A guide to San Francisco Zoo tickets, prices and visitor information

Located beside the Pacific Ocean, the San Francisco Zoo offers a picturesque setting for an unforgettable animal adventure. 

With more than 2000 animals representing over 250 distinct species, it provides a diverse and immersive experience for visitors of all ages. 

You can witness the impressive speed of penguins at Penguin Island and pet-friendly farm animals at the Family Farm. 

The San Francisco Zoo provides an engaging and educational experience, making it a must-visit destination for animal lovers and families.

This article shares all the information about San Francisco Zoo tickets, prices, discounts, hours, directions, animals and more you need to know before you visit. 

Top tickets to San Francisco Zoo:

# San Francisco Zoo entry ticket
# California Academy of Sciences + San Francisco Zoo 
# San Francisco Zoo + Legion of Honor
# San Francisco Zoo + Exploratorium
# San Francisco Zoo + Walt Disney Family Museum


Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

Year Opened: 1929

Best Time to Visit: Early in the morning or late afternoon

Time required: three to four hours

Ticket Prices: $29

Location: Sloat Blvd & Upper Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA 94132, United States |
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Where to buy tickets for San Francisco Zoo 

You can purchase the San Francisco Zoo tickets online and at the ticket booth. 

We suggest you get the online tickets to save time and effort. 

Online tickets help you save time from long queues at the ticket counter. 

Also, the online San Francisco Zoo ticket is cheaper than the one available at the counter.

Since some zoos sell limited tickets per day, advanced booking will help you avoid any last-minute disappointment. 

Some exclusive ticket options are available online, making it a practical and budget-friendly choice for your visit.

San Francisco Zoo entry ticket

San Francisco Zoo entry ticket helps you avoid the long ticket counter lines and enter the zoo with priority access. 

This ticket offers access to all parts of the zoo and all exhibits. 

Once you have secured this ticket, you can spend a day among animal exhibits, gardens and playgrounds. 

The admission ticket does not include tours, rides and animal encounters and experiences. 

If you wish to participate in the particular programs, you can purchase an upgrade at the zoo. 

Ticket Prices

The San Francisco Zoo ticket costs $29 for visitors between 12 to 64 years. 

Seniors aged 65 and above enjoy a discounted rate of $24, while children aged two to 11 can join the adventure for $20.

The child’s ticket must be purchased with an adult or senior ticket. 

San Francisco residents get special discounts.

Adults pay $26, seniors are priced at $20, and children’s tickets are just $19, but a valid ID is required for resident rates. 

Infants below one year can enter for free when accompanied by an adult, senior, or resident ticket holder. 

Adult ticket (12 to 64 years)$29
Child ticket (2 to 11 years)$20
Senior Citizen ticket (65+ years)$24
Infants (Below 2)Free
Adult ticket (12 to 64 years) – San Francisco Resident$26
Child ticket (2 to 11 years) – San Francisco Resident$19
Senior Citizen ticket (65+ years) – San Francisco Resident$20

San Francisco Zoo combo tickets

Combo tickets in San Francisco provide an all-encompassing experience for those looking to make the most of their visit. 

These convenient tickets offer more than just access to the chosen attractions; they ensure a diverse and exciting adventure tailored to various interests. 

Purchasing combo tickets online in advance is a smart way to save time and avoid any last-minute inconveniences.

San Francisco offers a selection of combo tickets that allow you to explore marine life and a wide range of attractions. 

For instance, the California Academy of Sciences + San Francisco Zoo combo ticket is an excellent choice for nature and science enthusiasts. 

History buffs can opt for the San Francisco Zoo + Legion of Honor combo.

People intrigued by innovation might enjoy the San Francisco Zoo + Exploratorium combo. 

The San Francisco Zoo + Walt Disney Family Museum combo provides an entertaining blend of wildlife and cultural history. 

With these combo tickets, you can choose an experience that perfectly aligns with your interests, ensuring an enjoyable visit.

Here are some of the best hand-picked combo tickets for the San Francisco Zoo:

CombinationTicket priceTicket Link
California Academy of Sciences + San Francisco Zoo$58Buy This Combo
San Francisco Zoo + Legion of Honor$41Buy This Combo
San Francisco Zoo + Exploratorium$58Buy This Combo
San Francisco Zoo + Walt Disney Family Museum$45Buy This Combo

San Francisco Zoo free tickets

Explore the marvelous attractions of San Francisco with the convenient San Francisco CityPASS

This pass offers a hassle-free way to experience four incredible attractions at your own pace while enjoying a substantial 46% discount. 

