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The San Diego Zoo is OPEN and our city’s number one attraction. Finding a San Diego Zoo tickets discount through authorized ticket sellers is easy. I’m a longtime Zoo member and have chosen the options below because they are the most reliable and eliminate the need to scour the web for promo codes, deals, and coupons that do not work.

Which method you choose depends on if you need 1-Day admission, whether you’ll also visit other popular San Diego attractions, whether you belong to a particular group, or if you live in the county.

I specialize in helping people save money on San Diego vacations so may be compensated if you purchase tickets using the links in this post. Due to my volume, I have a promo code for the best discount on 1-Day San Diego Zoo tickets! Use code lajollamom on my aRes Travel page for $6 off.

SHORTCUT TO THE CHEAPEST TICKET

Use promo code LAJOLLAMOM here to save $6 on 1-Day Adult and Child San Diego Zoo Tickets.
Go straight to the gate! Use for Kids Free October and Halgloween.

San Diego Zoo Ticket Prices at the Gate

San Diego Zoo ticket prices are at parity across all authorized ticket sellers, which is why my exclusive San Diego Zoo promo code for 1-Day tickets is the best price available.

Children ages 2 and under always receive free admission and do not require a ticket. Up to 10 children under the age of 11 receive free admission per paid adult in October.

General admission includes entrance to the park, Guided Bus Tour*, Skyfari Aerial Tram*, Kangaroo Express Bus*. Gate prices are currently:

  • 1-Day Passes: $60/adults (ages 12+) and $50/child (ages 3-11 — free in October**).
  • 2-Visit Passes: $100/adults (ages 12+) and $90/child (ages 3-11 — free in October**).
  • 1-Day Pass Plus (includes 1-Day Pass and one 4D theater experience)*: $66/adults (ages 12+) and $56/child (ages 3-11)

*Subject to availability. Guided Bus Tour, Kangaroo Express Bus, and 4-D theater are temporarily unavailable. Purchasing discount San Diego Zoo tickets through me and securing a 4D theater ticket on the day of your visit is typically cheaper than buying the Plus Pass.

**Up to 10 children ages 11 are free in October when accompanied by an adult holding a qualifying ticket. You can use my promo code to save on qualifying kids free adult tickets!

San Diego Zoo charges a $1 per ticket convenience fee to purchase admission through them online. San Diego Zoo Global parks’ enhanced health and safety measures encourage guests to purchase tickets and tours prior to arrival. I’ve included details in this post regarding what to expect when you visit.

SAN DIEGO ZOO PARKING

It’s free to park your car! The lot is large. Remember where you parked by taking a photo of the animal marking the section you’re in.

1. Discount 1-Day Tickets (Exclusive $6 Off Promo Code) + Combo Packages

aRes Travel is a San Diego based, authorized ticket seller to major California attractions that I partner with (they also power the Zoo’s ticketing system). They offer ways to secure a San Diego Zoo tickets discount through my promo code in addition to cheap tickets to LEGOLAND, Disneyland, SeaWorld San Diego, and other theme parks. If you are looking to buy 1-Day San Diego Zoo tickets, this your cheapest choice.

Use promo code LAJOLLAMOM to save $6 off of 1-Day Adult and Child tickets at San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park on my aRes Travel site.

1-Day Pass ($6 Off Promo Code — Use for Kids Free San Diego and Halgloween)

Most visitors go to the Zoo once during their vacation. Residents who aren’t Zoo members choose this ticket as well. The 1-Day Pass includes unlimited use of the Guided Bus tour, Kangaroo Express Bus, Skyfari Aerial tram, all shows, and exhibits. These tickets qualify for Kids Free San Diego and will grant admission to the Halgloween Halloween evening festivities! Price (before LAJOLLAMOM $6 off promo code): $60/adults and $50/kidsBUY NOW.

