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San Francisco Zoo – tickets, prices, discounts, feeding times

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Edited by: Rekha Rajan
Fact checked by: Jamshed V Rajan


For more than 90 years, San Francisco Zoo has been entertaining locals and tourists.

This 100 acres of animals and more has something to offer for everyone – from the toddler to the grandma.

In this article, we explain everything you need to know before you visit San Francisco Zoo.

Top San Francisco Zoo Tickets

# San Francisco Zoo` tickets

# San Francisco Mega Pass

San Francisco Zoo

How to get to San Francisco zoo

This family attraction of San Francisco is right on the shore of the Pacific Ocean.

Address: Sloan Blvd and Great Highway, San Francisco, CA, 94132.

If your starting point is from within San Francisco, take the Muni L Taraval line going towards the Zoo.

The L Taraval is a Muni Metro line in San Francisco, serving the Parkside District.

Muni bus lines 23 and 18 also stop at the San Francisco Zoo entrance.

The Zoo encourages visitors to take public transportation.

Visitors who show same-day Muni receipt at the ticketing window get a $1 discount off the price of admission.

If you are driving to the Zoo, Google Map’s directions are your best bet.

Car parking

The San Fran Zoo parking lot has two entrances – one off of the Great Highway for people driving from East Bay and South Bay, and one off Sloat Boulevard at 47th Avenue for those coming in from North Bay. 

To exit the parking, purchase the ticket at the Main Gate while leaving.

Cost of parking for both tourists and locals –

On weekdays: 10 dollars
On weekends and holidays: 12 dollars

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San Francisco Zoo tickets

San Francisco Zoo tickets
When you buy San Francisco Zoo tickets at the venue, you get a physical ticket (as in the pic). However, we recommend you buy your tickets online to avoid waiting in the long ticket counter lines. Image: Danasaurlui.com

When it comes to San Francisco entry tickets, the choice is easy – you only have one ticket to choose from.

This ticket gets you access to everything in the Zoo – the 2000 exotic, endangered and rescued animals, the steam train, the carousel, themed play zone for kids etc.

Since these are smartphone tickets, they get emailed to you as soon as you make the purchase.

On the day of your visit, show the ticket in your email (on your smartphone) and walk in.

Yes, no need to take print outs!

Cancellations are possible up to 24 hours before your visit date.

Ticket price

Adult ticket (15 to 64 years): $23
Seniors ticket (65+): $19
Child ticket (4 to 14 years): $17

If you want one ticket which gets you access to five of SFO’s top attractions, check out San Francisco Mega Pass.

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San Francisco Zoo hours

San Francisco Zoo opens at 10 am and closes at 4 pm every day of the year.

The last entry is an hour before the closing time.

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Feeding times at San Francisco Zoo

The Zoo offers its visitors a chance to get closer to the magnificent animals.

You can see and participate in feeding the animals under the watchful eyes of the keepers.

During the sessions, the keepers talk about the animals and their habits to make the session memorable.

Tourists who have been to the Zoo before recommend the Grizzly bear and Penguin feeding sessions as the best.

While the Bears only have one feeding session during the day – at 10.30 am, the Penguins have two – at 10.30 am and 3.30 pm.

Be prepared for the crowd around the Grizzly Bear.

You can cheer with the crowd while the bears sprint across the cage.

Some of the other notable feeding sessions at the San Francisco Zoo are:

Red Panda10.15 amExploration Zone
Chimpanzee Talk11.15 amChimp Habitat
Sifaka12.30 pmPrimate Discovery Center
Meerkat12.30 pmExploration Zone
Sea Lion2 pmFred Carroll Family Sea Lion Pool
Big cats2.30 pmLion House
Rainforest animals3 pmS.A. Tropical Rainforest & Aviary
Giraffes4.30 pmBernard Osher Giraffe Lodge

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Best time to visit San Francisco Zoo

The best time to visit the San Francisco Zoo is as soon as they open at 10 am because the weather is pleasant, animals are most active, crowd hasn’t come in yet, and most of the feeding sessions happen between 10 am to 2 pm.

If you have to choose between weekdays and weekends, opt for the former because weekends get really crowded at SFO Zoo.

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How long does San Francisco Zoo take

If you are visiting San Francisco Zoo with kids, you need at least four hours to see all the animals and some of the feeding sessions.

If you are in a hurry, you can explore San Francisco Zoo in two hours.

If you are with kids and or elders and plan to stay long, we recommend regular breaks for food and water at the restaurants. 

Since the San Francisco Zoo ticket has no time limit, once you are in you can spend the whole day exploring the Zoo.

California has four fantastic zoos and is a wildlife lover’s destination.

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Free day at SFO Zoo

Residents of San Francisco get a chance to visit San Fran Zoo for free on certain days.

You must provide your identity proving your residency in San Francisco to enjoy these free days.

The last free day at the SFO Zoo was on 5 Feb 2020 and the next open day is yet to be announced.

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San Francisco Zoo discount

Kids three and under get a 100% discount and can enter the Zoo for free.

The next lucky group of visitors are the San Francisco residents.

The cost of an adult ticket for a 15 to 64 visitor is $22. However, the discounted rate for the San Francisco residents is $19.

The price of an SFO Zoo ticket for seniors aged 65+ is $18, but the locals only have to pay $13.50 – a discount of $4.5.

Similarly, visitors aged 4 to 14 pay the admission fee of $16 while the locals of the same age get a discount on the ticket and pay only $12.5.

Retired and active military personnel and visitors with disabilities also get the same discount as the locals.

