Being frequent visitors of the Toronto Zoo, the second largest zoo in North America, we were looking forward to the biggest. Both zoos are similar: lots of walking, lots of animals. Some differences however:
For one thing, the San Diego Zoo doesn't have as many indoor pavillions. I guess this is because they don't have to worry about snowstorms. Outside is nice, but I prefer the Toronto Zoo habitats. Here the animals seemed too fenced in, not good for photos.
Of course the San Diego Zoo has pandas, which are behind a wall and the zoo controls the crowd coming in and out, like you're waiting in line at Disney. Supposedly pandas are quite shy and they would freak out or something if there were too many unfamiliar noises. Though I suspect some of the hoopla is for dramatic effect.
The San Diego Zoo is also a bit more commercial. Like all the themeparks in the area, they have staff popping up at random places taking your picture so they can sell it to you later for 20 bucks. We never buy them because of our growing collection of far more cost effective digital photos.
This zoo also has lots of buses running in the park, both tour buses and express buses to take you to a specific animal. Puts Toronto's dinky zoomobile to shame. Also there's these super high in the sky gondola things that I refuse to ride, which take you from one end of the park to the other.
The pandas (of course, it's a novelty)
The cheetah and the dog in the same cage. I missed the explanation why they put them together, but the doggie was licking the cheetah's ear and they are super good friends. So cute!
The goats in the petting zoo. Jadzia's favourite, hands down. We spent quite a bit of time just hanging with the goats. My daughter sometimes excitedly brought them small pieces of hay, and other times just sat down next to them, pointing to their eyes, nose, mouth and ears.
There was a playground in the children's area, which some kid broke his arm on (not one of mine thankfully). We were coming back past the play area on our way home, and William wanted to play there some more, oblivious to the zoo staff standing all around helping this poor child with the mangled appendage.
William had a pretty bad day tantrum wise, which ruined the trip for Adam. We've be pretty lucky as far as behaviour goes this vacation, but the long days are getting to them. Also the kids had colds the first week we were here, which made them more docile.