2-Day Pass

This pass is good for people who want to visit the San Diego Zoo twice or the San Diego Zoo Safari Park twice on a vacation. The 2-Day Pass includes:

  • One visit to the San Diego Zoo and one visit to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park -or-
  • Two visits to the San Diego Zoo -or-
  • Two visits to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Both visits must occur within a year of the purchase date. The ticket also needs to be used by the same person on all visits. These tickets also qualify for Kids Free San Diego and Halgloween Halloween evening festivities at San Diego Zoo.

Parking at the Zoo is Free. Parking at the Safari Park is not included in the price of the ticket. Price: $100/adult and $90/kidsBUY NOW.

TIP

If you are going to visit both the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, you may be better off purchasing a Build-Your-Own Go San Diego Card instead of a 2-Day Pass.

San Diego Zoo and USS Midway Museum Combo Deal (Popular)

This combo deal includes one day at San Diego Zoo and general admission to the USS Midway Museum — two of our top attractions which happen to be 10 minutes away from each other. You can see both on the same (albeit long) day. Price: $76/adults ages 13+BUY NOW.

LEGOLAND California, San Diego Zoo, and San Diego Zoo Safari Park Combo Deal

This combo deal includes one day at LEGOLAND California, one day at the San Diego Zoo, and one day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Note that LEGOLAND is not yet reopened. Price: $196.50/adults and $172/kidsBUY NOW.

San Diego Zoo and Old Town Trolley Combo Deal

This combo pass includes 1-Day San Diego Zoo ticket and 1-Day Old Town Trolley “Hop-on Hop-Off” tour. You’ll be able to explore San Diego by hopping on and off the Trolley and enjoy a full or half-day at the San Diego Zoo. This pass is ideal for people who would like to go carless in San Diego. The Old Town Trolley stops at various locations from Coronado to, of course, Old Town. Price: $89.90/adult and $64.75/kidsBUY NOW.

San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and SeaWorld San Diego Combo Deal

This combo deal includes one day at the San Diego Zoo, and one day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and 7 consecutive days at SeaWorld San Diego. Note that SeaWorld San Diego is not open daily so this pass is for those planning to visit after the park fully reopens. Price: $176.99/adults and $156.99/kidsBUY NOW.

San Diego’s Fab 4 Combo Deal

Are you planning to hit all four major theme parks? Many people do! This Combo Pass includes a 1-Day San Diego Zoo ticket, a 1-Day San Diego Zoo Safari Park ticket, a 1-Day LEGOLAND California, and up to 7 consecutive days at SeaWorld San Diego. Note that SeaWorld San Diego and LEGOLAND California are not yet fully open. BUY NOW.

An aRes Travel discount San Diego Zoo ticket on top of a Zoo map.
Example of an aRes Travel ticket that I’ve used. They’ll can the QR code on a printed voucher or on your phone and you’re in. Easy.

2. Kids Free San Diego in October

From October 1-31, 2020, up to 10 kids ages 11 and under can go free per paid adult during the annual Kids Free San Diego promotion. Yes, this is why October is one of the best times to visit San Diego with kids.

You need to purchase a qualifying adult ticket, but qualifying kids do not need to present any type of San Diego Zoo passes to enter. The good news is that my adult tickets qualify, so use my San Diego Zoo discount code to buy at a cheaper price! Note that sightseeing passes do not qualify for Kids Free San Diego. Kids Free San Diego Zoo tickets include unlimited rides on the Skyfari Aerial Tram which is now open.

The other reason to visit San Diego Zoo in October is for its Halgloween activities. As the sun sets you’ll be treated to some glow-in-the-dark decor, live entertainment including a DJ, a dance party, and much more on weekends October 9–11, 16–18, and 23–25.


3. Go San Diego (Most Popular Sightseeing Pass)

Go San Diego is a sightseeing pass that saves up to 55% off of admission to 55+ top San Diego attractions in three simple steps:

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

See also: 10 Benefits of the Go San Diego Discounted Attractions Pass

All-Inclusive passes are available in 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, 5- and 7-day options, each at different prices. Make sure the attractions you’d like to visit are listed on the option you buy. The Go San Diego Card is by far the most popular way to save money on multiple San Diego theme parks, tours, and museums. I personally use Go City passes when sightseeing worldwide and love going paperless with their app.