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What to see at San Francisco Zoo

Booked your tickets with us but still confused about what to see?

Here is our list of the must-sees in San Francisco Zoo.

Grizzly Bears

Start your day with Kachina and Kiona, two grizzlies of the zoo.

The two orphaned sisters pounce with excitement while their keepers feed them.

Giraffe Lodge

Step closer to nature and have a better look at the gentle giants.

Visitors get a chance to go inside the Giraffe’s lodge while they are fed by the keepers.

Mexican Grey Wolves

Almost extinct in the wild, these little Grey Wolves were welcomed in the SF Zoo.

Prince, David Bowie and Jerry Garcia jump around while you have a 270-degree view of their habitat.

The Aviary

In the South American Tropical Rainforest and Aviary Building, you only have essential barriers with nature.

Step in to see birds, sloth and anaconda with minimal barriers.

Animal Resource Center (ARC)

In the Zoo’s Koret Animal Resource Center, you get to see trained volunteers and zookeeper take care of the animals.

You can listen to their stories and also learn about various conservation efforts Zoo participates in.

Petting Zoo

Children's Petting Zoo in San Francisco Zoo
Image: Sfzoo.org

San Fran Zoo holds something for everyone.

While you enjoy the greenery of the gardens, your kids can pet animals like sheep and goats in the Fisher Family Children’s Zoo.

Zoo’s 100-years-old train

Train at San Francisco Zoo
Image: Sfzoo.org

Hop on the miniature train to ride through the South America and Bear Country sections.

The train has carried passengers for generations and still runs after 115 years of service.

This merry-go-round has pleased generations of visitors with a ride for 4 dollars.

It is one of a kind Carousel and was restored in 1921.

It is located near the Fisher Family Children’s Zoo.

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San Francisco Zoo reviews

SFO Zoo is a highly rated tourist attraction.

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

Fun and interesting

I went by myself to the zoo hoping to spend a couple of hours of fun. In the end, I spent way more walking around. The environment is clean and tidy, and the animals look very healthy. Easy to walk around and navigate, a must-see place for a family visit. CharliePineda1984, Costa Rica

Excellent Zoo

Recently took our grandkids here for a Sunday visit after not visiting for several years. They have done some really amazing settings for the animals. Order tickets online to save time. We paid to park the car which is close to the entrance – otherwise park free on the street and take the hike. Get there early. My favourite attractions were the Grizzly bears, the Mexican wolfs, the tigers and the snow leopard. Drastler, California

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San Francisco Zoo Map

This SFO Zoo is massive, and there is so much to see.

This is why we recommend that you carry a copy of the Zoo’s map during your visit.

A map will ensure you don’t get lost and find the animal enclosures easily.

Since you may be spending two to four hours in the SFO Zoo, you will also need to know the location of visitors’ services.

Map of San Francisco Zoo
Image: Sfzoo.org

You can download and save the map on your phone or bookmark this page to get back later. 

Download San Francisco Zoo’s Visitor Guide (includes map)

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Restaurants in SF Zoo

Apart from the standbys, San Francisco Zoo has three restaurants.

Leaping lemur café

The café provides indoor and outdoor dining with tastes from around the world.

With its central location, this is the best place to stop.

The Station Pizza parlour

Located near the Little Puffer Train depot, the pint offers outdoor dining overlooking the Bear exhibits and Eagle Islands.

Cafe Playfield

Near the Elinor Friend Playground, this café offers special meals for kids made with love and local organic produce.

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Oakland Zoo vs San Francisco Zoo

The San Francisco Zoo and the Oakland Zoo are around 50 minutes apart (30 Miles, 48 Kms).

Many tourists visiting San Francisco and the locals face this question – should they visit the Oakland Zoo or the San Francisco Zoo?

If you have kids and if you are looking for places to visit, we suggest you visit both – maybe with a few days’ gap in between.

However, if you must choose between the two consider the following inside tips.


1. Both the Zoos have a nice and huge collection of healthy animals.

2. Oakland Zoo and the SFO Zoo have kids’ trains


1. Oakland Zoo is much smaller than the SFO Zoo

2. While most of the animals live in natural habitats, some of the animals in SFO Zoo are in antiquated cages

3. There is more to do near the SFO Zoo than the Oakland Zoo. After you are done with the SFO Zoo, you can check out the beach, Cliff House area, and the Golden Gate Park.

Our recommendation: San Francisco Zoo is a better option. Book tickets!

# Sfzoo.org
# Wikipedia.org
# Traveltriangle.com
# Tripadvisor.com

The travel specialists at TheBetterVacation.com use only high-quality sources while researching & writing their articles. We make every attempt to keep our content current, reliable and trustworthy.

# Alcatraz Island
# San Francisco Zoo
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# Monterey Bay Aquarium
# San Francisco MoMA
# San Francisco aquarium
# Exploratorium
# De Young Museum
# San Francisco Bus Tours
# Madame Tussauds
# San Francisco Bay Cruise
# San Francisco Ghost Tour
# The Tech Interactive
# San Francisco Dinner Cruise
# SFO Go Car Tour
# Legion of Honor Museum
# Walt Disney Family Museum
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# 7D Ride Experience

Other Zoos in California

# San Diego Zoo
# San Diego Safari Park
# Los Angeles Zoo

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1 thought on “San Francisco Zoo – tickets, prices, discounts, feeding times”

  1. Hi, I want to book the tickets for two adult and two children. What is the total cost? Do you have tickets for tomorrow?

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