The San Diego Zoo is one of the most famous zoos. The zoo is HUGE and has tons of animals to see. Because the zoo is so large it's not an easy walk and it has lots of uphill climbs — so keep that in mind!
The San Diego Zoo has two parks — the San Diego Zoo:Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo (in Balboa Park). We went to Zoo in Balboa Park. Here are my tips if you have ONE DAY at the zoo.
Pick your top priorities
The zoo is huge! You probably won't be able to get to everything in one day (we definitely did not), so explore that app/website beforehand to see what animals you want to see the most. Prioritize those first, and then everything else will be a bonus.
Take the Bus Around Zoo
There are two bus systems at the zoo. One that is a 45-minute guided tour (you can hop on this bus at the beginning of the park) or a "Kangaroo Bus" that will take you to different spots throughout the park.
I would recommend taking the bus when you first get to the zoo. You'll see animals and then when you get off you can decide which animals you want to go back and see or which ones you feel like you saw well enough. The bus doesn't cover the entire zoo, but it'll give you a good glimpse of animals right from the start.
Go to the Kid's Play Area
You'll definitely want to check out the new kid's play area — Wildlife Explorers Basecamp. They having rope climbing tubes, rope bridges, and a splash pad. My kids had a lot of fun at this area!
Take the Sky Tram
The Sky Tram will take you up to the Polar Bears (which if you don't take the sky tram is a TOUGH uphill walk). They don't allow double strollers to be on the sky tram, but smaller strollers should be able to fit (but you have to fold it up).
The Sky Tram will give your feet a break and give you a glimpse of the zoo from up above.
Bring Snacks and Water
Food and Drinks are expensive at the park so bring your own snacks! We had lunch at "Sydney Grill" and it was really good!