EXCLUSIVE LA JOLLA MOM DISCOUNT

Click to apply an extra 10% off
All-Inclusive Go San Diego sightseeing passes
.
The discount stacks on top of sale rates!

RISK FREE GUARANTEE

You have 90 days from the purchase date to get a refund on unactivated passes. The guarantee is only for passes purchased directly through Go City. Some terms and conditions apply. It’s a full refund if you return the pass within 14 days. Between 14-90 days, a processing fee applies.

4. Bundle Your Hotel with San Diego Zoo Tickets

You can sometimes save more when you buy a San Diego Zoo vacation package that includes tickets and a hotel room.

EXCEPTION: LUXURY HOTELS

If you’re considering a hotel in my portfolio, you’re better off booking with my perks and using my San Diego Zoo tickets promo code or a Go San Diego Card.

When searching the San Diego Zoo packages below, look for the new Price Drop notifications. The longer you stay, the more that you save!

San Diego Family Fun Package

This bundled attraction package can include your favorite hotel with the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego, and LEGOLAND California as well as many other attraction choices when you build a custom San Diego Family Fun Package. Save up to 30%.

The San Diego Zoo or Safari Park Package

This package allows you to bundle tickets to the San Diego Zoo or San Diego Zoo Safari Park with the hotel of your choice (at the time of this writing there are over 115 hotels to choose from). Look for the Price Drop alerts!

Choose Your Own Adventure Package

Customize your own San Diego vacation package! Package includes your choice of tickets to 5 popular San Diego theme parks: SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, LEGOLAND California and SEA LIFE Aquarium and hotel accommodations.

Kids Free San Diego Vacation Package

Save up to 30% on a hotel and attraction bundle in October during the annual Kids Free San Diego event. Choose your dates and then select San Diego Zoo and a handful of other attractions to pair with your discounted hotel. Look for the Price Drop alerts!


5. Balboa Park Explorer Pass

The Parkwide Explorer Pass with One Day Zoo Admission includes the ability to visit the Balboa Park museums for seven consecutive days AND one-day admission to the San Diego Zoo. This is convenient because the Zoo is right next door to Balboa Park.

This San Diego Zoo ticket includes one-day admission, Guided Bus Tour, Skyfari Aerial Tram, and the Kangaroo Express Bus.

If you purchase this discounted San Diego Zoo ticket, you’ll need to pick up a voucher at the Balboa Park Visitors Center. Visitor Center hours (10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) are usually a little more limited than San Diego Zoo hours (9 a.m. – 6 p.m.). So, I would plan to visit Balboa Park first so that you can pick up the pass. Then, you’ll be able to get to the Zoo when it opens at 9 a.m. on a different day.

 Tip: Some museums are closed Mondays; The San Diego Museum of Art is closed Wednesdays.


6. California Explorer Pass (Includes Los Angeles and San Francisco Attractions)

The California Explorer Pass offers an excellent solution for travelers passing through multiple cities on a California road trip. You can explore 3, 4, or 5 major California attractions over the course of 60 days. Participating attractions include:

  • Universal Studios Hollywood
  • LEGOLAND California
  • San Diego Zoo
  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • Warner Brothers Studio Tour
  • Knott’s Berry Farm
  • Knott’s Soak City
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain
  • SeaWorld San Diego
  • Belmont Park
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • California’s Great America
  • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

7. AAA

The San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park offer a special 10% discount for AAA members when you show your card at a ticket booth window. Members may purchase up to six of these AAA San Diego Zoo tickets.

Tickets can also be purchased at AAA branches. AAA has multiple regional outlets and they don’t always sell the same products. Call to see if your local branch offers San Diego Zoo tickets.

