There’s always something to do at the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens, which is home to more than 1,000 exotic, endangered and rescued animals.

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March 14, 2018

9 Things You Can't Miss at the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens

Located where San Francisco's Sunset District meets the wide open Pacific Ocean, the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens is an urban oasis home to more than 1,000 exotic, endangered and rescued animals. Covering 100 acres of land, the Zoo offers visitors the chance to get up close to some of the most beautiful and fascinating creatures on the planet. Here are just nine of the can't-miss activities and exhibits you can experience on your next visit.

Eat Breakfast with a Grizzly Bear

Every day at 10:30 a.m., zookeepers serve breakfast to the Zoo's two grizzly bears, Kachina and Kiona. These impressive animals are sisters who were orphaned in the wild and given a second chance at the San Francisco Zoo. Learn all about grizzly bears, their special place in California's ecosystem (and history), and see just how much they can eat!

Visit the Giraffes' Home

At 3:45 p.m. each day, visitors to the Zoo can go inside the Giraffe Lodge for an up-close look at some of the largest animals on Earth. Zookeepers will share their knowledge of these gentle giants while feeding them their daily dose of healthy snacks (bananas and romaine lettuce are among the favorites). Guests may even get a chance to serve the giraffes themselves.

See Rare Mexican Gray Wolves

These small wolves are nearly extinct in the wild, which makes their new home at the San Francisco Zoo all the more important. The three little guys are each named after a famous musician: Prince, David Bowie, and San Francisco's own Jerry Garcia. You can get a 270-degree view of their habitat by stepping inside a special part of the exhibit.

Step Into A Boundary-Free Aviary

The South American Tropical Rainforest & Aviary building has only the most essential barriers between you and the animals. That means you shouldn't be surprised if a toucan or a macaw suddenly sails over your head! See these beautiful birds, as well as sloths and an anaconda, inside. Don't worry; the anaconda is most definitely contained!

Take A Walk on the Wild Side

The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens offers a variety of guided experiences that provide visitors with access to exhibits that regular admission won't cover. They range from 60 to 90 minutes in duration and can be customized to suit your interests. 

See Experts in Action at the ARC

The Zoo's Koret Animal Resource Center (ARC) is a working facility that allows visitors to see how zookeepers and trained volunteers care for animals. Each one of them has a story to tell. The ARC also gives visitors a chance to learn about the various conservation efforts that the Zoo participates in.

Touch the Animals in the Family Farm

The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens is a great place for families to explore. Within the Fisher Family Children's Zoo is the Family Farm, where your little ones can pet goats, sheep, and other animals. 

Enjoy Special Seasonal Exhibits

The Zoo's Nature Trail is open year-round, but in the summer months it becomes an interactive educational experience. That's not the only limited time-only attraction at the Zoo. During the holidays, the Zoo Lights event sees the many buildings on the Zoo's grounds decorated in beautiful light installations that visitors can enjoy at night.

Ride the Famous Little Puffer Train

This pint-sized steam engine is actually over 100 years old. It has carried generations of visitors around the Zoo and is still running today. Hop aboard and ride through the South America and Bear Country sections of the park. If the Little Puffer is a must for your gang, be sure to call the Zoo ahead of time, as the train is sometimes closed for maintenance or due to weather.

The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens is guaranteed fun for all ages. For more fun things to do with families in the City by the Bay, click here.


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