San Diego Zoo
2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
Photo by Amanda Friedman, AFAR Media
San Diego ZooLocated on 100 acres in Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo is one of the top zoos in the country. With a collection of more than 3,500 rare and endangered animals and 700,000 exotic plants, the zoo offers something for everyone. To help you navigate it—and to personalize the experience—seasoned guides are available for private tours of five or eight hours. Dubbed the Exclusive VIP Experience, both versions begin with a questionnaire before your visit so you can share your animal-viewing wish list, among other preferences. Feedback in hand, a zoo rep will design your day. Although no two private tours are the same, there are some common highlights: the new Africa Rocks exhibit, where you can wander from the Ethiopian Highlands (hello, baboons) to the South African coast (leopard sharks); the Australian Outback, land of koalas, kookaburras, and Tasmanian devils; and then, the zoo’s most popular stop, Panda Canyon, home to Bai Yun, Gao Gao, and Xiao Liwu. Your VIP status means you can also check out the animals’ sleeping quarters, meet the keepers, and participate in feedings. The Exclusive VIP Experience is popular; book reservations well in advance.