The San Diego Zoo is 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, offers, and coupons that do not work.
Note: Starting on December 7, 2020, the Zoo and Safari Park will temporarily close for at least three weeks in support of the state’s regional stay at home order. If you have tickets and intended to visit during this time frame read my FAQs below.
I specialize in helping people save money on San Diego vacations and may be compensated if you purchase tickets using the links in this post.
Due to my volume, I do have a way for you to enjoy the best 1-Day San Diego Zoo tickets discount. I’ll have to send you the promo code. My readers have used tens of thousands of these cheap tickets over the years.
EXCLUSIVE LA JOLLA MOM DISCOUNT
Request my exclusive discount for La Jolla Mom readers on 1-Day San Diego Zoo & San Diego Zoo Safari Park tickets! Use it to purchase now online through aRes Travel, an authorized ticket seller for both parks. It’s the best price.
San Diego Zoo Ticket Prices at the Gate
San Diego Zoo ticket prices are at parity across all authorized ticket sellers, which is why you should take advantage of my exclusive price on 1-Day tickets.
Children ages 2 and under always receive free admission and do not require a ticket.
General admission includes entrance to the park, Skyfari Aerial Tram*, Guided Bus Tour*, Kangaroo Express Bus*, and all regularly scheduled shows. San Diego Zoo prices are currently:
- 1-Day Passes: $60/adults (ages 12+) and $50/child (ages 3-11).
- 2-Visit Passes: $100/adults (ages 12+) and $90/child (ages 3-11).
- 1-Day Pass Plus (includes 1-Day Pass and one 4D theater experience)*: $66/adults (ages 12+) and $56/child (ages 3-11) — temporarily unavailable
*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.
San Diego Zoo Global 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 park tickets and tours prior to arrival. I’ve included details in this post regarding what to expect when you visit.
New: Reservations Are Required
Starting on December 5, 2020, you will need San Diego Zoo reservations to enter the park. You will purchase a date-specific ticket, and that will be your reservation. If you already have a ticket, that ticket will serve as your reservation, so there’s nothing you need to do. If you buy tickets through me, you also do not yet need a reservation.
SAN DIEGO ZOO PARKING & ADDRESSIt’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. The address for GPS is 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.
1. Discount 1-Day Tickets + Combo Packages (Use My Exclusive Discount)
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 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, because it’s where I have the exclusive savings.
How to Use Your aRes Travel Ticket (It’s Easy)
I prefer to support local businesses where I can, I have personal contacts at the company, and readers use hundreds of thousands of these tickets through me every year without issues.
- Purchase using my San Diego Zoo ticket discount (that will be sent to you since it is unpublished).
- Tickets are immediately emailed to you.
- Print the ticket or pull it up on your phone at the gate.
- The gate attendant will scan the QR code on your printed ticket or mobile phone.
It’s really that easy. You do not need to redeem a voucher at the ticket booth. You can skip the ticket line completely. The Zoo charges a $1 per ticket transaction fee but all fees and taxes are included in the prices of your 1-Day aRes Travel San Diego Zoo tickets! Tickets are good for one year from the date of purchase. Per the Zoo’s instructions, until a transition to a reservation system is complete, you do not need a reservation to visit using these tickets.
2. Trusted Tours & Attractions
If you are not going to request my discount, which is better, this is your next best deal.
Use San Diego Zoo promo code SDZO5 for 5% off at Trusted Tours. They offer print and go to the gate 1-Day San Diego Zoo tickets. All taxes and fees are included in their price, which given the Zoo’s $1 per ticket transaction fee is much cheaper than going direct.
3. Go San Diego (Most Popular Sightseeing Pass)
A Go San Diego pass saves up to 55% off of admission to 55+ top San Diego attractions in three simple steps:
- Choose the option that best suits you (All-Inclusive, Explorer, or Build-Your-Own) and buy your Go San Diego pass in advance.
- Get your pass on a mobile device or print it at home.
- Show the Go San Diego pass at any eligible attraction, and you’re in for free.
All-Inclusive passes are available in 1-, 2-, 3-, 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. You can bypass the ticket windows with a Go San Diego pass at the Zoo. 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.
This discount stacks on top of sale rates! Expires 12/31/21.
RISK FREE GUARANTEEYou 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. Vacation Packages 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. Don’t worry about my cheap tickets in this case — the discounts are factored in here already.
EXCEPTION: LUXURY HOTELSIf you’re considering a hotel in my portfolio, you’re better off booking with my perks and using my San Diego Zoo tickets discount 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!
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)
Temporarily not available. The California Explorer Pass offers an excellent solution for travelers passing through multiple cities on a California road trip. You can explore 3, 4, 5, or 7 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
EXCLUSIVE LA JOLLA MOM DISCOUNT
Use promo code LJMCAL10 to apply 10% off the California Explorer Pass!
