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There are zoos and aquariums all along the California coast. From the world-famous San Diego Zoo in Southern California to a little-known zoo in Eureka, there are many family-friendly zoos of all sizes. One thing we have discovered in our travels throughout California is that zoos are diverse. They vary in the animals they specialize in and the audiences they target. Kids will love them all of course, but some are truly geared at children with petting zoos, educational exhibits, and activities for young ones.

bigs-Red Panda resting in a tree at San Diego Zoo SD CA (Large)Red panda at the San Diego Zoo

Besides the San Diego Zoo, the San Francisco Zoo and Los Angeles Zoo really stand out in their broad offering, both with over 1000 different animals and realistic habitats. Those three are clearly the best, but the rest are still worthy of a visit if you are in the area and you love animals. See the map above and the list of zoos in California below.

bigs-San Francisco Zoo Scimitar-Horned-Oryx-Extinct in Wild-E1 (Large)Scimitar oryx (now extinct in the wild) at the San Francisco Zoo