San Francisco Zoo

The San Francisco Zoo covers 100 acres of beautiful land on the southwest side of the city. On one side of the zoo is the Pacific Ocean, and on the other side is Lake Merced. Out of the 100 acres that the zoo in San Francisco covers, six are dedicated to an excellent children's zoo. There is also a small zoo for insects on the grounds for those who want to get an up close look at some strange, yet fascinating creatures. All of the animals at the San Francisco Zoo are interesting, and there are more than 900 of them to see. From the tiger salamanders to the actual tigers, visitors can truly get a comprehensive look at the animal kingdom while visiting this urban oasis.

SF Zoo California
SF Zoo California

The San Francisco Zoo was founded in 1929, and it started things off by acquiring animals that previously called Golden Gate Park home. No zoo in northern California is larger or older than the zoo in San Francisco, and visitors have been coming for years to enjoy the comprehensive exhibits. Today, the exhibits are more complete than ever, and they can satisfy hours on end with ease. Once visitors get their San Francisco Zoo tickets and enter the park, they can pause for a while to admire the pink flamingos. Rare is the visitor who isn't impressed by the colorful flamingos. Like the flamingos, the zoo's penguins are also quite popular. These penguins, which originally hail from Chile, Argentina, and the Falkland Islands, now have access to their own island at the zoo in San Francisco, and they also enjoy a temperate, marine climate that reflects their original climate.

After viewing the penguins at the San Francisco Zoo, visitors might head over to the Lion House, which is close by. Lions aren't the only big cats that call the zoo home. Tigers and snow leopards are also on display, and they are every bit as beautiful as the majestic lions. Unfortunately, a fatal attack occurred at the zoo when one of the tigers escaped its grotto. This incident, which happened in 2007, understandably gave the zoo in San Francisco a bad reputation. Attacks like these are extremely rare, however, and visitors should know that the zoo has gone to great lengths to avoid future incidents.

The list of animals at the San Francisco Zoo is a long one, and some of the other creatures that visitors can admire on a visit include polar bears, gorillas, kangaroos, monkeys, giraffes, and warthogs. Over at the Insect Zoo, visitors can check out some of the zoo's creepier creatures. These include not-so-tiny tarantulas, buzzing bees, and stinging scorpions. A stop at the Insect Zoo can involve more than just looking at the insects with the naked eye. Visitors can also examine various specimens under a microscope.

Families who are enjoying San Francisco vacations are especially encouraged to visit the zoo, as the onsite Children's Zoo is known for its quality. The Children's Zoo gives youngsters a chance to pet some friendly animals. The San Francisco Zoo tickets are reasonably priced, and kids get discounted rates. This is one more reason why the zoo is a good family attraction. City residents also have access to discounted San Francisco Zoo tickets, as do senior citizens.

The San Francisco Zoo might not get as much attention as the zoo down in San Diego, but it is still one of California's best. For those who are interested in adding a trip to the zoo to their San Francisco itinerary, it is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the winter months. The rest of the year, the zoo stays open one hour longer. Since the zoo in San Francisco is relatively large, visitors might consider renting an electric scooter upon arrival. Wheelchairs and special strollers are also available for rent, though visitors should know that all of these rentals are first come, first serve. Other activities that can be enjoyed for an added fee include a ride on the historic Carousel and a trip on the Little Puffer miniature train.

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