Note: The pass is temporarily not available until the theme parks reopen.
7. Kids Free San Diego in October
During the month of October, up to 10 children ages 11 and younger per paid adult receive free entrance 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 children 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 if you are visiting in October! Note that sightseeing passes do not qualify for the promotion. Kids Free San Diego Zoo tickets include unlimited rides on the Skyfari Aerial Tram which is now open.
The other reason to visit in October is for the 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 select October weekends. I recommend visiting the Zoo later in the day on October weekends because there has been a wait due to enhanced health and safety measures.
8. AAA Ticket Discounts
The San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park offer a special 10% discount for AAA members when you show your membership 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 your local branch to see if you can buy San Diego Zoo tickets through AAA.
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. (CALL (888) 795-3715 or request the details by text or email.)
9. Military Ticket 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.
10. Costco Ticket Discounts
People also often ask me how much are San Diego Zoo tickets at Costco. I haven’t seen cheap tickets in my local store for individual San Diego attractions in a while. You can check online (non-members pay a 5% surcharge) and in your store because availability does change.
11. Group Discounts
Groups of 15 or more can receive a 10% discount off 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.
12. Senior and Student Discounts
Ages 65 and older are eligible for a 15% discount off the regular 1-Day Pass ticket price. Students ages 12 and above are 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 to be eligible for the discount.
13. 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.
14. 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.
A gift card can be purchased in denominations of $50 and above. Think about gifting these for special occasions and holidays.
15. San Diego Zoo Memberships for Residents and Frequent Visitors
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. Members will need to make date-specific reservations for visits after December 5, 2020.
There are multiple membership tiers to consider that come with a variety of perks.
TIPSome annual pass holders will need to buy Guided Bus Tour tickets which are normally included with a 1-Day or 2-Day pass.
Learn About Annual Passes and Donor Clubs
Frequent visitors and San Diego Zoo enthusiasts can consider Annual Passes or joining one of the Donor Clubs.
San Diego Zoo Annual Passes are for residents in zip codes 91900–92899. They’re designed for county residents to enjoy the Zoo and Safari Park as much as they like during a membership year.
Annual Pass: Receive unlimited admission to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, two 50% off Super Discount admission coupons, exclusive member specials, ZOONOOZ magazine subscription. If two members from the same household join, the household receives one set of member benefits. (Price: $115/one adult and $205/two adults)
Keeper’s Club (TOP PICK): Frequent visitors to both parks should choose the Keeper’s Club at the bare minimum. It includes everything mentioned in the Annual Pass, plus free San Diego Zoo Safari Park parking, two free one-time-use guest passes, special early hours at the Zoo and Safari Park (second Saturday of each month at the Zoo), access to the special donor entrance, and WildPerks 10% discount off of food and merchandise. (Price: $277/one adult and one guest and $277/two adults in the same household)
San Diego Zoo Kids Club: Residents who plan to visit the Zoo twice in a year with their kids should consider this pass. It includes everything one would experience with a 1-Day pass at nearly the same price. Except that kids receive an entire year of unlimited admission AND exclusive member specials. (Price: $60/ages 3-17)
Donors Clubs are for people who can give more. You’ll receive everything in the Keeper’s Club Annual Pass membership and much more. Donor Clubs are also great for people who enjoy special events. The higher the level you choose to join, the more exclusive events and experiences you are invited to at both San Diego Zoo Global parks.
We have been to many of these events and they are incredible for those who enjoy behind-the-scenes private experiences and animal interactions. Memberships range from $400–10,000.
What to Know Before You Arrive
San Diego Zoo is usually open every day from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., including major holidays. Hours may be extended during holidays and special events.
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 a lower-than-normal capacity on the days that they are open. 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.
- Date-specific reservations are required starting on December 5, 2020. If you already have tickets, you do not need a reservation. As of right now, you also do not need a reservation if you use tickets purchased with my promo code.
- You need to buy San Diego Zoo tickets and tours in advance. Proceed straight to the turnstiles with your valid admission ticket.
- A non-invasive health screen (temperature check) is required for all guests prior to Zoo entry.
- You will notice green distancing markers on the ground that are cues for guests to abide by.
- Face coverings 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 to maintain safe distancing procedures. 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 and keep up with changes here.
FAQs About San Diego Zoo Tickets
These are the questions about tickets for San Diego Zoo and other park discounts that land in my inbox the most.
Is the San Diego Zoo open?
No. San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park will temporarily close on December 7, 2020, because of the Governor’s regional stay at home order. The parks will remain closed for a minimum of three weeks and will reopen as soon as the Governor’s office says that Southern California zoos may reopen.
What If I Already Have a Reservation?
If you have a reservation to visit the Zoo during this temporary closure, it’s been automatically released. Your San Diego Zoo ticket remains valid for one year from the date of your purchase.
