After living an hour away from the San Francisco Zoo for the last four years, we decided it was time for a family trip. We always thought that all zoos were the same, but our many friends told us that the San Francisco Zoo was something special. Four years of positive reviews finally convinced us to try.
The San Francisco Zoo isn't cheap. If you aren't a local, the price of admission is $15 per adult and $9 per child, plus $8 for parking unless you're ready for a mini-hike. Luckily we had coupons for the kids, and driving to the San Francisco Zoo involves a ride along the California coastline. But it wasn't long before our admission price was worth every dollar- you could see animals before you walk through the gates! We saw ostriches and giraffes, enticing us to get a closer look. Two hours of walking later, we still didn't cover every animal.
The San Francisco Zoo is just perfect for any type of animal lover. They have plenty of human guides (known as docets) for that personal tour. If you want to get an audio tour, several stops offer speaker-based systems for listening. If you want to go it on your own, no one gets in your way and the walking paths are aplenty.
My favorite animal area by far was the bear exhibit. There's a viewing area where the glass wall is up against the bear's swimming area. We watched to bears playfully wrestle each other in the water, only inches from our faces.
There's even an insect exhibit, complete with an impressive tarantula display. I never knew there were so many breeds, or that many aren't even poisonous. That wasn't convincing enough for my daughter, who is not arachnid-friendly. She did enjoy the prairie dogs near the children's zoo, although I don't think she believe my story in the video about how they can take down cows.
The souvenir shop is how most souvenir shops are- overpriced and selling many items that you could find anywhere besides the zoo. But their t-shirts were moderately priced, particularly attractive and unique from other zoo shirts we've seen.
I'm ready to go back. The next time we get an itch for some animals, we'll pick the San Francisco Zoo every time.