San Diego Zoo Discount: 7 Ways to Save Up to 16% Off

A lush, urban oasis located just two hours from Los Angeles, the San Diego Zoo is a ‘can’t miss attraction’ for kids and adults alike. Spend days on end exploring their 100 acres of botanic gardens and over 650 species of exotic animals.

Keep your zoo budget in check and save money like a pro with our Ultimate Guide to San Diego Zoo Discount tickets.

Bask in the wonders of wildlife as you encounter everything from polar bears to primates at this world-renowned urban park. Visitors of all ages will be enchanted by the popular animal attractions, hands-on interactive experiences, and thrilling live presentations.

Whether chilling with the cuddly San Diego Zoo Koalas in the delightful Koalafornia Adventure or hopping aboard the Kangaroo Express, there is no denying the delight in a visit to the Zoo.

Sniff out the best San Diego Zoo deals, secure the cheapest San Diego Zoo tickets, or wrangle a magnificent membership card. 

From coupons to promo codes and everything in between, we have all the details on how to plan your Zoo adventure like a pro. And, for the inside track to learn all you need to know about this incredible attraction, read our Insider Guide to San Diego Zoo.

San Diego Zoo Discount Tickets

The number one way to save when planning your San Diego Zoo experience? Pre-purchasing your tickets! You’ll receive the most up-to-date discounted tickets when you purchase ahead of time. Forgo the stress and headache of waiting in lines and buying your tickets at the gate when you can book your discount San Diego Zoo tickets this very instant. 

Choose from the following sizzling day pass options:

1-Day Pass – Any Day

2-Visit Pass

Pro Tip: searching high and low for the best San Diego Zoo Ticket discounts? Did you know you can save up to $10 per ticket by upgrading your San Diego 1 Day Pass to a 2 Day/2 Park Pass?

Please note that any day pass includes access to the following attractions: 

  • Guided Bus Tour
  • Kangaroo Express Bus
  • Skyfari Aerial Tram
  • And all shows and exhibits

close up of panda eating bamboo at the San Diego Zoo near San Diego, California, USASan Diego Zoo Memberships

Are you pondering over the perks of becoming a San Diego Zoo regular? If you can’t get enough giraffes, jaguars, and gorillas, why not spring for a San Diego Zoo membership? You can apply your 1 or 2 Day Pass towards the price of an annual membership by visiting any ticket window during your initial zoo visit date.

Related Post: Upcoming Events and Festivals at San Diego Zoo

Whether you’re lucky enough to call the City in Motion home or are looking to build a lifelong passion for mother nature, there’s a jungle’s worth of memberships to consider:

San Diego Zoo Resident Memberships

Spice up your surf and sun routine with year-round visits to San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Rejoice in reptiles, amphibians, and mammals from June to January when you spring for a San Diego Resident* or San Diego Resident Premium Membership. Your San Diego Premium Membership affords unlimited admission to both the Zoo and Safari Park sans blackout dates. 

In addition, both Resident Memberships provide:

  • Guided Bus Tour and Kangaroo Bus access
  • Rides on the Skyfari Aerial and Africa Trams
  • Two 50% off admission coupons
  • And a 5% Wild Perks℠ discount on Zoo food and merchandise 

To see if you are eligible for the many SoCal celebrations and safari fun, enter your zip code here. To enjoy the perks of this membership, your entered zip code must match your billing zip code.

Related Post: How To Spend The Day at the San Diego Zoo

*Please note that the San Diego Resident Membership excludes admission on weekends and holidays. For a complete list of blackout dates, click here

close up of cheetah in tall grass at Bush Gardens Tampa
photo credit: jean wimmerlin via Unsplash

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Explorer Pass

Need an attraction pass for the pint-sized animal lover in your life? Encourage your favorite youth to pursue their passion for the natural world when you bless them with a San Diego Zoo Wildlife Explorer Pass.

This unique membership bestows children ages 3-17 with unlimited year-round entry to the Zoo and Safari Park. Intrepid naturalists can even take in the Zoo’s botanical beauty from above with unfettered access to the Aerial and Africa Trams. 

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Protector

Adults can appreciate the timeless joys of the Zoo too! The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Protector Pass scores tons of VIP-worthy perks, discounts, and coupons. Linger over lemurs or coo over cuddly Grizzly Bears all year long. 