Delve into the world of science at the Exploratorium, immerse yourself in Disney’s rich history, and cruise the stunning San Francisco Bay with the Blue & Gold Fleet. 

You also have the flexibility to choose two more admissions from a selection of top-notch venues.

This includes the California Academy of Sciences, Aquarium of the Bay, SFMOMA, San Francisco Zoo & Gardens, and The Walt Disney Family Museum. 

The San Francisco CityPASS makes exploring the city’s finest attractions simpler and more cost-effective.

San Francisco Zoo opening hours

The San Francisco Zoo welcomes guests with gates opening at 10 am for reserved times. 

The Zoo’s daily operation concludes at 5 pm, with the last opportunity for entry at 4 pm.

Best Time to Visit the San Francisco Zoo

To make the most of your visit, consider arriving early when animals are active and the weather is cooler.

You can also come in the late afternoon as crowds start to thin. 

Weekdays, especially Tuesday through Friday, are less crowded than weekends, offering a more relaxed experience with shorter lines. 

The best months are typically from September to November and March to May when the weather is mild and the zoo is lush. 

Winter months can provide a peaceful visit with fewer visitors, while the summer season, though famous, offers a pleasant experience with comfortable temperatures. 

How Long Does it Take to Visit San Francisco Zoo

The time it takes to visit the San Francisco Zoo can vary depending on your interests and the pace you explore. 

On average, visitors spend around 3 to 4 hours exploring the zoo. 

This duration allows you to see many animal exhibits, enjoy a few daily animal talks and feedings, and ride on the Little Puffer steam train. 

If you’re traveling with children, you might spend more time exploring the Children’s Zoo or enjoying the playgrounds. 

However, you might want to allocate a whole day for a more relaxed visit and the opportunity to see all the exhibits. 

Keep in mind that the zoo’s opening hours can also impact the time you spend there.

How to reach the San Francisco Zoo

Located in the picturesque city of San Francisco, reaching the San Francisco Zoo is a breeze. 

There are several convenient ways to access this fantastic attraction for everyone. 

Here’s a simple guide to start your journey to the zoo.

By Public Transportation 

To enhance your visit to the San Francisco Zoo, using public transportation is eco-friendly and cost-effective. 

Those who opt for Muni (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) to reach the zoo receive a $1 discount on their admission ticket. 

Simply present your same-day Muni receipt, transfer, or monthly pass at the zoo’s ticket window. 

You can take the Muni L Taraval line outbound to the Zoo in San Francisco. 

The Muni bus lines 23 and 18 also conveniently stop at the zoo. 

You can use the SFMTA Trip Planner on their website to plan your route.

By Taxi

For those using taxis or rideshare services, the designated pick-up and drop-off location is off Sloat Boulevard at 47th Avenue. 

Please note that there are no drop-offs or pick-ups within the paid parking lot of the zoo.

By Car

Getting to the San Francisco Zoo by car is convenient and straightforward, thanks to its accessible location in San Francisco. 

Whether you’re arriving from the East Bay, North Bay, or South Bay, the zoo is easily reachable by road. 

For added convenience, the zoo provides ample parking options, including the spacious paid parking lot. 

Driving From the East Bay:

  • Take the Bay Bridge into San Francisco.
  • Once across the Bay Bridge, follow the signs for 101 South.
  • Continue along 101 South until you reach the 280 interchange.
  • Take the 280 South towards the Westlake District and exit at John Daly Boulevard.
  • Make a right turn onto John Daly Boulevard and keep driving until you reach Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35).
  • Turn right onto Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35).
  • Make a left turn onto the Great Highway at the junction of Skyline and the Great Highway.
  • Get into the right lane and turn right into the Zoo Entrance on the Great Highway.

Driving From the North Bay:

  • Take the iconic Golden Gate Bridge (Highway 101) if you’re coming from the North Bay.
  • After passing through the toll plaza, merge into the far-right lane to take the exit for 19th Avenue – Golden Gate Park.
  • You’ll then enter the Presidio Parkway.
  • Take a right onto Fulton Avenue.
  • Drive down Fulton Avenue until you reach the ocean, and turn left onto the Great Highway.
  • Continue south along the Great Highway. (Please be aware that the Great Highway is closed to vehicle traffic on weekends beginning on Friday at noon through Saturday and Sunday, as well as on holidays).
  • Make a left onto Sloat Boulevard.
  • Get in the right-hand lane and turn right into the Zoo Entrance on Sloat Boulevard.

