La Jolla To San Diego Zoo Day Trip (2024)

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Want to know the best day trip itinerary from La Jolla to the San Diego Zoo? We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know!

A day trip from La Jolla to the San Diego Zoo can be a fun itinerary for locals and visitors.

The San Diego Zoo is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and for good reason.

It is home to over 3,500 animals from all over the globe, all of which are housed in spacious and naturalistic enclosures.

The zoo is also a leader in conservation efforts, and is committed to protecting endangered species.

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned pro, there is always something new to see and do at the San Diego Zoo.

See our full day trip to the San Diego Zoo in this video on our YouTube Channel.

San Diego Zoo entrance sign

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Getting From La Jolla To The San Diego Zoo

The drive from La Jolla to the San Diego Zoo is just about 15 miles and takes about 25-30 minutes depending on traffic.

Generally you’ll take the 5 South to the CA-163 North exit.

Then you’ll veer right onto Richmond St, turn right on Upas St, turn right on Park Blvd, and then finally turn right onto Zoo Drive.

A second option would be to take the 5 South to the Pershing Drive exit.

From there, you’ll turn left on Florida Drive and then left into Zoo Place.

map of driving route from La Jolla to the San Diego Zoo
Image Courtesy of Google Maps

There are also public transportation options to get from La Jolla to the zoo.

First you’ll take bus route 30 to the Old Town Transit Center.

Which stop you get on at will depend on exactly where you’re traveling from.

The closest one to the center of La Jolla is at La Jolla Blvd & Nautilus St.

Once you’ve made it to the Old Town Transit Center you’ll walk a couple minutes to Old Town Station and catch the Green line for 4 stops to the Santa Fe Depot.

Finally, the last step is to take bus route 215 for 5 stops from Santa Fe Depot to the Park Blvd & Zoo Pl stop.

This route should roughly cost about $6 per person and takes about an hour and a half to an hour and forty-five minutes.

bus route from La Jolla to the San Diego Zoo
Image Courtesy of Google Maps

Things To Do At The San Diego Zoo

The zoo is divided into 10 different geographical zones, each of which is home to a variety of animals that are native to that region.

In addition to its vast collection of animals, the San Diego Zoo also offers a variety of educational and interactive exhibits, as well as a number of family-friendly activities.

Whether you are interested in learning about the natural world or simply want to enjoy a day of fun and excitement, the San Diego Zoo is the perfect destination for you.

Here are just a few of the things you can do at the San Diego Zoo:

  • See animals from all over the world, including lions, tigers, bears, elephants, gorillas, and more.
  • Learn about the zoo’s conservation efforts and how you can help protect endangered species.
  • Take a behind the scenes tour and see how the zoo cares for its animals.
  • Enjoy a variety of family friendly activities, such as animal encounters, feedings, and shows.
  • Relax and enjoy the beautiful gardens and landscapes.

Things To Do At La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove is a beautiful and popular beach in La Jolla, California.

The cove is a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and sunbathing.

It is also home to a colony of sea lions, which can often be seen sunbathing on the rocks.

The cove is easily accessible by car, bus, or bike.

There is a paid parking lot located near the cove, as well as street parking.

You can see our experience at La Jolla Cove in this video on our YouTube Channel.

JP at La Jolla Cove with the sea lions

Tips For Visiting La Jolla Cove

This was such a unique experience being so close to so many free roaming animals.

They were very loud at times!

You would be surprised how fast some of them will move.

Also don’t forget, it can get cold in the evenings.

Bring a jacket or coat depending on the season if you are going around sunset or later.

The best time to visit La Jolla Cove is during the morning or evening hours, when the crowds are smaller.

It was around sunset when we went and it was pretty busy.

Be sure to wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat, as the sun can be strong at the beach.

If you are planning on swimming, be sure to check the tides and currents before entering the water.

One thing I do want to advise is that if you are going to visit here, PLEASE follow the rules.

Do not approach any wildlife for any reason.

Be respectful of the sea lions and other marine life.

Do not feed them or disturb them.

Don’t leave any trash, don’t climb around places you shouldn’t be climbing, and just leave things the same or better than you found them!

Where To Stay When You’re Visiting The San Diego Zoo

With so many different neighborhoods to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay.

Here are some of our favorite San Diego hotels.

✔ Best Overall San Diego Hotel: Hilton San Diego Bayfront

Hilton San Diego Bayfront is right in the middle of all the action.

It’s across the street from Petco Park, the San Diego Convention Center, and the Gaslamp Quarter.

You’ll have amazing skyline or bay views no matter what room type you get.

We stay here more often than any other San Diego hotel and the location just can’t be beat.

You can see a full walk-through of our most recent room here in this video on our YouTube Channel.

