San Francisco Zoo – tickets, prices, timings, attractions, what to expect


Visit San Francisco Zoo to get a glimpse into the life of more than 1000 species from various continents worldwide.

Spread across 100 acres (40 hectares); the zoo has earned the distinction of being the birthplace of Koko, the gorilla known for her vocabulary.

This article covers everything you must know before booking tickets to the San Francisco Zoo.

Top Tickets – San Francisco Zoo
# San Francisco Zoo Admission Tickets
# San Francisco CityPASS

What to expect at San Francisco Zoo

At San Francisco Zoo, you get a chance to connect with wildlife from around the world.

The zoo’s animal kingdom is quite interesting because a lot is there to see and learn from amphibians, mammals, reptiles, birds, and invertebrates.

Catch sights of species you haven’t seen or heard of before, like Amazon milk frog, green jay, bobcat, grizzly bear, Australian walking stick, etc.

There are a lot of exhibits to see, like Koala Crossing, Lion House, Australian WalkAbout, Nature Trail, and Penguin Island, to name a few.

The zoo in San Francisco has a sculpture park that includes the Water Zone, Invertebrates Zone, Fish and Amphibians Zone, Reptiles and Birds Zone, and Mammals Zone.

When you get tired after walking, sit and relax in the bountiful gardens.

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Where to buy San Francisco Zoo tickets

Tickets to the San Francisco Zoo are available online and at the ticket booth at the zoo.

We strongly suggest you purchase online tickets to save money and time.

Online ticket prices tend to be cheaper than tickets at the venue.

When you buy online, you can avoid the long queues at the attraction’s ticket counters.

Because some attractions sell a limited number of tickets, during peak days they may sell out. Booking early helps avoid last-minute disappointments.

How online ticket works

Go to the San Francisco Zoo ticket booking page, select the number of tickets and the date you wish to visit and book your tickets right away.

Once you purchase San Francisco Zoo tickets, they get delivered to your email address. 

There is no need to get printouts of the ticket. 

You can show the e-ticket on your smartphone when you visit the attraction.

Remember to bring your official IDs.

San Francisco Zoo ticket prices

The San Francisco Zoo tickets are priced at US$25 for all adults aged between 12 and 64 years.

Children in the age group of two to 11 years get a US$7 discount and just pay US$18 for entry.

Seniors above 65 years also receive a discount and pay US$20 to get admission.

Infants below one year get free entry.

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San Francisco Zoo admission tickets

San Francisco Zoo

Buy San Francisco Zoo admission tickets and explore each and every exhibit inside the zoo.

This ticket allows you to meet lemurs, elephants, giraffes, kudu, storks, penguins, and many more animals and birds.

Spend a whole day hopping from animal exhibits to playgrounds and gardens.

Tours, rides, and other programs are not included in this admission ticket, and you must pay separately to experience these activities.

Ticket Prices

Adult Ticket (12 to 64 years): US$31
Youth Ticket (2 to 11 years): US$22
Senior Ticket (65+ years): US$26
Infant Ticket (up to 1 year): Free

Save time & money and buy San Francisco Go City Explorer Pass. You can save up to 60% by purchasing this pass over individual tickets. Choose up to 5 attractions and tours and explore everything at your pace. Visit museums and zoos, or get on the hop-on hop-off bus tour or cruise.

Combo ticket: San Francisco Zoo + Legion of Honor

San Francisco Zoo and Legion of Honor are 5 miles (8 km) away, and you can easily commute by car in less than 20 minutes.

So keep your plans flexible and book this combo ticket that takes you through a zoo in San Francisco and the magnificent Palace of Legion of Honor.

At Legion of Honor, take a deep dive into the ocean of arts and feel the sculptures, paintings, and other artworks echoing European and Mediterranean history.

Get up to 10% discount on booking a San Francisco Zoo + Legion of Honor combo ticket.

Ticket Cost: US$34

San Francisco CityPASS

San Francisco CityPASS

Try your hands on San Francisco CityPASS, which is totally value for money, letting you save up to 46%.

This pass grants you admission to the following: Blue & Gold Fleet San Francisco Bay Cruise + California Academy of Sciences + 2 attractions you choose from the list.

The list includes attractions like the Exploratorium, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco Zoo & Gardens, or The Walt Disney Family Museum.

Grab this SFCityPass, spend less, save time, and enjoy it to the fullest!

Ticket Prices

Adult Ticket (12+ years): US$84
Child Ticket (4 to 11 years): US$64

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How to reach San Francisco Zoo

San Francisco Zoo is in the Bay Area of California.

Address: Sloat Blvd & Upper Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA 94132, United States. Get Directions 

You can reach the zoo via public transportation or car.

By Bus

San Francisco is conveniently accessible by bus.

Sloat Blvd & 47th Ave bus stop is within 4 minutes of walking distance.

By Train

The San Francisco Train Station is under 13 miles (approx 20 km) from the zoo.

From there you can rent a cab to reach the zoo.

By Car

If you’re traveling by car, turn on your Google Maps and get started.

San Francisco Zoo offers paid onsite car parking on a first-come, first-served basis.

Those coming from the East Bay and South Bay can park off Great Highway, and for those coming from the North Bay, there is one off Sloat Boulevard at 47th Avenue.

Opening hours of San Francisco Zoo

San Francisco Zoo opens at 10 am and closes at 5 pm all days of the week.

The zoo operates year-round, so you can plan your visit whenever you want.

