Discovery Outpost

Children's Zoo: The Children’s Zoo is for everyone to enjoy! There are more than 30 special animal exhibits and activities designed with our younger visitors in mind. The popular Petting Paddock allows kids a chance to feel the wooly coat of a sheep or comb a gentle goat’s hair. Our animal nursery has large viewing windows to let you watch animal babies being bottle-fed or cuddled by our caring keepers. Don’t be dismayed if there are no baby animals in the nursery when you visit—it just means all our animal babies are being cared for by their mothers and don’t need our help!

The Children’s Zoo has animals not found anywhere else on Zoo grounds, such as Black-headed spider monkeys, an American alligator, and our ever-fascinating Naked mole-rats, various Macaw species, Pygmy marmosets, Long and Short-beaked Echidnas, Tree pangolian, Asian small-clawed otters, and Fossas, . Best of all, about 45 of the 200 critters living here are trained as animal ambassadors, so you might get to feel how sharp a hedgehog’s quills are, or hear how quietly a horned owl can flap its wings.

Gharials and Turtles: Stay a while to watch the Gharials–an endangered crocodilian–and Asian turtles like the Narrow-haded softshell, Malaysian painted river, Chinese stripe-necked, and Fly river turtles, and Painted terrapins swimming in their luxurious pool or sunning themselves on the spacious sandy beach. The large pool is kept at a comfortable 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius) and holds 55,000 gallons (208,200 liters) of water.

Giant Tortoises: Some of the Zoo’s oldest—and slowest—residents are the Galápagos tortoises. Many of them have been with us since 1928, making them the oldest residents in the Zoo. They arrived here as young adults and the zoo estimates their age to be over 100 years old! Numbers painted on each animal’s shell help the keepers identify their charges: white-numbered tortoises are males, red numbers indicate females.

Hummingbird House: The Hummingbird House is a long-time favorite of Zoo visitors. Being inside is almost like being in a fairy world, watching fantastic, colorful little creatures flitting by your face while surround by waterfalls and beautiful exotic plants. See the Hermit, Typical, Anna's, Green violet-ear, Honduran emerald, Sapphire-bellied, and many more hummingbird species.

Insect House: Terrariums set into the walls showcase stick insects, leafcutter ants, roaches, beetles, scorpions, and spiders, giving you a rare opportunity to marvel at the planet’s spineless wonders. There is even a bee hive, enclosed in glass so you can watch the busy bees in action. You might be amazed to discover how much happens inside the hive! A clear tube allows the bees to leave the hive—and the insect house—to gather nectar and pollen from the bountiful blossoms in San Diego. Part of the wall around the outer opening is painted bright yellow to aid the bees in finding the entrance as they return home.

Reptile House: The Reptile House at the San Diego Zoo has delighted and awed visitors for generations. A stroll around its perimeter allows you to safely view an amazing collection of pythons, cobras, boas, rattlesnakes, desert tortoises, and Gila monsters up close—about 100 species in all! Because you’re on the outside looking in, you’re not bothered by the heat and humidity required to maintain some of our reptiles. Each reptile’s enclosure is designed to look like the resident’s natural home.

Youngsters proudly point out to their parents which creatures are venomous–with the help of a red dot on the appropriate signs! You’ll even find rattlesnakes that are native to the San Diego County region, including the largest rattler in our area, the red diamond rattlesnake. Each corner of the House features the giants of the snake world: anacondas and pythons. And be sure to visit the largest lizard in the world: the Komodo dragon. This awesome creature can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh up to 175 pounds.

Elephant Odyssey

Lion and Jagaur Habitat: See a pair of African lions in a foothill enviornment with rocky slopes, trees, grasses, and a stream. Next door a Jaguar prowls a marshy wetland habitat with rocks, trees, large branches, and a stream that flows into a pond-where the cat might catch some fish.

Elephant Habitat: These 2.4 acres are home to the zoo's seven elephants. Six of them are Indian: Ranchipur, the bull, and Cookie, Mary, cha-Cha, Sumithi, and Devi, and one is Arfican: Tembo. They have several pools, including the large one that is 4,600 square feet, 7.5 feet deep, and holds 137,000 gallons.

Mixed Species Habitat: Guests will see Guanacos, Baird's tapirs, and Capybaras. They have room to roam, rock to climb, and their own pool.

Secretary Bird: Here guests will see the long-legged Secretary bird that stalks through grasses, looking for insect to eat, or roosting in their tree.

Dung Beetles: Before visitors enter through the tunnel,