Related Post: 6 San Diego Zoo Safari Park Tips That Will Make Your Visit Even Better

In addition to unlimited admission, excluding blackout dates take advantage of:

  • Guided Bus Tour and Kangaroo Bus access
  • Two 50% off admission coupons
  • A SDZWA Journal subscription
  • One Complimentary Guest Pass
  • Complimentary general parking
  • Use of a special donor entrance
  • And a Wild Perks℠ 10% discount on food, merchandise, and more during each visit.

Want to fill your weekends up with wildlife and awe-inspiring botanical gardens? Spring for the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Protector Premium pass and experience the same Wildlife Protector benefits with zero blackout dates!

Baby Hippo on moms back at The San Diego Zoo - San Diego, California, USASan Diego Zoo Ticket Packages

The San Diego Zoo may be the crowning jewel of ‘America’s Finest City.’ Still, there is an abundance of unique attractions and history to engage in outside the confines of Balboa Park. From adrenaline-pumping theme parks to the military marvel of the USS Midway, this SoCal oasis is stocked full of awesome activities. 

Stretch every last dollar of your San Diego Zoo trip by bundling your San Diego Zoo tickets with the following popular activities or booking a San Diego Vacation Package

SeaWorld and San Diego Zoo Vacation Package – SAVE as much as 9%**

Legoland California and San Diego Zoo Vacation Package – SAVE as much as 11%

San Diego Zoo Vacation Package – SAVE as much as 14%

**travelers have saved up to this and more depending upon their travel dates.


Beautiful weather, beautiful beaches – San Diego is just simply too stunning for a single-day jaunt. Squeeze the most pleasure out of your Southern Californian sojourn by staying overnight.

With a veritable cornucopia of options for hotels by the San Diego Zoo, you can choose lodgings that perfectly complement your travel style. 

Related Post: Which is Better: SeaWorld vs. San Diego Zoo

From beachy seaside resorts in La Jolla to trendy downtown San Diego Gaslamp Quarter Hotels, there are accommodations for every budget and desire.

exterior of Kimpton Solamar Hotel at night with view of street in San Diego, California, USA
photo credit: Solamar San Diego via Facebook

Discounts for San Diego Zoo

A leader in both animal care and conservation, the San Diego Zoo takes its commitment to education seriously. 

They employ several incredible specials, promotions, deals, and discounts to make the Zoo’s facilities and attractions available to a wide range of guests.

Related Post: 15 Absolutely Free Things to Do in San Diego

Kids Free

Every October, in honor of the Zoo’s founding, kids ages 11 and under are allowed free entry into the Zoo while accompanied by a paying adult. This month-long event is a great way to expose young children to the magic and festive nature of the Zoo during fall. 

Pro Tip: If you were wondering, children ages two and under are always admitted for free.

Still unsure what to do with the kids after the zoo and beach? Check out our 11 Fun & Free Things to Do in San Diego with Kids.

San Diego Zoo Military Discount

Those who protect our freedoms deserve the very best, and the San Diego Zoo is honored to provide the following discounts and promotions to our military members:

  • Active Duty Military – Complimentary admission
  • Military Spouses & Eligible Immediate Dependents – 10% off admission

family of three holding food for giraffe standing outside and smiling at San Diego Zoo Safari Park in San Diego, California, USASan Diego Group Discount

The more, the merrier! If you are planning a large group event, be sure to utilize the San Diego Zoo’s generous group discounts:

  • Groups of 15 or more – 10% off admission
  • Groups of 100 or more – 15% off admission

Related Post: Pet-Friendly San Diego: Hotels, Restaurants, and Beaches

Got to feed a hungry crowd? Along with group discounts, the Zoo is pleased to provide Meal Vouchers for larger parties. More convenient than cash and cheaper than ordering a la carte, these vouchers can be redeemed at participating restaurants for an entree combo or child’s plate and a non-alcoholic drink.  Did you know that Southern California cuisine is legendary with some of the top chefs in the nation? Check out the hottest San Diego dining options in our 16 Best San Diego Restaurants

Pro Tip: For large parties, advanced group reservations are strongly encouraged.

