco CityPASS, you’ll save up to 44% on four attractions. These include:

  • California Academy of Sciences (temporarily closed)
  • Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure (temporarily closed)
  • Aquarium of the Bay OR The Walt Disney Family Museum (temporarily closed)
  • Exploratorium (temporarily closed through 2020) OR San Francisco Zoo & Gardens (temporarily closed through December 26, 2020)

Current pricing is $76 for adults (ages 12+) and $56 for children (ages 4-12).

If you’re going to visit more than four attractions, you are better off saving with Go San Francisco. (It’s common for families to visit both the Exploratorium and San Francisco Zoo.)

CityPASS gives a full refund on unused/unactivated tickets, and you have 30 days to use the pass.


4. San Francisco Resident Ticket Discounts

Residents receive discounted admission year-round. Proof of residency is required and the current residency admission prices are:

  • Adults (ages 12–64): $22
  • Seniors (ages 65+): $16
  • Children (ages 2-11): $15
  • Children (under 2): Free

Besides, the San Francisco Zoo hosts free admission on select days throughout the year for San Francisco residents. Check the ticket page for more details.

A Bengal tiger rests in its enclosure.
A resting Bengal tiger

5. Military Discounts

Retired and active-duty military personnel may purchase discount San Francisco Zoo tickets directly from the Zoo at resident rates. (Free entrance days for residents do not apply to the military tickets.)


6. Discounts for Guests with Disabilities

Guests with disabilities pay the cheaper resident rate (but are not eligible for the free SF resident days).


7. $1 Discount for Taking Muni

The SF Zoo encourages guests to arrive by public transportation. If you take Muni, bring your same-day Muni receipt, transfer, or monthly pass to the Zoo ticket window for a $1 discount.

You would take the Muni L Taraval line from within San Francisco to the Zoo. Or, you can take Muni bus lines 23 or 18, which also stop at the Zoo. Figure out which method is best for you with the SFMTA Trip Planner.


8. Group Prices

Temporarily not available. Groups of 15 or more may arrange for a group trip to the San Francisco Zoo in advance throughout the year and receive a discounted admission price, as detailed on the Zoo’s website


9. San Francisco Zoo Membership

Regular visitors should absolutely consider purchasing a membership to the San Francisco Zoo that will allow multiple entries per year for one flat rate.

There are multiple membership tiers to consider that come with a variety of perks, as detailed on the Zoo’s website. Prices currently range from $99 to $2,500.


San Francisco Zoo Hours, Parking & Directions

Hours

The SF Zoo is open 365 days a year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The last admission is one hour before the Zoo closes.

Parking

San Francisco Zoo parking is currently $11 on weekdays and $13 on weekends and holidays. One of the new reopening measures in place is that parking MUST be purchased in advance.

There are two parking lot entrances. One is off of the Great Highway for guests driving from the East Bay and South Bay. The other is one off of Sloat Boulevard at 47th Avenue and used by guests driving from the North Bay.

Alternatively, you can avoid parking fees by finding free street parking along Sloat Blvd.

Directions

Address: Sloat Blvd & The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA 94132

Directions to the San Francisco Zoo, including driving from various starting places in the San Francisco Bay area and public transportation, are enumerated on the zoo’s website.


FAQs About SF Zoo Tickets and Your Visit

TIP

Pack layers. The Zoo’s coastal location means that it’s colder there than in the heart of the city.

What is SF Zoo’s rainy day policy?

If you purchased tickets through SF Zoo and do not visit due to rain, purchase tickets for a new date. Then, email them with your new tickets and old confirmation number. They will refund your old tickets.

Tickets purchased through aRes Travel do not require reservations so you can visit on any day rain or shine.

Is the San Francisco Zoo still free the first Wednesday of every month? 

San Francisco Zoo offers Free Days for SF residents on certain days. This means that residents receive free admission by providing a valid ID as proof of residency at the front gate.

These dates typically fall on a Wednesday. You’ll need to check their calendar to see when Free Days occur. No events are scheduled currently due to the temporary closure.

What other San Francisco Zoo discounts are available?

SF Zoo members receive a 10% discount at all Zoo shops, cafés, and carts.

One of the easiest ways to save money at SF Zoo is to bring your own food and drinks versus purchasing onsite. Glass containers and alcohol are not allowed in.

What are the latest SF Zoo promo codes?

I have tested multiple promo codes for San Francisco Zoo discounted admission that are floating around the web lately and none of them have worked. Tickets are unavailable so if you see a vendor advertising promo codes they are highly likely to not work.

Are there in and out privileges?

Currently, there are no in and out privileges. Once you enter the zoo, you will not be allowed to leave and re-enter using the same ticket.

The same applies to parking. Once you have parked in the lot, you will not be able to leave and re-enter.

How long does it take to go through the San Francisco Zoo?

One day is enough to see the San Francisco Zoo. If you are pressed for time, a half-day will be fine. How long you spend inside depends on whether you’d like to plan your day around scheduled keeper talks, animal feedings, riding the carousel and train, and other activities on the calendar in addition to having a meal.

How big is the San Francisco Zoo?

The SF Zoo is 100 acres of animal habitats and pretty gardens set along the Pacific coast.

What are the San Francisco Zoo’s hours?

The SF Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

The animals are the most active in the morning so I advise that you go when it opens.