What Happens to My Annual Pass?
Your annual pass will be extended by the number of days the Zoo and Safari Park remain closed.
How much are San Diego Zoo tickets?
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.
Is it cheaper to buy San Diego Zoo tickets online?
Yes, prices for online tickets are definitely cheaper. My San Diego Zoo promo code is the best price I’ve seen so far. Plus, the Zoo encourages guests to arrive with tickets purchased online to minimize in-person transactions as part of enhanced health and safety measures.
Can you buy San Diego Zoo tickets at the door?
Yes. You can purchase admission at the ticket window at the full price.
Do I need a special ticket for Halgloween?
No. Admission to the weekend Halgloween Halloween festivities is included with your ticket. The 2020 dates for this special event are October 9–11, 16–18, and 23–25.
Is Jungle Bells included with regular admission?
Yes. The annual holiday Jungle Bells festivities are included with regular admission. In 2020, these dates are November 27, 28, 29, December 4-6, 11-13, 18-23, 25-January 3.
Are San Diego Zoo tickets refundable?
No. Tickets for San Diego Zoo, no matter where you buy them, are not eligible for refunds.
Do I need a reservation to visit the Zoo?
Yes. You will need a date-specific reservation starting on December 5, 2020. There are a few exceptions. If you bought tickets prior to this announcement or buy tickets using my promo code, you do not need a reservation.
When reservations are not required, it’s recommended that you arrive when it opens, if not a little before. During the weekdays, the busiest times are between 12–2 p.m; and weekends between 11 a.m.–3 p.m. You can check their website for more information.
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, Skyfari Aerial Tram, and all regularly scheduled shows. (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 1-Day tickets (request my discount) and then add the movie at the park. (Movies are temporarily unavailable.)
San Diego Zoo admission includes access to all public exhibits. My favorites are the polar bears, koalas, Galapagos tortoises, elephants, hippos, giraffes, and more animals who live in enclosures designed to mimic their natural habitats. You can read my list of top San Diego Zoo animals. You’ll be able to enjoy some interactive experiences such as animal presentations that include Keeper Talks and shows.
Some animal encounters are typically available, but they have temporarily been paused due to increased health and safety measures. Your best chance of enjoying animal encounters is by upgrading your date to include a San Diego Zoo tour.
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 passes, 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 discount 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 that includes other theme parks.
Can you get military discounts for 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).
Are there AARP San Diego Zoo coupons and tickets?
Unfortunately, there are no AARP coupons or discounted park admission offers to either the San Diego Zoo or San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Are there San Diego Zoo teacher discounts?
It is advertised that there are San Diego Zoo teacher discounts through ID.me. I haven’t been able to verify this so if you successfully save money through this method please leave a comment and let me know.
Are there San Diego resident discounts?
The only San Diego resident discounts available are through the purchase of annual passes, which are available for guests who live in zip codes 91900–92899. Passholders receive year-round admission to SD Zoo in addition to discounts on food and merchandise.
What day is the Zoo free?
From October 1-31, children under 11 receive free admission to the San Diego Zoo during the annual Kids Free San Diego promotion. Kids must enter the Zoo 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 children 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. There is enough in the theme park to have a different experience every time at the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
How much is parking at the San Diego Zoo?
San Diego Zoo parking is free! I advise you to arrive early because spaces in the large parking lot are temporarily limited to provide proper distancing between vehicles.
You can also find free street parking along Park Blvd (this fills up quickly) and in the Balboa Park parking lots. The closest Balboa Park parking lots to the Zoo are near San Diego Natural History Museum and behind Fleet Science Center.
What other San Diego Zoo discounts are available?
Besides cheap San Diego Zoo tickets that you can buy through the trusted methods outlined above, other ways to save are limited. Certain member passes 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’ll need to present your membership card at the time of purchase.
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 San Diego Zoo coupons, cheap tickets, promotions, and discount codes for this popular attraction. If they exist and I can trust them, they’ll always be listed in this post. However, remember, every dollar that you spend in the park goes to operating costs and San Diego Zoo Global’s amazing conservation initiatives as a nonprofit organization.
More San Diego Zoo Resources
As a member who has been visiting for over two decades (!!!), I have many recommendations to help maximize your day so that you can enjoy the animals and plants (the Zoo is also an official Botanic Garden). For even more advice, browse all San Diego Zoo posts.
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 theme park.
If you need a nearby hotel, I recommend staying in downtown and a few other surrounding areas at these properties.
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 Southern California and other United States theme parks including:
- San Diego Zoo Safari Park
- SeaWorld San Diego
- LEGOLAND California
- Aquatica San Diego (seasonal)
- Universal Studios Hollywood
- Six Flags Magic Mountain
- Knotts Berry Farm
- LEGOLAND Florida
- Universal Orlando
- San Francisco Zoo