Service Dog San Diego Zoo Essential Info Guide, Maps, FAQs

Service Dog San Diego Zoo

Welcome to the Service Dog San Diego Zoo Info Guide

If you’re planning on going to the San Diego Zoo and wondering if it’s a welcoming place for service dogs, the answer is yes. In this guide, we will go through the Service Dog San Diego Zoo essential information, guidelines, maps, FAQs, plus much more. Let’s jump right into it.

Jump to a section:

The San Diego Zoo Welcomes All Guests

service dog San Diego Zoo Lion

The San Diego Zoo is proud to welcome all guests, including those with disabilities. The zoo has several services to help people with disabilities to enjoy their visit.

The Zoo provides:

  • Special parking
  • Special restrooms
  • Special access to experiences, tour buses, and habitat areas for people with disabilities

Steep Grades at the San Diego Zoo

Parts of the San Diego zoo have steep grades. A complimentary ADA shuttle service that operates inside the Zoo can help you if you have mobility-related disabilities.

Admission Costs & Attendants / Caregivers

  • People with disabilities who visit the San Diego zoo will need to pay an admission fee
  • The San Diego Zoo, however, does provide FREE admission for a personal attendant or caregiver who accompanies a guest who requires help to access the activities, facilities, and/or public programs.
  • A complimentary pass for your attendant will be provided and you can grab it from any of the ticket windows at the entrance to the Zoo

Zoo Staff

San Diego Zoo animals and service dogs

San Diego Zoo staff can provide minor assistance, but they’re trained to (and are not allowed to):

  • Lift a person out of their mobility device
  • Provide assistance with medications
  • Provide help of a personal nature

Wheelchairs & Electric Scooters

  • Wheelchairs and electric scooters are available for rent on a first-come, first-served basis near the entrance
  • The minimum age to rent an electric scooter is 16 years old
  • The guided tour bus can accommodate one wheelchair per vehicle

Bus Tour

  • The Zoo provides a guided bus tour that covers of approximately 50% of the grounds and takes about 35 minutes
  • San Diego Zoo bus tour has space available for folding wheelchairs
  • Before boarding, notify the bus attendant to reserve seats in the wheelchair area of the bus for other members of your party
  • If you have a non-folding wheelchair, you can leave it at the loading facility and pick it up at the end of the tour

Shuttle Service

The Zoo provides a shuttle service on certain routes that are accessible by the service. If you want to request assistance, contact an employee, who can then request a shuttle for you.

Service Animals & Emotional Support Animals

  • Trained service animals are welcome at the Zoo
  • Emotional support animals, companion animals, comfort animals, or service animals in-training are not allowed entry into the Zoo
  • Service animals are defined as only dogs and miniature horses
  • Service animals must be on a leash or a tether, be under control of their handler at all times
  • Your service dog’s leash or tether can’t exceed 6 feet in length
  • Animals must be house broken
  • If your service animal’s behavior is inappropriate, you will be asked to remove your service animal from the zoo
  • You can temporarily house service animals in the kennel while visiting the Zoo. To arrange for this, see the Guest Service office for assistance. Space available is first come, first served for trained service animals
  • You can find a drinker for service animals located at the top of Reptile Walk
  • Service animals are restricted where there is direct contact with Zoo animals or limited in
    certain areas due to the sensitivity of the Zoo’s animal collection
  • Visit an attendant at the Guest Services office at the entrance to the Zoo to check-in your service animal. You’ll receive a service dog bandana
  • Service animals need to be kept back 6 feet from animal presentations in public spaces

Maintaining Safe Pedestrian Pathways

In order to keep a safe pedestrian environment, the San Diego Zoo doesn’t allow guests to bring most wheeled vehicles within the Zoo grounds.

What’s not allowed:

  • Bicycles
  • Tricycles
  • Scooters
  • Skateboards
  • Roller skates
  • & any similar modes of transportation are not allowed

What is allowed:

  • Strollers
  • Wheelchairs
  • Electric scooters
  • Segways that have handle bar and are operated in “turtle” mode

Adult Changing Facility

The San Diego Zoo is equipped with an adult changing facility. You can visit Health Services, which is near the Reptile House.

Sensory Bags

Sensory bags are available for checkout at no cost, at the Guest Services Booth, and contain:

  • Special KCVIP badges
  • Fidget tools
  • Noise canceling headphones and other resources

Weighted Lap Pads

Weighted lap pads are also available upon request at no cost. They’re found at the Guest Services Booth located at the entrance.

Social Story and KultureCity All-Inclusive App

You can download the KultureCity All-Inclusive App. This will help to get your social story and help you further with your visit to the San Diego Zoo.

The Zoo’s Busiest Times

If you’d like to avoid the Zoo’s busiest times, it’s helpful to know when they are:

  • Summertime
  • Holidays
  • Weekends

If you need to avoid larger crowds, try arriving at the Zoo:

  • Earlier in the day
  • On weekdays
  • During the off-season

American Sign Language Interpretation

The zoo provides assistance for people who need American Sign Language Interpretation. It’s recommended to make arrangements for this, at least one week before you plan to visit the zoo.


The zoo also offers Assistant Listening Devices (ALD). These are available at Wegeforth Bowl, and the 4D Theaters during any regularly scheduled show.

Service Dog San Diego Zoo Maps & Reference

Sam Nelson

Sam Nelson is an experienced writer, advocate for people with disabilities and mental health, dog lover, artist, philosopher, and generally complicated human being.

Recent Posts