? Click Here To Book Your Stay At Hilton San Diego Bayfront Today!

✔ Best Hotel Near The San Diego Zoo: Inn At The Park

Inn At The Park is less than a 10 minute drive to the parking lot of the San Diego Zoo and is only 2 miles away when driving.

On a map it’s actually much closer, just across the highway from the zoo, but you have to circle around the zoo to get to the entrance.

? Click Here To Book Your Stay At The Inn At The Park Today!

More Fun Things To Do In And Around San Diego

The San Diego Zoo and La Jolla are such small portions of everything there is to do in the San Diego area.

Here are some more fun things we’ve done in San Diego that you can check out while you’re here.

San Diego Weekend Itinerary

San Diego is a great weekend getaway town for Southern Californians or for those able to just fly in for a few days.

This itinerary covers the highlights of San Diego that everyone should see at least once.

San Diego Balboa Park

The Best Things To Do In North Park

San Diego has a variety of neighborhoods, each with their own flair.

North Park is a vibrant and eclectic neighborhood that is home to a diverse mix of people, businesses, and attractions.

Whether you’re looking for a place to grab a bite to eat, catch a show, or simply relax and enjoy the atmosphere, North Park has something for everyone.

The Best Things To Do In Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach is a vibrant, bohemian neighborhood in San Diego.

It’s known for its classic SoCal beach vibe, with surfers and sunbathers filling the namesake beach.

The Ocean Beach Pier is a popular local fishing spot with sweeping views.

Nearby, Newport Avenue is lines with antique shops, beachwear and surf boutiques, organic groceries, taquerias, and brewpubs.

The Ocean Beach Farmers Market features live music.

San Diego Urban Wineries Ultimate Guide

San Diego is a city with a thriving wine scene, and its urban wineries are a big part of that.

These wineries are located in the heart of the city, making them easy to access and explore.

They offer a variety of wines to taste, as well as educational tours and tastings.

Whether you’re a wine lover or just looking for a fun night out, San Diego’s urban wineries are a great option.

How To Have The Best Weekend in Oceanside

Oceanside is a city with something for everyone.

From its beautiful beaches and surfing waves to its vibrant downtown area and delicious food scene, there’s no shortage of things to do and see in this Southern California city.

Oceanside Harbor, California

Ramona Valley Weekend Getaway Itinerary

Ramona, California is a charming town located in the foothills of the Laguna Mountains.

It is known for its beautiful scenery, mild climate, and abundance of outdoor activities.

Today, Ramona is home to a variety of historical sites and up and coming wineries.

wines from Wolf n Rose Winery in Ramona, California

➡️ Visiting In The Fall?

Here are several Fall specific itineraries for visiting San Diego, including seasonal events and festivals that only happen this time of year!

julian california town hall

Where To Eat When You’re Visiting San Diego

San Diego is a city with a diverse culinary scene, from casual eateries to fine dining establishments.

Whether you’re looking for a quick bite to eat or a special occasion meal, you’re sure to find something to your taste.

Here are a few of the city’s most popular restaurants:

The Best Birthday Restaurants in San Diego

If you’re looking for a romantic dinner for 2 or a lively party with friends, San Diego has the perfect birthday restaurant for you.

The Best Restaurants in San Diego With A View

From the San Diego Bay and the city skyline, there are a ton of great restaurants with interesting views all day and night.

The Best Italian Restaurants in San Diego

San Diego has a neighborhood called Little Italy that is home to some amazing Italian restaurants, but it’s not the only place in San Diego with the best Italian restaurants.

The Best Seafood Restaurants in San Diego

You can’t go to a coastal city like San Diego without trying some of their seafood!

It’s fresh, locally caught, and prepared in a variety of styles.

Explore More Of San Diego With GoCity!

GoCity attractions cards offer included admission to over 400 top attractions, activities, tours, and museums for one low price!

If you’re visiting San Diego for more than just the San Diego Zoo, you can bundle your admission to visit dozens of other attractions in the area for a fraction of the price.

Save up to 50% compared to buying separate tickets at the attractions and receive a free full-color guide book with your purchase.

Choose from two options: Go City’s All-Inclusive Pass offers admission to top attractions and activities for one low price with a savings of up to 50%.

Build Your Own Pass allows you to customize a pass and save up to 20% on top attractions!

? Click Here To Book Your GoCity San Diego Pass Today!

Conclusion: La Jolla To San Diego Zoo Day Trip

If you’re like us and love to visit zoos, be sure to check out our post about the LA Zoo and their holiday lights if you’re visiting the area during the holiday season.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo and La Jolla Cove is a fun experience everyone should do at least once in their life.

With San Diego’s great year round weather, you can go pretty much any time!

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Camel at San Diego Zoo