Zoo Inside Look

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Inside Look Options at the San Diego Zoo

General Description:

The Inside Look Tour is a two-hour entertaining and educational adventure that offers special behind-the-scenes views and interesting information about how we take care of our animals.

It is filled with experiences and stories you couldn’t get anywhere else.

You’ll be part of a small group touring the Zoo in a shuttle cart and visiting off-exhibit areas.

See the Zoo the way everyone wishes they could—from behind the scenes!

Tour on private cart

2 special experiences

Behind-the-scenes visits or close animal encounters

A stop at pandas is included

All Inside Look tours stop at pandas

Guests bypass the line and are brought to the narrator viewing area

All Guides have been advised that the panda stop is part of Inside Look tours

If for any reason the Guide does not have time to go to pandas, the guide will drop the guests off at the panda narrator at the end of their tour, so they still get to bypass the panda line

Elephants & Friends:

About Inside Look: Elephants and Friends

A private cart tour of the Zoo and an Inside Look at elephants in Elephant Odyssey.

Get the scoop on how we take care of elephants and support their survival in the wild.

Tour our Elephant Care Center to see the kitchen where elephant diets are prepared and the tools keepers use to care for the elephants.

Be sure to wear flat-heeled shoes for this tour!

Koalas & Friends:

About Inside Look: Koalas and Friends at the Zoo

A private cart tour of the Zoo and an Inside Look at Koalafornia.

We have the largest koala colony outside of Australia!

Step inside the Queenslander House to see where their fresh eucalyptus browse is stored and where keepers prepare food for the other animals in our Outback.

Meet a friend of the koala that lives in the same habitat, get the inside scoop on how we take care of our koalas, and learn how we are supporting their survival in the wild.

Monkeys & Friends:

About Inside Look: Monkeys and Friends

A private cart tour and viewing opportunity of primates around the Zoo and visits to other Zoo friends.

Enjoy special viewing of our popular primates, as our educator guides escort you to off-exhibit areas of the Zoo.

Observe some of our closest living relatives as they enjoy a special snack or explore keeper-created enrichment objects in their exhibits.

See primates and their zoo friends up close, and learn about how we are working to conserve species all over the world!

Penguins & Friends:

About Inside Look: Penguins and Friends

A private cart tour of the Zoo, special viewing of our African penguins and visits to other Zoo friends.

Get a great view of our African penguin colony, as you visit their brand new exhibit!

This tour includes special private viewing of the penguin beach and nesting area.

You’ll get the inside scoop on how we care for these unique birds, and learn about how we are working to conserve them in the wild.

Enjoy other unique animal experiences as you tour the Zoo with one of our knowledgeable guides!

Inside Look: Surprise!

About Inside Look: Surprise

An “Inside Look” at how the Zoo takes care of our animal and plant collections—connecting our guests to wildlife and conservation.

Go behind the scenes to learn how we take care of our animals during this two-hour tour.

You’ll be part of a small group that will explore the Zoo in a private cart for an exclusive adventure filled with experiences you can’t get elsewhere.


  • To book, please call Reservation Sales at 619-718-3000
  • No service animals permitted on tour.


  • Admission is NOT included in the price of the Inside Look and is required. Please ensure each guest has a valid Admission ticket or Membership.

Age Restrictions

  • All ages welcome
  • All ages must pay
  • No free lap children
  • Children 15 years and younger must be accompanied by a paid adult


  • Join-in tour
  • Minimum: 1
  • Maximum: 7
  • For parties larger than 7, please call 619-718-3000
  • 1A / 2C All children must pay and be accompanied by a paid adult. Maximum two children per adult.

Change / Cancel Policy

  • Changes or cancellations are not permitted.

Check In

  • Check in 10 minutes prior to tour time
  • Meet at Signpost #4 near the flamingo exhibit.


  • Daily

Program Advisements (Mandatory)

  • Sunscreen, sun glasses, and a hat are recommended
  • No food or beverages allowed (bottled water ok; iced water provided)
  • Large or bulky camera equipment not permitted
  • All-weather event
  • Proof of age may be required


  • 1 Adult for every 2 Children (no exceptions)
  • Ages 16 and 17: no accompanying adult required; Adults ages 18 and over must chaperone children ages 15 and under.