What to Know Before You Visit

The best way to learn about the animals is to see them interact with their keepers and to hear first-hand about their care and wellness. Must-see feedings? Grizzly bears and penguins.

Throughout the Zoo

Around every corner, there are opportunities for learning and fun at the Zoo.

Docents: You’ll find uniformed docents throughout the Zoo who are eager to answer your questions, tell stories, and share their wealth of information.

Bio-fact Carts: Docents and youth volunteers staff carts filled with bio-facts of many different animals. See and touch fur, bones, and teeth, and learn about the fascinating physiology of our animals.

Storybooks and more: Don’t forget to pick up a keepsake Zoo Key to use in our Talking Storybooks throughout the Zoo. Other must-do’s: Ride the Eugene Friend Dentzel Carousel and the Little Puffer miniature steam train, and let the kids run out all that energy at the Elinor Friend Playground.

Zoo Policies

We value everyone’s safety.
For the safety and comfort of the animals and our guests we cannot allow the following items in the San Francisco Zoo

Please, no…

  • Straws, disposable lids, glass containers, balloons, pets
  • Radios, stereos, musical instruments, or any sound amplifiers
  • Solicitation material
  • Bicycles, tricycles, scooters, skateboards, rollerblades, or skates
  • Sports Equipment including but not limited to balls, bats, etc…
  • Alcoholic Beverages or any illegal substances
  • Firearms or any other weapons including but not limited to knives
  • Toy weapons of any kind

Please Respect the Animals

  • Do not tease or shout at the animals
  • Do not throw anything into the exhibits
  • Do not feed the animals
  • Do not cross exhibit or path barriers
  • Do not tap or bang on the glass

For the Comfort & Safety of All

  • Smoking/Vaping is not permitted anywhere on Zoo grounds
  • Pets are not allowed inside the Zoo
  • Please do not enter or damage the planted areas
  • Children ages 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult at all times
  • Guests under the influence will not be allowed in the Zoo and will be asked to leave
  • Solicitation of any kind is not permitted on Zoo Grounds

Anyone in violation of these rules may be asked to leave at any time without a refund.
Any guest verbally or physically threatening anyone will be escorted from the property immediately without a refund.

Zoo Manners

To ensure your visit to the Zoo is safe and pleasant, please follow the guidelines below.

  • Respect the animals.
    Our animals are wild and possess all their natural instincts. You are a guest in their home. They are sensitive and have feelings.  Please do not tap on glass, cross barriers, throw anything into habitats, make excessive noise, tease them, or call out to them.Please report any disturbance to wildlife by calling (415) 753-7069 immediately. Be advised to not disturb free-roaming animals such as peafowl and our wild visitors, such as gulls and other birds.
  • Do not toss coins.
    Coins in water are very harmful to animals, so please do not toss coins into habitats, pools or streams. Instead, donate your change to conservation at donation boxes around the Zoo.
  • Service animals only.
    Pets can spread diseases to our animals. No dogs or other pets are allowed on Zoo grounds, except service dogs. Service dogs may be taken to any area in the Zoo except where animals are free-roaming.
  • Smoking is not allowed anywhere on Zoo grounds.
  • Authorized transportation only.
    Strollers and wheelchairs are available for daily rental in the Friend and Taube Family Entry Village, so please leave your bicycles, tricycles, scooters, skateboards, and rollerblades at home.
  • Photo guidelines.
    Photography is welcome, but always stay safely behind any barriers and remain in the public areas at all times. Selfie sticks are never allowed to be held over barriers at any time. The Zoo does not permit photos of its animals to be sold for profit or used for any commercial purposes without prior consent.