The San Antonio Zoo Helps Children Learn About Wildlife and Animal Conservation

San Antonio Zoo entrance

The San Antonio Zoo is a place where children can learn to appreciate animals and understand the importance of conserving wildlife and native habitats. Through a variety of educational programs, the San Antonio Zoo helps children can learn about how to care for animals and start a lifelong commitment to securing a future for wildlife. We have put together a guide to help you and your family enjoy the San Antonio Zoo, whether you are new to the zoo, or if there are programs, camps, and classes that you haven’t experienced yet.

What makes the San Antonio Zoo special is that it’s not just a beautiful, fun, exciting, and historic (open since 1914) place to make memories as a family, but it’s also a gigantic interactive classroom to inspire children to learn about animals, plants, their habitats, and the life sciences. More than just a place to visit for a day, the zoo offers a wide range of programs for parents, caregivers, and educators to inspire deeper learning about wildlife and conservation.

Plan Your Visit

Here are some tips to plan your visit to the San Antonio Zoo. These tips are accurate as of the publication of this blog post, but we encourage you to check these details before you go at and on social media on Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, and YouTube. The FAQs are also helpful. The main phone number is 210-734-7184.

The main reason to visit the San Antonio Zoo is to experience animal collection. The zoo map shows the diversity of animals at the zoo, from regions such as Neotropica, the African Savannah, and Wild Australian, to specialized enclosures like the Hixon Bird House, the Friedrich Aquarium, and the Reptile House. Check each day to find out when special animal interactions will be taking place.

San Antonio Zoo map

Standard tickets for adults (12+) are $31.99 each, while tickets for children (3–11) are $27.99 each; children under three years old are free. The zoo offers a $5 for military and seniors (65+). Scroll down for more tips about saving on admission.

The San Antonio Zoo is open year round—the animals need care every day, so the zoo kindly opens its doors for visitors every day, too. Typical zoo hours are 9 AM to 5 PM, but those hours might change due to special events.

The San Antonio Zoo is located north of downtown San Antonio, inside historic Brackenridge Park. The address is 3903 N. St. Mary’s St., San Antonio, TX 78212 (map). Free covered parking is available during the zoo’s operating hours at the Zoo Parking Garage, 151 Tuleta Dr., San Antonio, TX 78212 (map). There are also surface parking lots in Brackenridge Park. Several VIA bus routes, as well as the miniature Zoo Train, stop near the zoo.

It’s okay to bring bottled water, baby food, and formula into the zoo. Don’t bring outside food or drink; ice chests and coolers are not allowed. The zoo has several restaurants and places to buy snacks and drinks.

San Antonio Zoo hippopotamus Timothy Uma hippos

Bringing Young Children to the San Antonio Zoo

The San Antonio Zoo is an outstanding place to visit with young children. At Konkosky’s Tiny Tot Nature Spot, an area of the zoo dedicated to children under five years old, tiny explorers can play with butterflies, splash in the Riverbank, and make pies in the mud kitchen. The restrooms are roomy and family-friendly, and there is a nursing room.

Young children love visiting the zoo during seasonal events such as Zoo Boo (leading up to Halloween) and Zoo Lights (during the winter holidays).

San Antonio Zoo Lights

Kiddie Park is a historic amusement park that has been operating in Brackenridge Park since 1925 and is now located next to the zoo entrance. The rides at Kiddie Park are optimal for children ages 1–12 years old. Visit for more information about tickets, wristbands, party packages, and more.

The Will Smith Zoo School is a high-quality early childhood education program for children ages 3–5 years old. The program is designed to help students begin a lifelong journey of exploration, learning and wonder. Students will spend at least 70 percent of each day outdoors, while also developing math, pre-literacy, art, social, practical, gross and fine motor skills. Families can register online and learn more about this nature-based preschool.

Opportunities for Teens

Teens can develop independence and leadership skills by volunteering at the San Antonio Zoo. The youth volunteer program at the zoo provides opportunities for teens ages 13–17 years old who are interested in conservation, animal care, science, and education to serve as leaders, educators, and stewards. They learn valuable skills such as public speaking and nature interpretation while inspiring young visitors to develop a passion for protecting wildlife.

Summer Break and Vacations

The San Antonio Zoo offers fun, education camps for children in grades K–5 during the summer and school breaks. Each week has a different theme, and campers get to spend lots of time outside doing activities and visiting animals.

The zoo presents special seasonal exhibits to make each visit unique. From May 25 to September 2, 2024, visitors can experience Dino Adventure Park and encounter 18 larger-than-life dinosaurs, including T-Rex, triceratops, and velociraptors.

San Antonio Zoo mascot Cowboy rhino

Saving Money at the San Antonio Zoo

The San Antonio Zoo offers numerous ways to save on admission. One of the simplest is Locals Days, when residents of Bexar County can enter the zoo for $8 per person.

Members get free admission to the zoo and a variety of perks, such as members-only events and discounts on food, beverage, camps, private parties, and guest passes, depending on the membership level. As an added perk when traveling, zoo members get reciprocal admission benefits at institutions outside of San Antonio that are also members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Likewise, visitors from outside San Antonio who have AZA membership benefits get reciprocal admission benefits at the San Antonio Zoo.

With a San Antonio CityPASS, visitors can enjoy discounted admission to the San Antonio Zoo and several other local attractions (including The DoSeum) within a nine-day period. Similarly, with a GoCity Pass, visitors have 60 days to use discounted admission at multiple attractions.

San Antonio Zoo jaguar

Opportunities for Educators

In addition to the Will Smith Zoo School, the San Antonio Zoo offers a wide range of education programs for parents, caregivers, and educators.

School field trips are available year round. Field trip programs such as Zoo Connection Class and Wild Walks offer TEKS supported lessons and activities, as well as animals encounters and presentations from zoo experts. The zoo is able to offer a limited number of grants to schools that qualify for Title I funding.

Groups can book overnight programs to observe animal behavior at times outside the zoo’s normal hours.

The zoo offers the Home School Family Safari program for homeschoolers.

At scout workshops, scout groups can learn skills to help earn badges.

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Inga Cotton

Parent activist and founder of San Antonio Charter Moms. Raising two children to be independent adults who do good in the world.