Published on April 23, 2015 by

This beautiful tropical landscape is home to delightful San Diego restaurants and fun attractions.

Get on your best walking shoes and pack plenty of water before starting your safari into the zoo’s 100-acre jungle of steep hills, canyons and winding trails.

If you don’t want to wait in long lines to see the Giant Panda Research Station, try to arrive early. Easily the zoo’s most popular exhibit, the endangered pandas are on temporary loan from China and each baby returns back to the country’s control after its third birthday.

During your trek through the park, you’ll pass by beautiful waterfalls, tropical flowers and numerous natural-styled environments.

Approximately 4,000 animals make their home at the San Diego Zoo, but the koala exhibit from Lone Pine Sanctuary in Brisbane seems to win over the hearts of most guests. Here, you’ll find the largest number of koalas outside of Australia. Though they sleep much of the day, you may get lucky and find these adorable gray marsupials eating the tender Eucalyptus leaves from their trees.

Folks in wheelchairs or couples with small children may want to consider purchasing the zoo’s Bus Tour tickets, which include a guided 35-minute bus ride through about 75 percent of the park.

You can rent wheelchairs and strollers inside the zoo entrance.

You can also catch the Skyfari Aerial Tram, which begins outside the Reptile House and ends up at Polar Bear Plunge. The views of the zoo and city of San Diego are stunning.

When it comes time for lunch, you can enjoy a picnic at any public outdoor dining area. Other choices include fresh baked pizza at Lagoon Terrace or veggie burgers at Safari Kitchen.

Our favorite place to eat is Albert’s Restaurant, a treetop-styled fine dining experience in Gorilla Tropics. On a sunny day, dine outside by the waterfall, or cool off in the interior dining room with a cold bottle of specialty beer and a fresh grilled ahi sandwich.

Tip: An ATM is located outside the Reptile House.

Other must-see attractions at the park include the 3-acre Monkey Trails and Forest Tales Exhibit, and the Children’s Zoo, where little folks can enjoy petting small Tip: The San Diego Zoo is free for kids under 12 in October.

Plan to spend a whole day at the zoo to enjoy everything it has to offer. On your way out, don’t miss the foot massager tucked next to the zoo gift shop. After all of that walking, it’s a great way to rejuvenate your feet before the drive home.

Next time you’re in San Diego, make sure to check out this world-class zoo. It’s a day trip that’s sure to be educational and rewarding.

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