The last admission to the zoo is at 4 pm.

On some days, the San Francisco Zoo provides free entry to guests. Click here to learn more about free admission days.

How long does the San Francisco zoo take

At least 4 to 5 hours are needed to explore San Francisco Zoo, considering the number of exhibits, rides, and activities one can experience.

But your zoo tickets are not timed, so stay as long as you want and take advantage of all exhibits and rides.

If you visit with kids, allocate extra time for your tour. Kids would love to spend time with the animals, and participate in the activities.

Best time to visit San Francisco Zoo

The best time to visit San Francisco is as soon as they open at 10 am.

There are four benefits of starting early – the animals are most active early in the morning, the temperatures are still moderate, the crowd is yet to get in, and you have the whole day to spend at the attraction.

As the day gets hotter, animals prefer staying inside their shelters. As a result, you may get disappointed when you don’t see them in the exhibit.

Weekdays are better for a peaceful visit because the zoo gets crowded on weekends and school holidays.

The zoo is most crowded on weekends between 10 am and 2 pm.

If you are on a short holiday in San Francisco, starting early also allows you to add another attraction to the day’s itinerary.

What to see at San Francisco Zoo

There are so many exhibits to see and activities to experience at San Francisco Zoo that visitors tend to get confused about what to see and how to plan their visit.

But we have got a few suggestions to give you that are definitely worth exploring.

Here is our list of must-sees of the SF Zoo.

Lion House – Meet the wildest animals, lions and tigers, in this exhibit, and we are sure you will get scared when they roar!

Giraffe Lodge – Get closer to these long-necked giraffes waiting for you to feed them their favorite banana and lettuce.

Koala Crossing – Look at the cute koalas sitting on the eucalyptus trees. But let us tell you beforehand; it’s hard to spot them in winter as they are kept in heated buildings.

Open Aviary – Stopover at South American Tropical Rainforest & Aviary Building and see two-toed sloth, green anaconda, and rare tree frogs, turtles, lizards, and snakes.

Penguin Island – There is no better feeling than watching penguins waddle, right? So do pay a visit to them before you leave the zoo.

The Fisher Family Children’s Zoo – Bring your kids to this bustling farmhouse to meet sheep and goats.

Sculpture Zone – This new addition to the zoo is worth a visit. You can see sculptures of amoeba, saltwater crocodiles, pangolins, coconut crabs, etc., and learn about them.

Rides at San Francisco Zoo

San Francisco Zoo has everything to make your zoo experience not just educational but also adventurous.

The zoo has various rides to keep your kids entertained all the time.

Here are some rides you can try when at the zoo.

Little Puffer Miniature Steam Train – Take a tour of the zoo on this train and see the zoo through a new eye from the windows.

Dentzel Carousel – Tucked in Fisher Family Children’s Zoo is this fun merry-go-round delight for children with a horse, a cat, a rabbit, and even a giraffe to ride on.

Elinor Friend Playground – This is the kids’ favorite spot to play, run and swing. The playground has three different bioregions for different age groups.

This includes River Play Area for toddlers (six months to two years), a Polar Zone exploration space for preschoolers (two to five years), and a Banyan Tree climbing structure for pre-teens (five to 12 years).

Map of San Francisco Zoo

San Francisco Zoo Map

Considering the size and number of animals sheltered inside this zoo, we can say that the zoo is quite big to explore. 

When different animals are housed, it becomes challenging to locate the animal enclosures, activity areas, picnic spots, restaurants, washrooms, and many other facilities at the zoo. 

Of course, there are zoo keepers and signboards to guide you throughout your journey, but it is always good to set up the rhythm of the tour by yourself. 

This is why a zoo map becomes very important when you’re out for adventure with your family and friends. 

With a San Francisco Zoo map, you can navigate everything and anything on your mobile phone.

Reviews for San Francisco Zoo

San Francisco Zoo is a highly-rated tourist attraction. 

Check out three San Francisco Zoo reviews we selected from Tripadvisor, which give you an idea of what to expect at this attraction.

Best Zoo in the Bay Area!

“This was the best zoo ever so far! The best part is the train, a great ride to go on! I would like to go to this zoo another time soon!” – Sebastian M – TripAdvisor

Great Zoo Experience

“Great zoo, we loved it! Spacious, lots of animals that were active. The landscaping, variety of trees and flowers were beautiful. Definitely go!” – Janice R – TripAdvisor

Special Zoo! Worth a visit while in San Francisco

“The SF Zoo is a must-stop if you’re visiting the city with children. It usually takes us a few hours to walk the full loop, starting with their beautiful Africa habitat ….” – Happy Traveler – TripAdvisor

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FAQs about San Francisco Zoo

Here are some questions visitors usually ask before visiting the San Francisco Zoo.

Is food allowed in the San Francisco Zoo?

Yes! Guests can bring their food and beverages from home or dine at on-site cafes and restaurants at Leaping Lemur Café, The Station Pizza Parlor, and Café Playfield.

Can I feed animals in the San Francisco Zoo?

Yes! You can interact with and feed a few animals, like giraffes but not all.

Is photography allowed inside San Francisco Zoo?

Photography is permitted as long as it is done safely behind barriers and in open places. At no time is a selfie stick permitted to be held over a barrier.

Can children tour San Francisco Zoo alone?

Children under 14 years should always be accompanied by adults.

What are San Francisco Zoo opening hours?

The San Francisco Zoo runs from 10 am to 5 pm daily.

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