San Diego Zoo Global is a not-for-profit organization that runs the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. It was founded 100 years ago by Harry Wegeforth, M.D.

San Diego Zoo Global boasts the biggest zoological membership anywhere in the world, representing more than 500,000 people. San Diego Zoo Global is committed to saving species around the world by uniting its expertise in conservation science and animal husbandry with its dedication to inspiring passion for nature among members and visitors.

Over 3,500 endangered and rare animals representing more than 650 species and subspecies, and a pre-eminent botanical collection with more than 700,000 exotic plants call the 100-acre zoo home.

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1.Exhibits at The San Diego Zoo

Exhibits at The San Diego Zoo
© Courtesy of The San Diego Zoo

Two new exciting exhibits at the zoo are the "Early Morning with the Pandas Tour" and the Australian Outback Exhibit.

Be among the first to say good morning to the zoo's pandas by visiting its giant panda viewing area before it officially opens for the day. This new, small-group tour starts before the zoo opens, so you can watch pandas Xiao Liwu, Bai Yun, and/or Gao Gaomunching on breakfast.

This is a two-hour experience that includes a tour around the zoo in a shuttle cart, with stops to visit some other animals up close. Discover how the zoo works to accomplish its goals of wildlife conservation and education.

Explore the best of Australia at Conrad Prebys Australian Outback, the zoo's latest exhibit. It commences at an entrance of aboriginal-style totems that represent highly recognizable Australian animals. The experience features a path so you can make your way through a eucalyptus grove to encounter everything from kookaburras and cockatoos to wombats and wallabies. Visitors will be guided to the Queenslander House to view the zoo's koala colony, which is the largest outside of Australia. You'll be at eye level with the koalas as they nap, eat and enjoy the sun from their treetop perches. Be sure to keep an eye out for baby koala joeys among the older population.

Find seven marsupials and 25 bird species at the zoo's newest exhibit.

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2.San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park
© Courtesy of The San Diego Zoo

Separate from the zoo is the park, a significant sanctuary for wildlife that houses some 3,000 animals representing more than 300 species. A botanical collection represents 3,500 species and 1.75 million specimens. More than half of its 1,800 acres have been preserved for native species habitat. The Park is near Escondido, California.

Here, visitors can choose from 10 different safaris that allow them close-up views of their favorite African plains animals. In the Caravan Safari, guests can climb into the back of a covered, open-air truck to admire African and Asian mammals and birds, with the chance to feed giraffes.

Guests on the Cheetah Safari get to witness the fastest land mammal - running. During Shiley's Cheetah Run, the sleek cat races on a straight 330-foot-long track that allows it to really stretch its legs and reach a maximum speed of about 70 miles per hour.

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Cheetah Safari offers a trackside seatto those who choose this experience. From these seats, visitors will observe the quickest of all mammals as it seeks its prey (which is actually a mechanical lure).

Before the cat appears, visitors are invited into the Cheetah Safari seating area for an encounter with another African animal. After the striking animal has completed its sprint around the track, the cheetah and its trainer will actually visit with you.

On the Raptor Flight Safari, visitors interact with a Harris's hawk and a crowned crane. This hour-long safari experience includes a 20-minute public flight demonstration and special participation for Raptor Flight Safari guests.

Guests on this safari will "fly and catch" a hawk and encounter a crowned crane.

On a Cart Safari, visitors can choose between seeing animals native to Africa or Asia.

The Jungle Ropes Safari experience allows anyone seven and older to balance, climb, walk and swing through the trees. Challenge yourself with this daring experience that offers three different courses, each one containing more than a dozen elements. These elements include aerial tightropes, rope bridges, swinging log steps, and moving platforms. Jungle Ropes Safari is for adventure seekers ready to try out life in the treetops. At some points, visitors are more than 35 feet from the ground.

This is a 90-minute experience, during which visitors will use a Smart Belay system to "sail" through the courses at one's own pace. Each course offers a different challenge level: one, two, or three. Visitors will don a safety harness and be instructed by zoo staff before entering the Challenge Level 1 course. After that, your "path" is up to you.

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3.Flightline Safari

Flightline Safari
© Courtesy of nataba -

Those eight and older can take the Flightline Safari. You will be strapped into a secure harness and "fly" as high as 130 feet above the ground to gain a bird's-eye view of wildlife on the ground below.

Flightline features safety equipment, an orientation, an interpretive tour, and a flight on two zip lines. The Fledgling run prepares guests for their "real" Flightline experience from the final launch platform. From there, visitors will see the San Diego Zoo Safari Park from an extraordinary height as they "fly" about two-thirds of a mile.

The Trike Safari gives visitors the unique opportunity to see the African Plains on a motorized trike. This 60-minute safari features two guides providing insights into the park's conservation work around the world. The Trike Safari features photo stops and unique visual opportunities in Safari Park areas that are not accessible on foot.

Visitors can choose among four Behind-the-Scenes Safaris to view tigers, lions, cheetahs and their friends, plus the Veterinary Medical Center.

Roar and Snore Safaris are overnight adventures designed for different groups, from all ages to adults only and other special groups. Guests will enjoy a singularly unique experience as they sit back in comfortable tents surrounded by the sounds and sights wildlife at nighttime.

No matter which sleepover option visitors choose, they will be treated to camp activities, a look at wildlife after dark, a campfire program, guided walks, dinner, an evening snack, and breakfast.

An Ultimate Safari is customized to your specifications. A team, with your interests in mind, will customize your visit to suit your desires. Perhaps you are seeking an adventure? Or perhaps you'd like a personal tour of the most exclusive areas of the park? Maybe you wish to have a personal encounter with a certain animal? The Ultimate Safari is your ticket to non-toured exhibits, interaction with animals, and exceptional personalized service.

Spend up to five hours exploring the Safari Park with your own personal tour guide. And if you have more time, you may spend up to eight hours on your own personal tour. Every Ultimate Safari features a meal.

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4.San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research

San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research
© Courtesy of The San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research is one of the largest zoo-based research centers in the world. It was established in 1975, and is committed to protecting and preserving endangered and rare habitats and wildlife. Staff develop, gather, and increase knowledge vital for the establishment of self-sustaining populations of wildlife.

Both the park and the zoo are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the American Association of Museums.

When you're parched from your day's sojourn or just need a break for something great to eat, choose from the many dining options. These include Albert's, Poppy's Patio, Sabertooth Grill, Treetops Cafe, Zoo Brew, Jungle Java, Hua Mei Cafe, Safari Kitchen, San Diego Zoo Sandwich Company, Lagoon Terrace, Front Street Cafe, and Sydney's Grill. Simply click "Add to Your Day" to plan your meal.

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5.Travel Planning Tool

Travel Planning Tool
© Courtesy of The San Diego Zoo

There's so much to squeeze into a visit at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and Sand Diego Zoo and so many ways to explore these areas, that it makes a lot of sense to thoroughly explore the zoo's website before your visit so that you can take advantage of a special feature on it called "Add to Your Day."

"Add to Your Day" lets you add virtually any exhibit, activity or experience to your personalized itinerary, so if you're ready for your day(s) at the zoo, just login with your social ID to begin adding "items" to your visit.

Learn which experiences must be booked in advance and which are available to you on the day of your visit. When you've completed your ideal day at the zoo, share your handiwork family and friends, then access your itinerary on your mobile phone or tablet using your social ID the day of your visit.

2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, Phone: 619-231-1515

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San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, San Diego