Seniors & Students

Love of animals and their habitats knows no age limits! Both senior citizens and students of the San Diego area and beyond should feel free to take advantage of the Zoo discounts offered:

  • Students & Seniors who reside in San Diego County – 10% discount off the current price of a San Diego Resident, Resident Premium, Wildlife Protector, and Wildlife Protector Premium memberships
  • Students & Seniors who reside outside of San Diego County – 10% discount off the current Wildlife Protector and Wildlife Protector Premium memberships.
Zoo keeper holding a wide eyed brown lemur at the San Diego Zoo in San Diego, California
photo credit: San Diego Zoo via Facebook

Disneyland® Theme Resorts is another option for both teens, seniors and tots. Tripster has great savings on Mickey tickets here.

San Diego Zoo AAA

Been dying to put that AAA membership to work? AAA members can receive a 10% discount by showing their valid cards. (applicable up to 6 guests) on a one-day pass. 

Wondering about other wildlife AAA discount codes? Check-in with your local AAA branch for even more dynamite deals, including up to 20% off the San Diego Zoo or Safari Park.

Related Post:  The Ultimate Balboa Park Guide: Everything You Need to Know

San Diego Zoo Promo Codes

While you can always save a buck or two by combing the internet for promo codes, we recommend staying on top of the Zoo’s social media and event schedule. Many of the Zoo’s annual festivals, events, and parties include free or discounted admission for children.*

*With the purchase of an adult ticket.

Travel Agent Discount

Lucky enough to work in travel? Travel agents, wholesalers, and tour operators can receive a 10% discount (applicable to one other guest) on their one-day Pass by submitting their valid IATA or IATAN card with a picture ID.

Close up photo of four Fossas laying on a rock at the San Diego Zoo in San Diego, California, USA
photo credit: San Diego Zoo via Facebook

Ways to Save

From botanical tours to 4-D theatrical extravaganzas to exotic animal encounters, there is never a dull moment at the San Diego Zoo. 

As you meander through the park and encounter animals from (almost) every continent, be sure to take part in the wealth of free activities included with your zoo admission:

  • All public exhibits – we love the polar bears and the penguins
  • Guided bus tour
  • Kangaroo Express bus
  • Skyfari Aerial Tram
  • All regularly scheduled shows 
  • Keeper talks – try the rhino or the polar bears


No need to shell out big bucks for expensive parking rates. The San Diego Zoo is happy to provide free parking to all Zoo guests and patrons.

Related Post: 12 Best Tide Pools in San Diego


Worried your little minion won’t be able to manage a full day of walking in the Zoo? Skip the Zoo’s stroller rental fee by bringing your own from home. 

Food & Drink

A foolproof way to cut down on your Zoo expenses is to come prepared with your own food and drinks. 

Pro Tip: Eat picnic-style at one of the Zoo’s many outdoor dining spaces.

Another way to shrink your dining bill is by saving your Zoo splurging for one of the lower-cost restaurant options such as the San Diego Sandwich Co. or Front St. Cafe

Related Post: 16 Best San Diego Zoo Restaurants

Or try saving that vacation spending for a tasty treat that you can’t bring in, such as soft-serve ice cream or a warm churro from Hua Mei Cones.

Close up of a family looking at a Polar Bear on a Inside Look Tour at San Diego Zoo in San Diego, California, USA
photo credit: San Diego Zoo

The App

Navigate the Zoo with precision and ease! The San Diego Zoo’s official app is a handy way to access their GPS-enabled map, learn fun animal facts, and plan your unique zoo day itinerary. 

A true botanist and animal lover’s paradise, the San Diego Zoo presents a staggering snapshot of biodiversity. This conservation institution is home to more than 3,700 rare and endangered species from distinct bioclimatic zones. Enjoy wildlife encounters with the mighty rhino or a delightful spin on the miniature Balboa Park Railroad.

Exploring can work up an appetite which is why you should enjoy a four-course feast at the Pirates Dinner Adventure. The show, filled with special effects, swordplay and aerial artistry, is hailed the “World’s Most Interactive Dinner Show.”

However you choose to spend your time with your San Diego Zoo Tickets, we can guarantee you’ll enjoy the best savings, discounts, and deals thanks to our Ultimate Guide.

Do You Have Any Tips for Scoring Discount San Diego Zoo Tickets?

Leave us a comment below!

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Written by Isis Maya Nissman

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central...

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