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San Diego Zoo

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Immediately north of the main museums, the enormous San Diego Zoo (daily mid-June to early Sept 9am–9pm; early Sept to mid-June 9am–5pm; w http://www.sandiegozoo.org) is one of the world’s most renowned, with hundreds of different species, among them rare Chinese pheasants, Mhorr gazelles and a freakish two-headed corn snake. It’s an enormous place, and you can easily spend a full day here, soaking in the major sections devoted to the likes of chimps and gorillas, panda and polar bears, lizards and lions, and African and Asian elephants. Regular admission ($37, kids $27) covers entry to the main zoo and children’s zoo, plus a short bus tour and a return ticket on the Skyfari aerial tram. A $70 ticket (kids $50) also admits you to the San Diego Wild Animal Park near Escondido (hours vary, often daily 9am–4pm, summer closes 8pm; $37, $27 kids), a two-thousand-acre preserve for big cats, rhinos, giraffes, and the like, which roam about outside your car windows.