Zoos in California with kids

It’s animal time in California, and they are calling YOU!

For those families who LOVE those animal encounters, look no further than California because The Golden State has plenty of them!

We have to start with zoos. These are the most iconic way to experience wildlife, and great to visit with children. They offer animal encounters, and kids can experience creatures from all across the globe.  

Farms are a great alternative for a more hands-on experience with petting zoos and barnyard fun. Wildlife sanctuaries offer kids an invaluable lesson in conservation, and animal-specific attractions let kids really immerse themselves in their favorite creatures!

Whatever wildlife experience you choose with children, you know they will walk away filled with memories and knowledge that can’t be replaced. They’ll have a ROAR-ing time! 

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  • Aquarium Of The Bay

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    San Francisco

    Discover what lies beneath the waves of San Francisco Bay at this family friendly aquarium, with 20,000 aquatic animals including sharks, rays and sea stars!

  • Birch Aquarium at Scripps

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    La Jolla

    This exciting Californian aquarium has been inspiring kids and families for over 100 years - that's pretty impressive! There are over 60 habitats with amazing marine life. Best go and check it out ...

  • Oakland Zoo

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    Oakland

    The Oakland Zoo is a non-profit zoo home to over 660 native and exotic animals! Kids can experience feedings, and events, and learn lots of new things across the day!

  • Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

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    San Pedro

    Discover the underwater world of Southern California at this marine aquarium, just steps from Cabrillo Beach, and a great place for kids to learn!

  • Fresno Chaffee Zoo

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    Fresno

    Get inspired by the natural world at this Fresno zoo with around 190 species, and great animal encounters!

  • Feline Conservation Center

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    Rosamond

    Cat lovers of all ages who discover this desert zoo and wildlife are amazed at the variety of wild cat species found here.

  • Happy Hollow Park and Zoo

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    San Jose

    A San Jose amusement park and zoo rolled into one! With a range of amazing animals, experiences and programs, overnight stays and some fun rides too!

  • Seaworld

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    San Diego

    Explore the creatures of our oceans at SeaWorld San Diego - with sea lions, dolphins, orcas and sharks all ready to play!

  • San Francisco Zoo

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    San Francisco

    Over 1,000 endangered, exotic and rescued animals await you at this amazing zoo in San Francisco!

  • San Diego Zoo

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    San Diego

    One of the largest zoos in the world with over 4,000 animals - San Diego Zoo has all your favorite animals, animal encounters and special experiences!

  • Santa Ana Zoo

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    Santa Ana

    A beautiful 20-acre site in Practice Park focusing on the animals and plants of Central and South America. One of the many fun family places to visit if you're looking for things to do in Santa Ana ...

  • Sequoia Park Zoo

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    Eureka

    Explore one of the oldest and smallest accredited zoo's in the USA, set against a magnificent backdrop of the redwood forest. Animals of the world, all come together in California for family fun!

  • Roundhouse Aquarium

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    Manhattan Beach

    A FREE entry aquarium in California with touch tanks, camps, story times and lots of creatures of the ocean!

  • Aquarium Of The Pacific

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    Long Beach

    Journey through the wonderful Pacific Ocean at this Long Beach aquarium, filled with exhibits and over 11,000 ocean animals!

  • Micke Grove Zoo

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    Lodi

    Micke Grove Zoo is home to native animals and exotic species from all over the world, including several endangered species, such as the Chinese Alligator, the Snow Leopard and the Cotton Top ...

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium

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    Monterey

    A fascinating and wonderfully designed aquarium that really lets families enjoy our wonderful ocean creatures.

  • Orange County Zoo

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    Orange

    The Orange County Zoo is nestled within beautiful Irvine Regional Park. Tucked among coastal live oak and sycamore groves, this eight acre zoo displays flora and fauna native to the southwestern ...

  • California Academy Of Sciences

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    San Francisco

    Whatever your interests, the new Academy is designed to engage and inspire like no other museum on the planet. Not only is the building, itself, a stunning architectural achievement but the new ...

  • Santa Barbara Zoo

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    Santa Barbara

    With 30 acres and over 400 animals plus play areas, animal feeding, zoo train, carousel and more.

  • Charles Paddock Zoo

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    Atascadero

    The mission of the Charles Paddock Zoo is to provide an educational resource for wildlife awareness and conservation, and an enriched recreational experience for the residents and visitors of the ...

  • Ocean World

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    Crescent City

    Home to an amazing variety of sea life, Ocean World is a unique aquarium offering professionally guided tours, hands-on tide pools, a shark-petting tank and a live seal and sea lion shows!

  • Safari West

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    Santa Rosa

    The natural world awaits you... Faster is not always better. In a world increasingly dominated by technology, instant communication and instant gratification, Safari West stands as a tangible ...

  • Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary

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    Folsom

    Since 1963, this small unique California zoo has been providing sanctuary to some very special animals. All are non-releasable. Many were raised, and rejected, as wild pets. Others were injured or ...

  • Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

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    Los Angeles

    Animal fun in Los Angeles with more than 1,100 animals representing more than 250 different species!

  • Eco Station

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    Culver City

    Features incredible hands-on lessons of ecology and environmentalism whilst encountering tropical birds, exotic reptiles, wildcats and ocean life in a tropical jungle setting. Guided tour only.

  • Wildlife Waystation

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    Angeles National Forest

    The Wildlife Waystation, situated on 160 acres in California's Angeles National Forest, is internationally recognized for its ongoing, charitable efforts to rescue and rehabilitate wild and exotic ...

  • The Serpentarium

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    Lodi

    A privately owned 3,000 square foot, 2 story Museum and Reptile Store you are welcome to bring the kids and browse in. It's like a zoo you can buy!

  • Centennial Farm

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    Costa Mesa

    Children and their families can view pigs, chickens, cattle, goats and more while strolling though gardens of lush vegetation. Also offers private tours.

  • CuriOdyssey

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    San Mateo

    A science and wildlife center where kids can explore both animal and science exhibits! Create a vortex, make objects fly, and meet furry, scaled and finned animals.

  • Sacramento Zoo

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    Sacramento

    More than 500 native, rare and endangered animals await you at this fascinating zoo in Sacramento!

  • Montebello Barnyard Zoo

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    Montebello

    Barnyard fun with pony rides, train rides, petting zoo, picnic area, playground and kids' birthday parties all in Montebello, California!

  • Wildlife Learning Center

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    Sylmar

    The Wildlife Learning Center exhibits more than 70 rescued species from six continents in a family friendly park-style setting, where kids can learn all about the animals from their specialist staff.

  • The Gentle Barn

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    Santa Clarita

    A beautiful place where kids with special needs or come from troubled backgrounds, interact with animals who have been severely abused, rescued, rehabilitated and given sanctuary.

  • California Living Museum

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    Bakersfield

    A great day out for the whole family, California’s premier native zoo and garden showcases native California animals and plants to teach kids respect for all living things through education ...

  • Zoomars Petting Zoo

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    San Juan Capistrano

    Plenty of cuddly critters to get up close to, plus pony and miniature train rides, treasure panning at Miner's Gulch and adventure playground.