Have you been weighing up San Diego vs. LA Zoo? Can’t decide which spot to visit? Keep reading for everything you need to know!

If you’re planning to visit an incredible zoo on your next trip to the States, then you might be looking for information on San Diego Zoo vs. LA Zoo.

Sound familiar? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

In this comparison of San Diego Zoo vs. LA Zoo, we’ll cover why you should visit each zoo, things you should consider before choosing, and which one is better.

Although this guide on San Diego Zoo vs. LA Zoo should help you decide which one to visit, it’s worth noting that both zoos are excellent.

So, if you pick one or the other for budget or location reasons, you still won’t be disappointed!

Now let’s get going and start weighing up San Diego Zoo vs. LA Zoo!

Why Should You Visit the San Diego Zoo?

When you’re assessing San Diego Zoo vs. LA Zoo, you might be wondering what makes San Diego Zoo special.

Well, there’s a lot to love about San Diego Zoo.

Reason 1: The Extras

Part of what makes this spot slightly superior in the San Diego Zoo vs. LA Zoo playoffs is down to the “extras”.

Not only will you get to experience the aerial tramway at San Diego Zoo, but there are guided bus tours, exciting exhibits, and conservation efforts that mean you can see endangered species.

The bus tour takes around 35 minutes and takes you on an excellent once-over of the entire park. 

You won’t be able to get up close and personal with the exhibits, but it’s a great way to get an overview of the attractions that you might want to visit afterward.

Reason 2: More animals

And that’s not all – in the great San Diego Zoo vs. LA Zoo debate, we’d say that there are simply more animals here to see.

You’ll find gorillas at the Gorilla Forest, polar bears at the Northern Frontier (which are incredible!), and adorable koalas in The Outback.

There’s genuinely so much to see, and you can easily spend an entire day exploring San Diego Zoo without getting bored.

Before leaving, you’ll want to stop by the Urban Jungle and Scripps Avery. 

The former is home to the incredible giraffes, and the latter is where you’ll find an incredible 35 species of African birds!

Finally, you’ll find the San Diego Safari at San Diego Zoo, which you simply won’t see in LA (which has a linked botanical garden instead).

Reason 3: Kid-friendly activities

If the extras weren’t enough to convince you to visit San Diego Zoo, it’s truly excellent for kids too.

The Wildlife Explorers Basecamp is a huge draw at San Diego Zoo, and it’s a mishmash of animal exhibits and playground equipment.

You’ll find insects in the Spineless Marvels section and reptiles and amphibians at Jake’s Cool Critters.

Whatever you choose to do at San Diego Zoo, you’re bound to agree it’s a tough spot to beat when you’re engaging in the San Diego Zoo vs. LA Zoo debate!

Why Should You Visit LA Zoo?

If you want to see some of the world’s most impressive creatures, then the LA Zoo has got your back.

It may not be quite as celebrated as the San Diego Zoo, but it’s still home to over 1,100 mammals, reptiles, and birds (including endangered species!).

Reason 1: Botanical garden

We’d say that the main thing that sets it apart from San Diego Zoo is the botanical garden area.

It boasts an incredible landscape of lanterns, blooms, and towering trees that are shaped like animals!

We’d say that it’s a huge win for the LA Zoo in the San Diego vs. LA Zoo debate, so don’t count it out just yet.

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Reason 2: Different specialist areas

A few other things that make the LA Zoo worth visiting are the Campo Gorilla Reserve and the Red Ape Rainforest.

Both of these attractions are unique, and the surrounding plant life makes for incredible photos if you’re visiting for the first time.

Reason 3: Price

We also love that the LA Zoo is considerably cheaper than the San Diego Zoo. The tickets are currently $22 for adults vs. the San Diego Zoo’s $67 for a single admission.

This means that the San Diego Zoo is almost three times more expensive!

Something to keep in mind if you’re trying to visit the zoo on a budget.

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San Diego Zoo vs. LA Zoo: Other things to consider

If you’re weighing up San Diego Zoo vs. LA Zoo, there are a few other things you’ll want to consider.

Although LA Zoo is technically larger on the size front (56 hectares vs. the San Diego Zoo at 40 hectares), there’s so much more to do at the San Diego Zoo.

The space is utilized extremely well, and you can even stay overnight in a glamping tent if you fancy extending your trip.

But that’s not all.

The San Diego Zoo tends to be kept slightly cooler than the LA Zoo as it’s helped significantly by the ocean breeze.

The LA Zoo won’t make you overheat by any means, but a lot of the public walkways are made from asphalt which will increase the temperate of the zoo quite considerably.

There’s also the consideration of funding

The LA Zoo doesn’t tend to be advertised as heavily as it’s government-run and simply can’t put tons of money into advertising campaigns and rejuvenation.

On the other hand, San Diego Zoo puts a shedload of cash into advertising each year, which means it generally has an excellent reputation and has become one of the best-known tourist attractions in the city.

But that does mean that San Diego Zoo is far more expensive than the LA Zoo.

So, if cost is a major factor when you’re weighing up San Diego Zoo vs. LA Zoo, the LA Zoo is far more budget-friendly.

Not only are the one-visit tickets far cheaper, but the LA Zoo is conveniently located inside Griffith Park which gives you more bang for your buck (The Griffith Conservatory anyone?).

You can also purchase quite a nifty membership for the LA Zoo which might be useful for families who want to make return visits.

However, if cost isn’t a factor when considering San Diego Zoo vs. LA Zoo, we’d say that the San Diego Zoo won out!

San Diego Zoo vs. LA Zoo: Which is Better?

In the contest of San Diego Zoo vs. LA Zoo, San Diego Zoo wins – hands down!

Although the LA Zoo is still worth visiting, San Diego Zoo is far larger, offers more attractions, and draws in visitors from around the country.

Seriously, if you’re trying to weigh up San Diego Zoo vs. LA Zoo, you just need to look at local reviews and forums like Reddit to know which one you want to visit.

LA Zoo certainly isn’t a bad zoo – in fact, it’s fantastic!

But there’s something about the size, the endangered breeding programs, and the conservation programs at San Diego Zoo that put it over the edge.

And really, you want to see pandas, tree kangaroos, and clouded leopards, right?

When you’re weighing up San Diego Zoo vs. LA Zoo, the most important things you need to consider are cost, location, and activities.

Sure, San Diego Zoo is fantastic. But if you’re visiting LA, it doesn’t make much sense to trek down to San Diego to visit the Zoo (and vice versa!).

Conversely, if you’re heading to the zoo to see rare animals or have a particular interest in conservation, then San Diego Zoo should always be your first choice.

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It’s very much different strokes for different folks, but San Diego Zoo is generally better maintained and has far more activities on offer!

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