San Diego Zoo Hours: Updated Guide for Your Visit

San Diego Zoo Opening Hours

The San Diego Zoo’s operating hours vary throughout the year, often changing with the seasons. For the most current information, visitors should verify the schedule for the date they plan to visit, as the hours may change due to special events or other circumstances. Here are the general guidelines for the zoo’s hours:

Regular Season (typically after summer and outside of special events):

  • Monday to Friday: 9 AM – 5 PM
  • Weekends: Extended hours may apply.

Summer Season (including special events like Nighttime Zoo):

  • Hours typically extend in the evening.

Special Dates:

  • November 6, 2023 – November 23, 2023: 9 AM – 5 PM
  • Visitors can plan their visit by reviewing a detailed calendar provided by the zoo for exact times.


  • The last admission is one hour before the closing time.
  • The zoo’s hours for ticket sales may differ slightly.

Special Programs and Night Visits:

  • Details and the specific timing for Nighttime Zoo experiences should be reviewed as they offer separate viewing times.


  • San Diego Zoo is situated in Balboa Park, near downtown San Diego.

For the most up-to-date information on San Diego Zoo operating hours, one can refer to the zoo’s official guide and hours page.

Ticketing Hours

When planning a visit to the San Diego Zoo, guests should be aware of the ticketing hours to ensure a smooth entry process. Tickets can be purchased online, which allows visitors to print their tickets at home or show them on a mobile device for added convenience.

The ticket offices at the zoo are usually concurrent with the zoo’s opening hours. For instance, during the regular season, which typically includes dates such as November 6 to November 23, 2023, the ticket counters open at 9:00 AM and close at 5:00 PM. For exact times on specific dates or special events, it is advisable to check the San Diego Zoo Plan Your Visit page.

Here is a quick summary of the standard ticketing hours:

  • Regular Season (Nov 6 – Nov 23, 2023): 9 AM – 5 PM
  • Holiday Season/Special Events: Hours may vary

It is important to note that these times are subject to change, and guests are encouraged to confirm the hours for the date of their visit. If visitors choose to purchase their tickets upon arrival, it is recommended they arrive earlier to allow ample time for ticket purchase and entry.

For those seeking to bypass potential ticket booth lines, online ticket options include single-day passes, membership experiences, and multi-attraction passes that offer one visit to each attraction over a set number of days. To review the different ticket types available and their validity, the San Diego Zoo Tickets page provides detailed information.

Special Seasonal Hours

The San Diego Zoo offers extended hours during specific seasonal events, providing visitors with unique experiences and nighttime festivities.

Summer Hours

During the summer, visitors can enjoy the zoo for longer stretches as it sometimes extends its closing time. However, the exact summer hours should be directly confirmed with the San Diego Zoo’s plan your visit page, as these hours can vary.

Holiday Hours

The holiday season is festive at the San Diego Zoo with its special event, Jungle Bells. This event typically runs from early December through the beginning of January, with an exception on December 24. During Jungle Bells, the Zoo remains open until 8 p.m., offering an illuminated evening experience.

Early Closure Days

The San Diego Zoo occasionally has days when it closes earlier than usual. These early closure days are typically related to special events or maintenance that require additional time or exclusive access to parts of the zoo.

Typical Operating Hours:

  • Regular opening time: 9:00 AM
  • Regular closing time: 5:00 PM

Early Closure Information:

Visitors should note that on early closure days, the last admission occurs one hour before the listed closing time. The zoo updates its early hours on a monthly basis, and it’s recommended that visitors check the schedule in advance to plan their visit accordingly.

Month Early Closure Dates Closing Time
January TBD TBD
February TBD TBD

To confirm the dates and times for early closures, guests can refer to the official San Diego Zoo and Safari Park Early Hours calendar available on the zoo’s website.

Preparing for Your Visit:

For those seeking detailed visit plans or have specific questions, assistance is available through the zoo’s Plan Your Visit section or by inquiring with their virtual assistant available 24 hours a day. This can ensure an optimized itinerary, especially on days when time in the zoo is limited.

Member-Exclusive Zoo Hours

San Diego Zoo offers unique, member-exclusive hours, providing a serene and less crowded experience. These hours are specifically tailored for guests holding qualifying memberships and present an opportunity to enjoy the zoo in a more intimate setting. Members who can take advantage of these hours are typically Wildlife Protector Premium members or above.

Early Access Date Time
Sunday, August 13, 2023 8 – 8:45 AM
Sunday, September 10, 2023 8 – 8:45 AM
Sunday, October 15, 2023 8 – 8:45 AM
Sunday, November 5, 2023 8 – 8:45 AM

During these morning hours, qualifying members simply need to present their membership card at the main entrance at 8 AM on the designated dates to gain early access. They offer a tranquil atmosphere to observe the zoo’s inhabitants as they wake and start their day, often resulting in more active and engaging animal behavior.

Members should keep in mind that these early hours are a precious benefit and plan their arrival accordingly to utilize the full duration of this exclusive window.

For further details, one can visit the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance membership page, which contains comprehensive information on member benefits and early hours scheduling.

Please note that specific dates are subject to change, and it’s recommended that members check in advance to confirm the availability of these hours.

Parking Lot Operation Hours

The San Diego Zoo provides ample parking for visitors. The parking lot is neither gated nor locked, allowing for 24-hour accessibility. However, visitors are advised not to arrive earlier than one hour before the Zoo’s opening time. Enhanced accessibility for diverse vehicle sizes is a key feature of this parking lot.

During normal business hours, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park also offers parking facilities suitable for both standard and oversized vehicles such as RVs and buses. The parking strategy is well-organized to direct vehicles to the right spot for a seamless experience.

Below is a summary of the operation hours for parking:

  • San Diego Zoo:

    • Accessible 24 hours a day.
    • Recommended arrival no more than one hour before the zoo opens.
  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park:

    • Operation hours coincide with the park’s business hours.
    • Specific provisions are made for oversized vehicles.

Please note that neither parking facility permits overnight parking. Visitors are encouraged to refer to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park official websites for any changes to these hours and for more specific details related to parking services and fees.

Frequently Asked Questions

When planning a visit to the San Diego Zoo, guests often have questions about opening hours, daily operations, and tips for making the most of their visit. The following frequently asked questions provide essential information to assist in trip planning.

What are the San Diego Zoo opening hours tomorrow?

The opening hours can vary, so visitors should check the San Diego Zoo Guide for the latest information for specific dates.

Is the San Diego Zoo open every day of the week?

Yes, the San Diego Zoo is open every day, including holidays, to accommodate guests throughout the year.

Can you visit the entire San Diego Zoo in a single day?

While it’s possible to visit the San Diego Zoo in one day, the time it takes can vary greatly depending on the number of exhibits guests want to see and how long they spend at each one.

Are visitors allowed to bring water bottles into the San Diego Zoo?

Guests are permitted to bring their own water bottles into the San Diego Zoo to stay hydrated throughout their visit.

How long should a typical visit to the San Diego Zoo last?

A typical visit to the San Diego Zoo varies, with some guests spending just a few hours and others staying for more than 8 hours, exploring the extensive variety of exhibits and attractions.

Are there any discounts available on San Diego Zoo tickets?

The San Diego Zoo offers various discounts, including for groups, members, and on special occasions, which visitors can learn more about by inquiring directly with the zoo’s ticketing.

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