Driving From the South Bay:

  • Travelers from the South Bay should take 280 North to the Westlake District exit in Daly City. Continue heading north, which takes you along Junipero Serra Boulevard, until you reach John Daly Boulevard.
  • Turn left onto John Daly Boulevard and continue until you arrive at Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35).
  • Make a right turn onto Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35).
  • Turn left onto the Great Highway at the Skyline/Great Highway junction.
  • Get into the right lane and turn right into the Zoo Entrance on the Great Highway.

Parking at San Francisco Zoo

San Francisco Zoo offers convenient parking options to enhance your visit. 

The parking lot has two entrances catering to visitors from various directions. 

One entrance, located off the Great Highway, is perfect for those from the East Bay and South Bay. 

The other entrance off Sloat Boulevard at 47th Avenue is suitable for visitors from the North Bay. 

Please note that only one exit from the parking lot leads everyone northbound on the Great Highway.

To streamline your parking experience, purchasing a parking voucher on-site on the day of your visit is advisable. 

San Francisco Zoo offers multiple payment methods for parking, making it easy for visitors. 

You can pay at the ticket office windows when you arrive or depart at the Little Puffer Train station between 11 am and 4.30 pm.

You can even utilize the convenient QR code payment system by scanning the posters throughout the Zoo. 

You can pay online and retrieve an exit pass at the Gatehouse as you depart.

Please remember that paid parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s a good idea to arrive early to secure your spot. 

Free parking is available on the street along Sloat Boulevard for those seeking an alternative.

Animals in San Francisco Zoo

The San Francisco Zoo is home to over 1000 animals representing more than 250 species from around the world. 

From majestic lions and tigers to playful penguins and pandas, the zoo showcases a diverse collection of wildlife.

Here is a brief on the highlights of the SF Zoo.

Gorilla Preserve

One of the most popular exhibits is the Gorilla Preserve, where visitors can see western lowland gorillas. 

The zoo has several gorilla families, including the troop led by silverback male OJ. 

Watching these intelligent primates interact and care for their young provides a fascinating glimpse into their social structure. 

The gorillas have access to a stimulating habitat with climbing structures, nesting areas, and plentiful vegetation.

Lion House

At Lion House, guests can get up close to African lions. 

Lounging in the sun or roaring for attention, these big cats are a highlight. 

Lion House also features a troop of energetic chimpanzees. 

Their agility and curiosity tend to captivate audiences. 

Chimps share 98% of their DNA with humans, and their intelligent eyes seem to connect with visitors.

Wild West Zone

The zoo’s Wild West zone transports guests to the American frontier. 

At Grizzly Gulch, they can watch North American brown bears forage for food and play. 

Next door is the bald eagle habitat, where these majestic birds of prey soar overhead. 

Prairie dogs scurry through their underground burrows, popping up to see what’s happening above ground. 

Children will enjoy seeing American buffalo, known as bison, roam their expansive habitat.

Koala Crossing

At Koala Crossing, visitors learn about Australia’s unique wildlife. 

Here, you can see koalas perched in trees and watch wallabies bouncing around. Colorful birds like kookaburras, cockatoos, and lorikeets flit through the exhibit. 

Guests can even hand-feed nectar to lorikeets and have the colorful parrots land on their hands to sip the sweet liquid.

Australian Zone

The zoo’s Australian zone also houses other Down Under natives. 

Saltwater crocodiles float ominously in their pools while laughing kookaburras fill the air with their distinctive calls. 

Red kangaroos and wallabies can also be found here.

Penguin Island

Penguin Island provides an up-close view of African penguins and Rocky Coast allows guests to observe South American Humboldt penguins. 

These tuxedo-clad birds spend much of their time preening and socializing in groups called rafts. 

Watching them waddle on land and “fly” through the water is entertaining. 

Underwater viewing areas provide glimpses of them swimming swiftly like torpedoes.

Polar Bear Habitat

At Polar Bear Habitat, visitors can watch bears plunge into the swimming pool or survey their domain atop a rocky perch. 

Below the pool, an underwater viewing window lets people observe the bears as they drift through the water like massive white sharks.


The San Francisco Zoo’s aviary contains over a hundred species from around the world. 

You can stroll through outdoor habitats modeled after different countries, with birds flying freely overhead. 

Colorful macaws, lively songbirds, and towering cassowaries are some species in the walk-through aviary.

Children’s Zoo

At the Children’s Zoo and Family Farm, kids can interact with domesticated animals. 

