The world famous San Diego Zoo is located next to Balboa Park, 5 minutes from downtown and is home to 4,000 rare and endangered animals representing more than 800 species and subspecies.
The zoo is also an accredited botanical garden with more than 6,500 species of exotic plants. The zoo is operated by the not-for-profit Zoological Society of San Diego, which is dedicated to the conservation of endangered species and their habitats.
Some of the favorite features of the zoo are Hua Mei, a giant panda cub born in August 1999, Ituri forest, a mysterious African rain forest, and the polar bear plunge. The plunge is a 2.2 acre summer tundra habitat that is the playground for polar bears, Siberian reindeer, arctic foxes, and yellow-throated martens.
A 130,000-gallon pool enables the polar bears to swim while visitor watch from an underwater viewing area. Also see the ever-popular favorites: lions, tigers, elephants, zebras and bears.
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