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The San Diego Zoo is located in Balboa Park in California and is said to have on display more than 4,000 animals and more than 800 different species. The San Diego Zoo is a top place to see while touring California. It consists of 100 acres of property that the zoo rents from the city of San Diego.

How Did the San Diego Zoo Get Its Start?

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In 1915, the exotic animal exhibitions that were part of the Panama and California Exposition were abandoned, so these are part of how the San Diego Zoo began. In addition, Dr. Harry M. Wegeforth, founder of the San Diego Zoological Society, was one of the persons who helped it to get started.

In August 1925 land was put aside for the zoo in Balboa Park and the zoo began to start coming together.  Ellen Browning Scripps helped to pay for a fence around the property and the zoo started charging a fee to get in so it could recoup its costs.

However, in 1932 the zoo was behind in its property taxes and almost lost its animals to an auction. But no one bid on them, so the ownership of the San Diego Zoo was then made the property of the city of San Diego.

What is the San Diego Zoo Famous For?

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The San Diego Zoo, which is one of the top places to see US, is known for being one of the zoos that created animal exhibits that did not use cages, but instead had exhibits with giant moats around them. It’s first one opened up in 1922 and was a display featuring lions.

The San Diego Zoo is also one of the first zoos to help in trying to preserve endangered animals. They created a Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species in 1975 for this purpose.

What Does the San Diego Zoo Offer Visitors?

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Visitors to the San Diego Zoo can take a guided tour on a bus to view the sites, or they can ride a special gondola style lift that will show them the zoo from the sky. The animals’ exhibits are arranged by the kind of environment they live inside of in the wild and it features various displays of both animals and native plants that are actually found together in the real world of these animals.

These exhibits are very creative, and have things such as a rain forest, free flight aviaries for birds, as well as water pools or open area moat style homes for other kinds of animals. In fact, one of the only fully enclosed areas is the house of reptiles building.

The San Diego Zoo has large collections of exotic plants too, for example, they grow 40 kinds of bamboo to help feed their pandas and 18 kinds of eucalyptus trees to provide food for their koalas.

The San Diego Zoo has a safari park that allows the animals to be in a more open and larger area, and these animals are exchanged out from time to time, as well as the zoo sharing animals with other zoos as part of its program of breeding to help save endangered animals and to preserve certain species. For example, they have been successful in breeding pandas, with several young ones surviving to become adults.

One of the San Diego Zoo’s biggest attractions is the Monkey Trails, which has lots of kinds of monkeys from the countries of Africa and Asia. Some of these species include mandrills, guenons, and mangabeys.

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Some of its other popular animals include crocodiles, fish, turtles and some exotic insects like the Madagascar hissing roaches. The San Diego Zoo also has displays of arctic fox, raccoons, reindeer, and more than 30 other kinds of animals you might see living in the arctic region of the world.

The Zoo’s bird displays feature more than 200 kinds of birds such as kingfishers, woodpeckers, argus, mynahs, lories and much more tropical varieties as well. There are also non-tropical birds like tinkers, weavers and starlings.

Other birds at the zoo include diving ducks, long tailed ducks, buffleheads, and harlequin ducks. These are some of the 25 kinds of ducks you can see at the San Diego Zoo. In other displays, visitors can also see otters, river hogs, buffalo, and other animals happily living in displays together. This mixing of animals makes it look more natural instead of just shoving each species in a single cage.

Some of the Zoos big animals include elephants, horses, camels, llamas, big cats like tigers and lions, and many more species. Plus, there is a special display for apes such as mountain gorillas.

So, as you can see there are lots to see at the San Diego Zoo. It is open from 9 am to between 5 and 8 pm, depending on the time of the year. It costs $32 for kids 3-11and $42 for adults and kids over 12 at the time of this writing and there are discounts for groups and other types of people.