The Zoo prefers that guests arrive with tickets already in-hand. If you plan to use this way to save, consider picking up the tickets ahead of time.

My promo code offers nearly the same savings. Plus, you can use it now and save the time it would normally take for you to purchase discounted tickets in a branch.


8. Military Discounts

The San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park offer special military discounts and even free tickets that can be used year-round.

  • U.S. Armed Forces personnel receive a complimentary 1-Day Pass to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park upon presenting a Common Access Card (CAC) or Uniformed Services ID Card at any ticket window. Complimentary admission is reserved exclusively for active duty service members, however.
  • Military spouses and eligible dependents receive a 10% discount off the 1-Day Pass at both the Zoo and Safari Park, when showing a valid dependent ID card.
  • Check with MWR Departments for other applicable San Diego Zoo discount tickets with special military pricing.

9. Trusted Tours & Attractions

Trusted Tours also offers print and go to the gate 1-Day San Diego Zoo tickets. There is no discount but they are a reliable ticket seller. All taxes and fees are included in their price which given the Zoo’s $1 per ticket transaction fee is cheaper than going direct.


10. Group Discounts

Groups of 15 or more can receive a 10% discount off of the regular 1-Day Pass ticket price. Groups of 100 or more receive a 15% discount off of the regular 1-Day Pass ticket price. You’ll need to make reservations with the sales department. They can also arrange meal vouchers that make group dining cashless, cheaper, and easier.


11. Senior and Student Discounts

Ages 65 and older are eligible for a 15% discount off of the regular 1-Day Pass ticket price. In addition, students ages 12 and above are also eligible for a 15% discount off of the adult 1-Day Pass ticket price. Neither can be secured online. A photo ID needs to be presented at a Zoo ticket booth window in order to be eligible for the discount.


12. Discounts for the Travel Industry

A 10% discount on a 1-Day Pass is available to members of the travel industry for themselves and one guest. Head to a ticket booth window with a valid ID or CLIA card to take advantage of this discount if you are a travel agent, cruise line employee, or an airline employee.


13. San Diego Zoo Gift Cards

Did you know that it’s possible to give San Diego Zoo gift cards? This could provide great value to zoo lovers and enable them to save off of San Diego Zoo tickets, enjoy one of their many upgraded experiences, or save on an annual membership.

These gift cards can be purchased in denominations of $50 and above. Think about gifting these for special occasions and holidays.


14. San Diego Zoo Membership

We have an annual membership and believe it’s a great value. Regular visitors should absolutely consider a San Diego Zoo membership that will allow unlimited admission per year for one flat rate.

There are multiple membership tiers to consider that come with a variety of perks.

TIP

Some annual pass holders will need to buy Guided Bus Tour tickets which are normally included with a 1-Day or 2-Day pass.

What to Know Before You Arrive

A koala in a tree, a popular site at San Diego Zoo for kids.
Don’t miss the koalas in the Australian Outback!

San Diego Zoo implemented new health and safety measures as part of the park reopening on June 20, 2020. These measures are based on guidance from health authorities at the state, county, and CDC.

They are operating at less than half of capacity. It is possible to keep your distance from other guests. Most of the exhibits are outdoors so you’ll find that the experience is minimally impacted.

  • You need to buy San Diego Zoo tickets and tours in advance. In case you missed it, use my promo code on 1-Day tickets. Proceed straight to the turnstiles with your valid admission ticket.
  • You will notice green distancing markers on the ground that are cues for guests to abide by.
  • Face masks are required for all guests ages 2 and older, except when eating.
  • Guests will not be permitted to leave and re-enter the park. (Normally, re-entry is permitted.)
  • Parking will be limited in order to maintain safe distancing. It’s a big lot, but it can’t hurt to arrive early.
  • Some exhibits may be closed though there will certainly be plenty to see. I would imagine that this would apply to some of the play areas but rest assured that there are plenty of things to do at San Diego Zoo for kids.
  • You can upgrade your day with one of their fantastic tours on a private buyout level.

