San Francisco Zoo & Gardens is a 100-acre zoo home to over 260 animal species and located in the southwest corner of San Francisco near Lake Merced. 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.
It is possible to buy discount San Francisco Zoo tickets through authorized sellers. Which method you choose depends on how many other San Francisco attractions are on your itinerary.
The options mentioned here are by far the most reliable to eliminate the need to scour the web for promo codes, special offers, and coupons that don’t work.
Quick Things to Know About San Francisco Zoo Tickets
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.
Reservations: If you are purchasing San Francisco Zoo tickets directly or 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.
Here are some other important tips.
San Francisco Zoo Hours
The San Francisco Zoo is open 365 days a year from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The last admission is one hour before the Zoo closes.
San Francisco Zoo Ticket Prices
San Francisco Zoo general admission at the ticket window or online through their website is as follows:
- Adult (ages 15–64): $23
- Seniors (ages 65+): $19
- Children (ages 2-14): $17
- 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.
San Francisco Zoo parking is not free and 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.
Address: Sloat Blvd &, 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.
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 REQUIREDThese San Francisco Zoo tickets do not require that you make a reservation. You can simply present them at the gate.
Save big with these discount prices: $18.40/adults (ages 15–64), $13.60 for children 4–14 (children 3 and under are free), and $15.20/seniors. (Plus a $2 per ticket convenience fee — you’ll still come out ahead.)
2. Go San Francisco Pass
The Go San Francisco pass can enable you to save up to 57% on up to 28 top San Francisco attractions (depending on which type of pass option you choose), including the San Francisco Zoo, in three simple steps:
- Choose the pass option that best suits you (All-Inclusive, Explorer, Build Your Own) and buy your pass in advance.
- Get your pass on a mobile device or print it at home.
- 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. Build Your Own and 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 45% on four attractions. These include:
- California Academy of Sciences
- Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure
- Aquarium of the Bay OR The Walt Disney Family Museum (temporarily closed)
- Exploratorium (temporarily closed through 2020) OR San Francisco Zoo & Gardens
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 pricing is:
- Adults (ages 15-64): $20
- Seniors (ages 65+): $14.50
- Children (ages 2-14): $13.50
- 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.
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. Go In a Group
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 $89 to $2,500.