San Francisco Zoo - How to Get More Out of Your Visit and Have Fun Doing It...

Have you ever wondered what it is about the San Francisco Zoo that attracts so many people?
You see… we're curious -  by nature - and love exploring the unknown and discovering environments foreign to us.
So… visiting the zoo is simply a pleasurable way to entertain ourselves and our children for an afternoon.

Kids love going to it. They learn a lot from a zoo experience… if you talk to them about the animals they see.
Reading books about animal behavior helps you and them identify what is going on.
Here's a couple of suggestions we'd like to share…

First... if you have children that love going to the San Francisco zoo playground...

...start there first!
After they've gotten the playground out of their system… then they'll be ready to see the animals.
The Children's Zoo - features several different areas and plenty of opportunity to get close to the different animals. Like the Family Farm. It has goats, horses and sheep and more...

You'll see the reptiles, amphibians and small mammals along the Nature Trail.
The Miniature Steam Train - This open air mini passenger train runs a wide loop around the children's zoo - running on steam - and tooting all the way.

The historic Little Puffer miniature steam train makes wonderful childhood memories for your kids.
The Dentzel Carousel- Built in 1921… is one of San Francisco's three historic carousels - the other two are in Yerba Buena Gardens and in Golden Gate Park.
It features hand carved animals and steel machinery
This unique merry-go-round delights kids of all ages. Imagine…riding a horse, a cat, a rabbit, or even a giraffe.
And… they have animals… lots of them. But they also have other entertainment that the whole family can enjoy.

Second… choose to visit one or two areas of the San Francisco zoo and stay a while...

Instead of trying to see the whole entire zoo in one day… pick a couple of sights and focus in on them
For example, if you or your kids love seeing the monkeys and gorillas… visit the primate exhibits.
This shorter day may also be a more fun for everyone.
Building a relationship with individual zoo animals - will result in your most unforgettable zoo experiences.
There’s nothing quite like taking your children to see animals they’ve not seen before.
From Penguin Island to Hawk Hill, the San Francisco Zoo is packed with exotic animals in exhibits that aim to reproduce their native habitat. Several of these are world renown or particularly unique. Such as...

  • The Gorilla Preserve - Living in the lush Jones Family Gorilla Preserve - one of the largest lowland gorilla preserves in the United States - is home to an entire gorilla family unit…  including a dominant male… several females… and their offspring.

  • Cat Kingdom - The daily feeding of the lions, tigers and leopards is one of the highlights of your visit  when you go to the Zoo. 

  • The Lemur Forest - The largest outdoor lemur habitat in the country is located at the Bay Area's Zoo and is the forested home of several different species of this fascinating animal.

    During the summer… the Zoo hosts a special - Breakfast With the Lemurs - program that allows you and your family see how the animals are fed and cared for.

  • The Primate Discovery Center - houses such rare animals as Sumatran and Siberian tigers…  Madagascar lemurs… and several endangered monkey species.

Here's some fascinating facts the San Francisco Zoo shares that you may not know...

  • When a koala baby is born… it is only about the size and weight of a nickel.

    They are blind and only partially formed.

    It crawls into its mother’s pouch and spends the next six months drinking milk, and growing larger and stronger until it is ready to come out into the world.

  • The zoo's koalas eat at least 15 different species of eucalyptus. 

    So… every day the zoo horticulturists venture out looking all around the Bay Area to collect and cut fresh leaves and branches.

  • "Koala" is an Aboriginal word meaning "no-drink." Koalas get 90% of their water from the leaves they eat.

And did you know that the bald eagle...

  • ...was chosen as the national bird of the United States in 1782. Bald eagles are found only in North America, and are one of the seven species of sea eagles.

  • They are not bald though. Adult eagles have white head feathers. The Latin name for the bald eagle means white-headed sea eagle.

  • They have 3-4 times better distance vision than we do… and their hearing is comparable to ours. They have very little sense of smell.

  • The bald eagle flies with deep strokes and soars on flattened wings… reaching speeds of up to 44 miles per hour during migration and diving at 200 miles per hour.

    Eagles strike with enormous force... hitting their prey with twice the force of a rifle bullet.

  • Female bald eagles are larger than males.

And what about the Reticulated Giraffe...

Also known as the Somali giraffe… these subspecies of giraffe are native to Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya.

The most common ones found in zoos… their coat is covered with very large spots. Between each spot… you'll see white or cream colored lines.

Giraffes at San Francisco Zoo

The coloring even extends down the legs, and can be a darker shade of brown or even red than the rest of the body.

  • The giraffe has an incredibly long tongue - up to 18 inches - which it uses, along with its prehensile - grasping - upper lip, to strip leaves off branches.

    Think giraffes don’t have voices?  Well they do! 

    They moo… bleat… and bellow. They even grunt… snort… cough… whistle… and growl.

  • Since giraffes are so tall… they must spread their forelegs to the side or extend their forefeet forward and bend at the knees in order to drink or graze.

    They walk in an unusual way… moving both legs on the same side at the same time.

    When they run, their hind feet extend beyond their forelegs in a gallop… covering enormous distances… at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.

  • Although the giraffe’s neck may be as long as 6 feet, there are only seven neck vertebrae - the same number as we have.

So… we've given you just few ways to explore the San Francisco Zoo and have fun doing it...

There's so much more...
And we're sure you can come up with your own ideas.

So… what are you waiting for?

Let's grab the family and head to San Francisco's Zoo!

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