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A Visitor’s Guide to Parking at the San Diego Zoo

Before visiting any of the major attractions in San Diego during your vacation, it is helpful to know what to expect in terms of parking. Most San Diego attractions have plenty of parking, but charge a fee. Knowing how to get to the attraction, where to park, and how much parking is going to cost are key elements that may alter your vacation agenda. If you’re planning on taking your family to the San Diego Zoo, browse over the following parking information to help better plan your visit.

Getting to the San Diego Zoo Parking Lot & Traffic Tips

The San Diego Zoo’s parking lot is situated in front of the zoo’s entrance and is located on Zoo Place. Getting to the zoo and the parking lot is easy. The best way is to take the 163 freeway, and take the Park Boulevard exit. You’ll turn left on Park Boulevard followed by a left on Zoo Place. Along the way you’ll be able to get a glimpse of a few of the museums at Balboa Park.

As the San Diego Zoo is located in Balboa Park, Park Boulevard may get congested when major events, such as marathons and walks, go through Balboa Park. If this is the case, you can take alternate routes to the San Diego Zoo. If you’re traveling northbound on the 163, you’ll take the Richmond Street exit, then turn right on Upas Street followed by another right on Zoo Drive. Zoo visitors traveling south on the 163 need to take the Washington Street East exit, followed by a right on University Avenue, then take another right on Park Boulevard and a third right on Zoo Drive.

Parking Prices and General Lot Information

The San Diego Zoo is one a few major attractions that doesn’t charge for parking, though that may change in the future. Since parking is free, it can be hard to find a spot in the zoo’s lot during busy times such as weekends, holidays, and during the summer. In fact, it has been noted that of the 365 days of the year, the zoo’s 2,500 space lot gets completely full 100 of those days! To ensure you snag a spot, consider getting to the San Diego Zoo early, shortly after the park opens at 9am. In some cases, zoo visitors that arrive to the park in the morning may be ready to leave around 1 or 2pm. During this time you may be able to find parking if your family members aren’t morning people.

*Visitors planning a trip to visit the San Diego Zoo’s sister San Diego Safari Park in Escondido should be aware that parking at is $10 per vehicle.

Plan Out Your San Diego Zoo Trip Now!

Visitors who stay at our cheap hotel close to the San Diego Zoo are within minutes of enjoying a day with the theme park’s 4,000 animals. Our guests also have the option to take a taxi or a bus to the San Diego Zoo, therefore bypassing all the possible parking difficulties.

For additional information about San Diego Zoo parking or directions, click here or contact a Reservation Manager at 1-800-571-2933 to reserve a room at the downtown Pacific Inn & Suites.

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