They can brush a goat, feed a cow, or pet a gentle sheep in the petting zoo. 

Barnyard animals like pigs, donkeys, and chickens go about their day in view of guests.

Indoors, children can hold small animals like chinchillas and ferrets in their hands and learn about the creatures’ natural histories.

Things to do in San Francisco Zoo

The San Francisco Zoo is filled with exciting daily experiences that bring visitors closer to the animals and provide a deeper understanding of their lives. 

Each morning at 10.30 am, don’t miss the bear-y interesting breakfast time with Kachina and Kiona, the two grizzly bear sisters, as they enjoy their meal. 

At the same time, you learn about grizzly bears and their significance in California’s ecosystem.

In the afternoon, at 3.45 pm, head to the Giraffe Lodge for an up-close encounter with these magnificent creatures. 

You might even get the chance to feed them yourself!

Venture to Wolf Canyon and meet the rare Mexican Gray Wolves, each named after a famous musician. 

The enclosure offers a unique 270-degree view of their habitat. 

Next, step into the South American Tropical Rainforest and aviary, where essential barriers are kept to a minimum, allowing you to get up close to toucans, macaws, sloths, and even an anaconda.

For a deeper exploration, consider the guided experiences ranging from 60 to 90 minutes, providing access to unique exhibits not covered by regular admission. 

Visit the Koret Animal Resource Center (ARC) to witness how animals are cared for and learn about conservation efforts.

Remember to visit Penguin Island, where Magellanic penguins gracefully glide through the water at up to 15 miles per hour. 

Witness daily feedings and discover why these penguins thrive in San Francisco’s climate. 

Your little ones can interact with goats, sheep, and other animals in the Family Farm.

Explore the Jones Family Gorilla Preserve, one of the country’s largest western lowland gorilla habitats, offering insights into these gentle giants’ lives. 

Stroll through the Lemur Forest, the largest outdoor lemur habitat in the U.S., where lemurs leap between large trees.

Special seasonal exhibits add more excitement. 

The Nature Trail, open year-round, transforms into an interactive wildlife experience during the summer.

Don’t miss the Zoo Lights event during the holidays, featuring stunning light installations. 

In October, join the fun for ZootoberFest and Boo at the Zoo, making every visit a unique and memorable adventure at the San Francisco Zoo.

FAQs on San Francisco Zoo

1. What are the San Francisco Zoo’s operating hours?

The San Francisco Zoo is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, with the last entry at 4 pm. The zoo is closed on Christmas Day.

2. What are the admission prices for the San Francisco Zoo?

The San Francisco Zoo ticket costs $29 for visitors over 12 years of age. 

Children between the ages of two and 11 years pay $20 for admission, while senior citizens over 65 years pay $24. 

San Francisco residents with valid IDs receive a discount and children under two years old get in for free.

3. What special experiences can visitors enjoy at the San Francisco Zoo?

Visitors can enjoy special experiences at the San Francisco Zoo, including grizzly bear feeding, giraffe encounters, penguin feedings, and more, providing an opportunity to get up close with the animals.

4. Is parking available at the San Francisco Zoo, and what are the rates?

Yes, parking is available at the San Francisco Zoo. 

Parking rates can be found at the ticket office, the Little Puffer Train station, or through online payment using QR codes. 

Street parking along Sloat Boulevard is free.

5. Can visitors bring their food and drinks to the San Francisco Zoo?

Outside food and drinks are allowed in designated picnic areas at the San Francisco Zoo. 

The zoo also has dining options like the Terrace Café, Elinor Friend Playground Café, and more.

6. Does the San Francisco Zoo offer educational programs for children?

Yes, the San Francisco Zoo offers guided tours, animal talks, and educational programs suitable for children, enhancing their learning experience.

7. What is the best time to visit the San Francisco Zoo?

The morning or early afternoon is the best time to visit the San Francisco Zoo for optimal animal viewing. 

Visit during mild weather months for a comfortable experience.

8. Does the San Francisco Zoo have any special seasonal events?

Yes, the San Francisco Zoo hosts various seasonal events, including Zoo Lights during the holidays and ZootoberFest in October, offering unique experiences.

9. How can visitors reach the San Francisco Zoo?

The San Francisco Zoo can be reached by car via several routes, and Muni public transportation provides access with discounts for Muni riders.

10. Does the San Francisco Zoo offer membership programs?

Yes, the San Francisco Zoo offers membership programs with benefits like unlimited zoo access, discounts, and exclusive events for members.

Featured Image: Sfzoo.org

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