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Family Hotel Near San Diego Zoo

A guest room or suite at Hotel Republic gives you fabulous access to one of the world’s most celebrated zoos and a global leader in animal conservation. We’re talking of course about the San Diego Zoo, one of the signature attractions of Balboa Park just a couple of miles northeast of our downtown hotel. It’s an all-ages attraction big and beastly enough that multiple visits are required before you even begin getting a handle on its wonders!

Like so much of Balboa Park in general, the San Diego Zoo owes its origins to the Panama California Exposition of 1915-1916. Several animals were exhibited during this two-year celebration of the Panama Canal’s completion, and from this temporary bestiary the idea for a permanent zoo in San Diego was born.

Tapirs to Tigers, Condors to Capybaras

The San Diego Zoo exhibits cover an awful lot of Planet Earth’s trusty old biosphere, featuring 4,000-plus animals from all over the worldgrouped by ecological region. They include well-known celebrity “megafauna” such as tigers (Malayan), zebras, elephants (both African and Asian), and grizzly bears (a native Californian species, though long since extirpated) to littler marvels such as leafcutter ants and naked mole-rats. Probably the most famous denizens of the San Diego Zoo are the giant pandas: The institution has had the greatest success of any U.S. zoo in breeding these charismatic and threatened bamboo-munchers.

Last summer the San Diego Zoo opened its Africa Rocks exhibit, which shows off different habitats of that wildlife-rich continent—from the Ethiopian Highlands (home to hamadryas baboons, gelada monkeys, and Nubian ibex) to the Madagascar Forest (populated by two lemurs—the ring-tailed and the Coquerel’s sifaka—and their age-old enemy the fossa).

San Diego Zoo Tours

The Zoo also offers a wide array of special tours and activities: from “Crazy About Cats,” which yields a guided, behind-the-scenes look at the facility’s amazing lineup of wild felines large and small, and “Early Morning With Pandas,” a VIP hangout with those lovable pandas before their viewing area opens for the day, to the singularly awesome “Keeper for a Day” experience, which lets you step into a zookeeper’s shoes.

The critters may steal the spotlight, but the San Diego Zoo is also a garden wonderland with an amazing collection of exotic flora, and you can take self-guided plant-focused tours as well.

San Diego Zoo Day Trip From Hotel Republic

If you’re overwhelmed by the options at one of the foremost zoos anywhere, just click your way over to this handy-dandy “Plan Your Day” guide the San Diego Zoo offers at its website. And then make your reservations at Hotel Republic so you’ve got accommodations almost within earshot of those bellowing lions and trumpeting elephants!

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