Handy Tips for Returning to the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park


The San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park have been welcoming back guests for several weeks now. And the parks are doing a wonderful job of making everything feel safe and comfortable. With all the new safety procedures in place, there are some new things to consider for your visit. So, what better time than now to share some tips to help make your return to the parks as smooth as possible?

meerkat sitting on top of a termite mound

1. Arrive Early

The Zoo and Safari Park are currently limiting capacity to less than half of their usual limits. In order to decrease the possibility of a long wait to get in, due to capacity limits, it’s best to arrive as close to park opening as possible. You can check the current front gate wait times for the zoo and the Safari Park so you know what you’re in for when you arrive. Also plan to spend some extra time waiting to go through a health screening before entering either park. It’s a quick screening but if a lot of people are arriving at the same time it could create some backup.

2. Be Flexible if You Eat in the Parks

Upon my return to the Safari Park I did notice that lines for the restaurants were quite long at lunchtime. Because of the new social distancing policies, ordering and receiving your food will likely take longer than it used to. I suggest either eating right when restaurants open or enjoying a late lunch. You can also pack your own lunch to take into the parks with you and skip the lines altogether.

koala climbing a tree

3. Enjoy A Special Tour

Even though you can’t currently enjoy a ride on the bus at the zoo or the Africa tram at the Safari Park, if you’re willing to spend some extra money you can still enjoy a special tour of the parks. The available offerings can be viewed here for the Safari Park and here for the zoo. As an added bonus all the money they make from these tours goes right back into the parks operations. So by taking one of these tours you are helping them to continue to care for all the animals that call the zoo and Safari Park home.

4. Triple Check That You Have Everything

There are currently no in and out privileges at the parks, which means once you exit you can’t re-enter the parks. Speaking as someone who has forgotten things in the car before, right now it’s an especially good idea to triple check that you have everything you’ll need for your visit before heading inside.

close up view of a giraffe

Above all else please be patient and understanding during your visit. We are all trying to navigate this “new normal” together. This includes the employees at the parks as well. The new safety protocols will take some getting used to so please be patient with fellow guests and employees during this time. Hopefully, these tips will help you maximize your safe return to the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.

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