You can read more about the enhanced measures here.


FAQs About San Diego Zoo Tickets

These are the questions about San Diego Zoo tickets discounts that land in my inbox the most.

Is the San Diego Zoo open?

Yes, the San Diego Zoo is open! Zoos, museums, and aquariums are open in California at a reduced capacity. High-touch exhibits are still closed. You’ll find that the experience at San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park is minimally-impacted because their exhibits and activities happen primarily outside.

How much are tickets to the San Diego Zoo?

Regular 1-Day Passes cost $60 for adults and $50 for children ages 3-11. Children ages 2 and under are free and do not require tickets. They can walk right in with a paying adult.

Do I need a special ticket for Halgloween?

No. Admission to the weekend Halgloween Halloween festivities is included with your ticket. Again, the dates for this special event are October 9–11, 16–18, and 23–25.

Are San Diego Zoo tickets refundable?

No. San Diego Zoo tickets, no matter where you buy them, are nonrefundable.

Do I need a reservation to visit the Zoo?

No. You do not need a reservation to visit the San Diego Zoo. Don’t worry about being refused entry or waiting a long time to get in.

The Zoo is currently operating at less than half capacity. I recommended that you arrive when it opens. If you can’t, it’s not the end of the world. The busiest times during the weekdays are between 12–2 p.m; and weekends between 11 a.m.–3 p.m. However, any wait times for entry have been averaging about five minutes.

What is included with a 1-Day ticket?

A 1-Day or a 2-Visit San Diego Zoo ticket gets you into the Zoo and on the Guided Bus Tour, Kangaroo Express Bus, and Skyfari Aerial Tram. (The Guided Bus Tour and Kangaroo Express Bus are temporarily paused.)

Admission to a 4-D movie in one of the two theaters is an additional $6. You can buy a combination ticket that includes 1-Day admission and a 4-D movie through the San Diego Zoo. However, it’s cheaper to use my promo code for a 1-Day ticket and then add the movie at the park. (Movies are temporarily unavailable.)

Can you get tickets to both the Zoo and Safari Park? 

Yes, there are several multi-park ticket options. The 2-Visit Pass provides you with one visit to the Zoo and one visit to the Safari Park, or two visits to either attraction.

My favorite option is to purchase a Go San Diego pass which provides admission to more than 48 local attractions for one low price. The San Diego 3-For-1 Pass gets you into the Zoo, Safari Park, and SeaWorld San Diego and is valid for seven consecutive days (temporarily unavailable).

Does the Zoo offer annual passes?

Yes, there are multiple types of annual passes available. The Annual Pass offers unlimited access to the Zoo, Safari Park, Zoo Skyfari Aerial Tram, and Safari Park Africa Tram, along with member specials and discounts. The San Diego Zoo Club is the child’s version of the Annual Pass.

The Keeper’s Club offers the same perks as the annual pass, plus two free guest tickets, free parking at Safari Park, and Door Club Entrance. You can also experience a variety of other benefits through Donor Club levels.

Can I upgrade my 1-Day ticket to an annual pass?

Yes. Bring your paper or digital ticket to a ticket booth and staff members will be able to credit the amount paid for your 1-Day ticket to the purchase of an annual pass. It will depend on how you purchased your 1-Day ticket but note that aRes Travel tickets DO qualify for an upgrade.

Where can you get discounted tickets? 

Right here! I have listed how to buy discounted San Diego Zoo tickets from trusted vendors. Use my exclusive promo code and find tips on bundling your tickets with your hotel, multi-day passes, membership, and more cheap ways to save. You will also save on admission with Go San Diego, our most popular sightseeing pass.

Can you get military discounts to the Zoo?

Active duty military members receive complimentary admission into the park with a valid military ID. Military spouses and dependents receive special San Diego Zoo military pricing of 10% off the 1-Day pass with a valid military ID (the military member does not need to be present).  

What day is the Zoo free? 

From October 1-31, children under the age of 11 receive free admission during the annual Kids Free San Diego promotion. Kids must enter with a paid adult who holds a qualifying ticket.

Is one day at the San Diego Zoo enough?

It is possible to see the majority of the Zoo in one day. However, families traveling with young kids can benefit from breaking a full-day visit into two half-day visits. Or, book a Cart Tour to see the animals at a faster pace before small children become tired. We go multiple times per year and there is enough in the park to have a different experience every time at the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

What other San Diego Zoo discounts are available?

Aside from cheap San Diego Zoo tickets that you can buy through the trusted methods outlined above, other ways to save are limited. Certain memberships include in-park San Diego Zoo discounts on food and merchandise that are called WildPerks.

Keeper’s Club and Curator’s Club members receive a WildPerks 10% discount. Director’s Club and President’s Club members, and Circle of Friends receive a WildPerks 15% discount.

You’re allowed to bring in your own food and drinks, which is one way to cut costs during your visit. Outside of dining, there isn’t a need to spend money on extras once you’re inside the park.

A big part of my job includes identifying reliable coupons, cheap tickets, and promo codes for this popular attraction. If they exist and I can trust them, they’ll always be listed in this post. However, remember that as a nonprofit organization, every dollar that you spend in the park goes to operating costs and San Diego Zoo Global’s amazing conservation initiatives.


More San Diego Zoo Resources

As a member who has been visiting for over two decades (!!!), I have a lot of tips to help maximize your day. For even more advice, browse all San Diego Zoo posts.

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San Diego Zoo Restaurants

Whether it’s takeaway food or table service at Albert’s, I’ve listed my favorite snacks and dining options inside the park.

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Nearby Hotels

If you need a close hotel to San Diego Zoo, I recommend that you stay in downtown and a few other surrounding areas.

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Top Tips for Visiting San Diego Zoo

My insider tips for how to structure your day are helpful, especially for first-time visitors.

Learn also how to buy discount tickets for:

See also: 15 San Diego Discounts: Experience the City for Less and San Diego Zoo or Safari Park: Which Is Best?

These are the best ways to buy trustworthy discounted tickets to the San Diego Zoo.

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9 thoughts on “How to Buy Discounted San Diego Zoo Tickets

    1. I just verified this with aRes Travel and their tickets can be scanned on your phone. Thanks for asking!

  1. Thank you for your recommendation of aRes travel. Thankfully, kids are free in October so we are saving a lot of money on both hotel and tickets. Great job!

  2. Hi, is Ares Travel legit for San diego Zoo ticket purchasing? Has anyone used it before and able to enter the park?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Tracey. aRes Travel is an authorized seller of San Diego Zoo tickets so you don’t have to worry. I sell thousands of these tickets per month and haven’t received a single complaint.

  3. Hello, I clicked on your link for 10% off the go city pass. I added it under the promo code but it would not give it to me. Just wondering if it wont be applied because of their discount already? Or if there is something I am doing wrong. I see it expires soon!

    1. Hi! If you click the link it will automatically apply when you get to the cart. It’s for all-inclusive passes only and will stack on top of any other promotions Go City is running. I tried it and it worked.

      1. Ok. I was trying to apply it towards the Explorer Pass. I am trying to decide if purchasing the all-inclusive pass is worth the money vs. paying for the few attractions we are wanting to see. For example, I used your discount code for San Diego Zoo and would be able to purchase 5 tickets for $260 vs. $290. We want to visit the zoo, Six Flags, Warner Bros Tour as must sees.
        I am just beginning the planning and feels a little overwhelming trying to decide the best value for things. I also saw that Six Flags has a significant discount right now, but that would mean I have to purchase the tickets this far in advance (trip is end of May). Any help would be greatly appreciated.

        1. Ah! I see what you mean. I have asked Go City to investigate as it isn’t being applied per usual on California Explorer Passes. Thanks for letting me know. It is hard to say what promos the parks will run in May (I should have this Explorer Pass discount extended but can confirm later).

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